Generosity in a digital world

December is the time for holidays. What comes foremost to my mind is that this is a time of gatherings, sharing meals with family and friends and renewing our shared connections. We both give and receive the nourishments that our innermost circles provide each other. We eat the food on the table and bask in the food of conversations, shared interests and curiosities about our lives, our opinions, our cares and concerns. We update each other on our successes and our challenges. We share our hopes and fears, both personally and socially. In our attempts to help, we may offer fix it advice that may not fit nor be welcomed. In our attempts to offer the warmth of the kindling fire, it may burn the fragile bridges of our separate lives. We may not agree on everything, yet we fall back on the net that we gather together because of a shared love for each other. Let us not forget this net in the blinding waves of expectations and differing tolerances in values and goals.

In our increasing digital world, we need to drink from the sources of our visceral communities that we may be seen, heard and acknowledged with our total beings. There is so much that is communicated beyond the words. The way we glance at the other or energetically receive them counts so much. We also stand witness to others that our spring may feed them as well. Such is the nature of connection. Generosity is not just about giving material things. In essence, generosity is the willingness to give to another. We can share our willingness to listen. We can offer our appreciation for someone’s good fortune. We can listen with empathy to someone’s struggle in the midst of their finding words to communicate where they are at the moment. When we share care, there is more room for us to place ourselves in the other’s shoes. This is how compassion arises. This is how we know we matter. This is how we get it that we belong.

Communing with others is an act of service. I have been touched in the last months as I commune with different people in my life. Food is one way to do it. We touch each other through our senses. We partake together of the aroma of freshly baked sweet potatoes to bitter arugula playing with the homemade balsamic vinaigrette. We include the other’s food sensitivities and choices as a way to remember their differences are welcome here too. We share in the warm water splashing over our hands washing the dishes afterwards. After all, preparations include cleanups. When we pay attention to beginnings and endings, the middle takes care of itself. Sharing music is another way we commune. We bathe in the healing power of sound and music and allow that which we love to hold us. We find in the notes voices we do not know yet how to utter. We allow the strings of our hearts to be seduced into becoming. We linger in the spaces where expectations are left at the door and allow music to cradle us into invitations of laughter and poignant memories while feet do their tapping. I had the opportunity to paint an art piece with another person this week. Between the brush strokes, we shared stories of our grandmothers. My grandmother was one of the gentlest people I have ever met. She taught me how to cook as well as exemplified what pure love looks like in action. She offered me a role model on how to grow old gracefully as a woman.

In gatherings, we allow the unexpected. I was deeply moved when a friend I had not seen in a couple of years saw me in a party. She embraced me tightly and couldn’t stop kissing my cheeks. More than words, I felt her love for me and her appreciation for my being. It became more beautiful when I was able to allow her longing to meet those places in myself. Such moments speak louder than sentences and what was awkward to have an opportunity to recede in the background. How many times do we express ourselves without the bounded containment? Can we bask at the adoration in someone’s eyes as they look upon us? It takes courage and fortitude to let it all in. And more importantly, it summons our willingness to melt and be adoration itself.

As the veils of the season thin and longer dark days make way for the light to be born anew again, may we all see the love in front of us, behind us, to the side of us, above and below us. May the love in you shine ever brighter.

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