Give: A Mindful Discussion of Generosity

Last night, while it thundered and rained in the dimming sunshine, I sat. And cuddled with my dog Chloe.  And pinned.  Pinterest, now that school has ended for the semester, has piqued my interest again.  Though I don't have hours to devote to pinning like I did made while wedding planning, I am always shocked at how quickly the evening escapes me when I stumble upon various websites and posts others have tagged.

Even though this is an excellent "Mindful Monday" candidate, I thought that today I should share a quote I saw on Pinterest last night.  It is by Anne Frank, author and victim of the Holocaust.  Anne, as she is called exclusively on, is an inspiration and her wisdom can help us to develop generosity, gratitude, and grace in our daily lives.

The pinned quote is really beautiful:

"No one has ever become poor by giving."

Just think about how profound that is.  Seriously.  She is absolutely right.  Not only is it unlikely that you would actually become financially poor, but it can also be interpreted as how much richer as a person you grow by giving.  And she was this wise as a teenager.  I wish more of us lived displaying this belief in our daily lives. 

World War II Memorial in Washington, DC

That got me thinking, self: Are you mindful of all you buy and have?  Do you know everything that you own?  Everything below your roof?  Is there anything you could give to someone less fortunate?  We've danced around this topic already; several Making Mindfulness posts have been surrounding the idea of generosity:

- Simplify: Less is More--this post demonstrates that simplifying your home is a great way to begin to simplify your life by giving away your items


- Mindfulness & Christianity--articulating the intersecting aspects of mindful practice and Christian beliefs, including verses regarding denunciation of worldly possessions

Another aspect of this, however, beyond simply giving stuff you don't want to charity, is giving of yourself.  Giving your time, your energy, your love, your attention to others. 

- Everyday Gestures--discussing ideas for making people feel special on "normal" days


- There's More Than One Way to Skin a Cat--discussing the folk wisdom that "it is better to give than to receive" and using your time to volunteer and improve your life as well

Though mindfulness is, at its base, being present in the present moment, it goes beyond this to be present in your mind, your home, your relationships, your life, and your world.  It means being aware of how you affect others and how you interact with others, which includes what we give.

Another quote, one that corresponds nicely with the one above and helped reassure me that teaching was truly a calling for me was the following by Maya Angelou:

"If you get, give.  If you learn, teach."

I think this quote is just beautiful!  And so simple.  It helped me through some of my toughest days teaching.  If we all looked at each other for what we could give or teach to others, rather than what we can get or learn from others, how much better would our world be?  Just because we can't change the behavior of those around us doesn't mean we shouldn't try to live this way ourselves.  So many people dedicate their lives to helping others and bettering the lives of everyone.  What can we give today to contribute?  We are all interconnected and we need to remember that if we help others to thrive, we will all be happier, more successful, and more at peace.

This is also from the same memorial
it is our nation's Latin motto
it reads, "out of many, one"
as we are all interconnected worldwide, 
this stands as an appropriate motto for the whole world population as well

Just some beautiful and inspiringly mindful stuff to contemplate on another amazing Friday.

In what ways can you give to others today?  In what ways will you?

Labels: , , ,