Giving was not on my radar for the initial decades of my life. I was too busy dealing with my drama, trying to eke out a living, competing with others in a country of 1 billion, a city of more than 20 million.
For the last few years, mostly through good fortune, I’ve had a roof over my head, and food on my table.
Like everyone else on the planet, I’ve suffered my share of losses: friends and family, been bedridden for months, and mourned pets. It has taught me to see myself as I am, a traveler passing through. None of what I ‘own’ is mine. I can’t take any of it with me when I leave this world: be it the home I live in, my writing over the years, and (most painfully) the huge shelves tottering under the weight of books.
So I’ve slowly begun giving things away, be it possessions and whatever little money I have–I don’t know if it qualifies as giving, really, or just passing things on. (When I say giving, I mean handing things over without any tangible or intangible agenda.) I’m still not giving the way I’d want to, because giving makes me feel lighter, and in the flow (so maybe it isn’t as free of benefits?).
Giving two things has proved difficult: time, and attention.
There’s just too much I want to do (Reading books! Writing books! Blogging! Saying hello to friends! Gardening! Baking!), and others I don’t (doctor visits, chores, laundry, you get the picture). All of this takes time, and swallows up my attention.
I’ve cut down on social media and blogging, but donating time, and giving attention to those who need it still seems like a juggling act.
(Feedback has been surprisingly good—over a 100 subscriptions in the last two weeks alone—not based on sops, but simply on usefulness. It gives me satisfaction to see subscribers love it, share it on their social media—so I don’t know if this is agenda-free giving either.)
Another piece is volunteering: friends and family have come together to support Project WHY, but again, it is not totally selfless. Watching the women and kids smile and trying to make sure their futures are brighter brings a lot of joy, a sort of serotonin hit.
I’m a work in progress, and hopefully, given time and enough wisdom from everyone I know, I would understand and practice true giving.
What does giving mean to you? What are you giving away, and why? Has giving changed your life? How should I practice giving my time and attention? What words of advice do you have for a novice? What stories of giving would you like to share with us?
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