Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Generosity of Being Yourself

We have this flower on the porch. It’s impossibly resilient to the cold, and totally mesmerizing. Vibrant sacral chakra orange leaves curl slightly and she looks at me, urging me to just look back, making me wonder about the wonders of life. Especially about generosity, and what generosity really is.



Nature is generous, constantly giving, if we keep our hands off destroying her flow. This particular flower got a little help on the way though, one of hundreds and hundreds of multicolored miracles that has lit up the garden all summer and fall. Not planted by me, mind you, but by a real gardener, my landlady Sandi LeGoullon. “Pick how many you want. Pick more!” says Sandi. “The more you pick, the more will grow.” So, I have. And she is right. I showered the porch, the whole cabin, sometimes even the stairs with this richness, all through summer and autumn. Now they’re all gone, except for this orange ball of resistance. As if her mission is to make me think.
That this is true generosity. When you give of something you love, it creates ripples. It creates abundance. It creates more. Sandi loves planting. I love picking flowers. Works out fine, for me. I think for Sandi. This is not the only way she is generous, though. Sandi and her husband Roger are the most generous landlords you can imagine. You would have to be, to have Michael and me renting the house just beside you.




Now, “our” part of the garden is … let’s say, more shamanic. With this I mean - often a mess. Things grow. But, hardly in rows. We’re also chanting by the creek, have fires late into the night, have a peculiar taste, are always up to something and have magazine boxes come and go from the front of the house as if they’re going out of style. Occasionally we invite all of Virginia for parties, and shaman classes. Sandi and Roger just smile. And join the party.

There are many ways to be generous. Jeffrey Norford – aka Santa on Mountainview Street in Charlottesville, Virginia, spends most of his “free” time creating an all-inclusive Christmas event at his totally outrageous Christmas house. I have no idea how much Jeffrey works with this over the year, or how much effort he puts in, but there are more Christmas lights, blow-up Rudolfs, and jingle bells than I ever knew could exist in this one place. There are also lots and lots of gifts for children, wherever they come from. And people literally come from all over the world, to enjoy this one spectacular spectacle. Funny thing is: When you talk with Jeffrey about what he does, his eyes glitter brighter than any Christmas lights. He loves what he does. Therefore, he can give, feeling, it seems, that he gets the most out of it. It’s like growing and picking flowers. If you do it for the right reasons - everybody wins.



There are many ways to be generous. I have noticed, over the years, that when I go into unstructured places, and give myself the luxury to create for the sake of creating, and give these creations away - that’s when they seem to mean something. People have thanked me for stories, spells and whip-off-in-the-moment collages years after I did them, long after I forgot I made them. But, they seem to have made a difference. I do, however, have a hard time recalling anyone thanking me from the bottom of their hearts because I did “the right thing,” or “what was expected.”

Be generous. Your own way. Only do what you love, and the rest will follow. That’s how you will survive the holidays. And if you do what you love, people will probably thank you for it. The impossibly resilient orange flower nods her head and agrees. Kid you not. Happy holidays.


From December editorial of December issue of The Echo World

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