“Until we can receive with an open heart, we’re never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.”
Brene’ Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are.
“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.”
– Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart –
There is a story told and retold in the Middle East about Giving. It goes something like this:
. . . a man had fallen into a river. He was not much of a swimmer and was in real danger of drowning. A crowd of concerned people wanted to rescue him. They were standing at the edge of the water, each of them urgently shouting out to him, “Give me your hand, give me your hand!”
The man was battling the waves and ignored their urgent plea. He kept going under and was clearly struggling to take another breath. A saintly man walked up to the scene. He too cared about the drowning man. But his approach was different. Calmly he walked up to the water, waded in up to his knees, glanced lovingly at the drowning man, and said, “Take my hand.”
Much to everyone’s surprise, the drowning man reached out and grabbed the saint’s hand. The two came out of the dangerous water. The drowning man sat up at the edge of the water, breathing heavily, looking relieved, exhausted, and grateful. The crowd turned towards the saint and asked in complete puzzlement, “How were you able to reach him when he didn’t heed our plea?” The saint calmly said, “You all asked him for something, his hand. I offered him something, my hand. A drowning man is in no position to give you anything.”
Let us remember not to ask anything of someone who is drowning.
In the upcoming month of November, a traditional month of Giving Thanks, let’s remember not just gratitude for all that we have, but let’s remember to extend our hands and hearts out to others in compassion and generosity, in love and in understanding. It’s easy to sit back, to criticize and complain. Let’s exercise the muscle of non-judgment before we speak. Let’s try to include this in our daily living and quiet time. In stillness.
Let’s remember to celebrate always the joy that we experience daily, and let’s share that joy and compassion and non-judgment with everyone that we encounter, not just our closest friends and family. This is my personal challenge to myself, will you join me?