Recently I read and re-read a sentence in an article, “Yes, wealth is a tool that gives you choices – but it can’t compensate for a life not fully lived, and it certainly can’t create a sense of peace within you.” It was a most inspiring sentence, because I have, as many others at this time of year, been pondering GIVING.
There are many ways to give. As I look back, I clearly see the changes in my perception of giving from youth, to teen, to adult, and to parent. What was once done for many reasons, including a sense of obligation, has now become a much more thoughtful and intuitive process.
Wealth gives us the opportunity to give presents, but to live a life fully lived is more than presents! There is the yearning to give the gift of time, instead of or as well as well-chosen gifts. It might mean spending time with someone, showing love through a wink, a gesture, a few hours talking. These are my thoughts:
Arrange a walk, a café, or simply time to relax separately with each person on my list, so that the true gift is my love and the presents are secondary.
Do something for that person that they need help with, something that no one likes to do, but everyone likes to have done! For example, clear out a storage space, clear out the garden, shampoo the carpets, move furniture, or clean the refrigerator.
And, finally, to serve the innermost spirit of each person. For my friends who strive to make the planet a better place, a donation to the cause of their choice; for a family member a savings bond;
And, when I do spend money for gifts, this year I choose gifts that will inspire each person on my list to engage in the activities that give them the feeling of fully living life. I find myself often motivated by “needs”, (and who doesn’t need socks?), but serving the real needs of the people I love is foremost on my list this year. Maybe that’s a savings account for my son, or a donation to a non-profit for a friend. Maybe it’s a book of inspirational quotes or a yoga manual for my family.