By Giving I Earn The Greatest Gift
Who can I serve today?
That is the question on my lips every morning as I sit down to journal my thoughts and actions from the day before.
I ask myself this question to remind myself that I am not on this planet alone and I need to serve not just myself. I demand an answer every day, sometimes the answers are grand and sometimes they are meek but the answer comes. By serving others I am helping to reduce my fear of scarcity and loss. allow me to illustrate.
Recently my wife and I held a party at our home, something we tend to do a lot. I could write a book on how enjoyable it is to host parties and all of the excuses to have them but suffice it to say we enjoy making people happy. When the serving time had arrived I invited people to go through the buffet line and encouraged them to take some of everything. I was asked what seemed to be a curious question by a guest, “why was I waiting to serve myself.” I responded to my guest that I was waiting to make sure all of my guests had taken what they wanted. He asked me “why not serve yourself first?” I told him that would defeat the reason why my wife and I were having guests over in the first place that being to serve them. He could not understand why it is that I would serve the best cuts of meat and fish to my guests and not reserve some for my wife and myself, what if nothing was left?
As I knew from past experiences that was not going to be the case, my wife makes sure if 10 people are coming we have food for 20. She never wants people to go hungry, for her it would be a fate worse than death.
So how is it that you can develop this mindset and why would you want to in the first place?
For myself I look at the world through the lens of there is more than enough, enough for me, enough for you, enough for all of us. Starting from this position I can get rid of the feeling of scarcity and all of the fear that is associated with it. That fear perhaps you feel when someone asks you to borrow something you own.
Take for example toilet paper, follow me on this I promise I am going somewhere. Most recently this seldom thought of common day item very quickly became hard to come by.
As my wife makes it a point to buy in bulk thus saving us from having to make frequent trips to the store we always have plenty. While having lunch with a friend he had mentioned to me that he could not find toilet paper anywhere and was running out. I told my friend that I had plenty and he was more than welcome to some of mine.
I had plenty so why not share, I trust he would do the same for me, and even if he would not it should not stop me.
The reason is I choose to serve when I have the means. Now I certainly am not proposing that you give until there is nothing left unless that is something you choose to do, but I am of the mindset there will always be enough. Now certainly sometimes things are not always evenly distributed like in my case of buying in bulk and my friend's case of buying just enough, but that doesn’t stop me from putting my finger on the scales so to speak to even the distribution a bit.
There will be lots of inequities visible and a lot of that may be due to people acting on the notion of preserved scarcity. The key is to understand when you see it in yourself, to witness your fears of loss, lack of control, and deal with them as they come up. Interdiction is a good tool to do this, recognizing the fear and replacing it with courage. Sometimes these fears are deep-seated and require more work to uncover them, and free you of their control.
I will give you a wonderful example from my friend Seneca. Seneca made it a habit to wander the city dressed as a homeless man, in his time that would have meant something similar to the poor wretched souls that you see at traffic lights in most major cities begging for change. Now most of us would think this as some kind of stunt to attract attention but from his letters he expresses why he made this a habit. He made the point that all things are fleeting and can be taken from you at any moment, one moment a man of privilege the next you’re in prison or broke. In his need to come to terms with it, in essence to understand what it felt like to be invisible or worse to be a token of contempt enduring the insults of fearful people. He choose to inhabit what he feared most thus taking away it's power over his mind.
Fear is a very powerfull emotion it can trigger people to ignore or worse to hurl insults at a beggar, fear of loss fear of not having enough and fear of fates sometimes seemingly cruel hand. So on a small level learning to deal with these feelings and leaning into them to some degree allows you to free yourself from them. As always if you need help with this or anything else feel free to contact us for a free consultation.