Spring is such a generous time of year.
Although spring is arriving at Blanco State Park, where I live in the winter, I do realize it’s not quite spring where many of you are. But maybe a great outpouring of generosity will attract spring to you.
Now is an excellent time to cultivate generosity.
First, notice how are you not generous in your life. Are you stingy with money, do you hold it close, do you spend it mainly on your own behalf? Then use money as a way to practice generosity. Give! And love the giving.
Are you stingy with your acceptance of others? Are you stingy with your curiosity about others? Are you stingy with your time?
Ponder this — the ways you are stingy are road signs directing you to the Way of Generosity.
Try it — between now and the fullness of summer, make generosity your spiritual practice.
Stay open, stay vulnerable, stay free. Cultivate generosity. And let me know how it goes.
A valentine exercise.
Pay attention to the expectations you have of the valentine/s in your life, especially any expectations you have of how your valentines should express their love for you. Rather than expecting them to show their love for you in the way that you would, be open to their way of showing their love.
Let me know.
Stay open, stay vulnerable, stay free. Eschew expectations. Cultivate acceptance.
Here’s one thing about having expectations — when you have expectations of another, you’re likely to end up relating to your expectations and not to the person.
When my friend says she’ll be here at 6:00, I expect her to be on time. When she doesn’t arrive until 6:20, my anger and other emotions are all swirling around my expectations. I may think my feelings are caused by my friend, but in truth they are a reaction to my expectations. Without my expectations, there’d be nothing to swirl around.
When I expect that someone will be happy to see me and they’re not, all of my resulting emotions — confusion, anxiety, irritation, shame, blame, fear, etc — have only to do with my expectations. I may feel like I’m relating to the other person, but in reality I’m relating to my expectations.
I place my expectations between me and the other. You place your expectations between you and the other. You’ve seen it — in some relationships the expectations eventually pile up into a wall that cannot be breached by either party.
My expectations prevent me from focusing on the person or on the situation at hand. My expectations keep me focused only on my expectations.
Stay open, stay vulnerable, stay free. Eschew expectations!
I got my hair cut yesterday, and by the time it was done, the stylist and I had concluded that there are only two things any follower of any religion needs to know:
1. God is love.
2. Kindness is the highest calling of a religious person — unconditional kindness to Earth and to all Earth’s creatures, including all humans and including oneself.
Do you consider yourself a religious person? Would you agree?
It was Martin Luther King, Jr. who first got me to seriously consider the idea of love. Not when he was alive. No. I was too committed to self-righteous anger to understand that there might be power in love. Then, about 25 years ago I suppose, I started listening more closely to Dr. King and Bayard Rustin and their comrades.
“Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”
“We are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us. [This new way is] an all-embracing and unconditional love for all mankind. This oft-misunderstood, this oft-misinterpreted concept, so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man.”
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.”
“When I speak of love, I’m not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I’m not speaking of a force which is just emotional bosh. I’m speaking of that force which all the great religions of the world have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life.”
“Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day.”
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
Happy New Year!
Sometimes, even oftentimes, interacting with other humans fills me with joy. But here’s the thing — that joy can show up even when the human I am interacting with is one I know to be racist, sexist, homophobic, and Republican.
So where does this joy originate? Surely not from the other. It must be from within.
I’m about to turn 67, and this is the first time I’ve really understood that love can inform even a situation that is otherwise distasteful.
In the moment, I love being with this racist, sexist, homophobic person. In the moment, interacting with this person is joyful.
How can that be?
A friend gave me a new way to describe/experience radiating love: walk through my day in an aura of love.
I like it! I like it a lot. It’s a joyful thing to do. It’s a simplifying thing to do. It’s a happy thing to do. It tickles my fancy. I laugh.
I’ve had to tie a string around my finger to remind myself to stay aware of my aura, but the more I practice, the better I get. Practice, practice, practice until I become the practice. Yes, I like it.
Try it. Let me know.