On Gifts and Giving (wk 46)

The Spirit of Giving

Because I started this project mid year, instead of a the beginning of January, the chapters are sometimes off kilter, geared for seasonal timing and not where I am currently. So this week, the author is approaching the Christmas season as I am approaching summer.

The author’s current chapter is making suggestions for alternatives for gift giving during the holidays…while I just finished with Mother’s Day. And while I liked her suggestions, I will use this week to give my take on gifts and gift giving instead.

I’m not the type of person that gets overly excited about things or events. While I enjoy both, my excitement factor is kept drastically in check. That is my natural default factor. On a scale of
Will Farrell from Elf, down to the level of Grumpy Cat, I register just above that adorable ball of sarcastic fluff.

That being said, what I like best about gifts is giving them. I enjoy making things or buying things for others that I think they will like.

Lately, I have started a new phase in my life that is pushing me towards a minimalistic lifestyle. I am culling out the ‘things’ in my life that I have so carefully hoarded for decades, realizing that as much as I like my own stuff, keeping it locked away in a dark recess, away from the light of day, does no one any good. And I have nice stuff, too.

I am learning that if we cannot utilize our stuff the way it is meant to be used, there is really no use in keeping it. That goes against conventional wisdom that says it’s better to have it and not need it then to need it and not have it.

I believe there is an ebb and flow to life. Like tides rushing in and out with a gentle rhythm, always in conjunction, the same goes for our possessions. We should use what we have or send it on its way to perform better somewhere else. But somehow, we get caught up in the belief that if we can’t use it now, we should hold onto it in case a need arises in the future.

I find it very easy to see how the mentality of hoarders comes about. Maybe it is written in our DNA, passed down from previous generations that never had enough and wanted something better for their offspring. But instead of a helpful advice, what was created was a minefield of people hoarding their belongings, wanting only the best and the most for themselves, not thinking about benefiting others along the way.

What was started with the best of intentions became a society of people off balance and out of step with nature. Americans spend a small fortune on storage spaces to hold their stuff that they do not wish to share because one day they may have a need for it. It is a sickness that we are not even aware of until we are drowning in clutter.

What I have come to learn is that there is always a need to be filled somewhere, and the simple act of passing along your belongings to someone in need, that are merely collecting dust, can be more beneficial than anything purchased in a store.

By giving away something you hold dear to you, shows not only a level of maturity, but benefits you as well. Shopping for gifts is nice. It’s fun. It means something. But giving something so deeply personal to you, holds more meaning than anything you can find in a store.

These were the author’s ideas:
Write a love letter or poem to your partner
Write a book for someone you love (fill a blank journal with personal notations and stories for that other person)
Plan a surprise event for someone else
Give a gift of your time and energy
Lift a burden

I actually love all these ideas and have done them all at some point in my life.

My ideas:
Choose something you have that you adore, and gift it to someone who may love it just as much.
Share your deepest dreams with someone close to you, showing your trust in that other person.
Help a friend achieve a goal they have been having trouble achieving on their own.
Make something for someone else. It is the action behind the gift that is the gift in itself.

St Francis of Assisi stated it best when he said:
For it is in giving that we receive

Give with a kind heart and a gentle spirit, because that is what we are here for. May you be blessed in your endeavors.