The art of giving: simple techniques to help us become a joyful giver.
“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” ~ Maya Angelou
I have to admit that I have always been a hoarder.
I have never really struggled with spending money or shopping—mostly for things I don’t really need. However, I have noticed that I lacked the true sense of giving.
Like most people, I felt happy when I bought gifts for my loved ones, but I had not yet felt the pure joy that comes with giving to a complete stranger.
Just like everything in life, it takes one incident to change our perspective.
When we feel something that we have never experienced before, we get hooked. During the darkest times in modern history, it is vital to remind each other that giving is needed today more than ever. This is not only about charity and giving out food and clothes, but it is also about time, kind words, positive vibes, attention, love, and care.
Since it is easier said than done, here are a few things to ponder upon in order to make giving an enjoyable practice.
Understanding the concept of impermanence:
When I was a child, my mother told me a popular story about Alexander the Great and the wish he made on his death bed to have both of his hands dangling out of his coffin.
When he was asked about the reason for this strange wish, he simply replied that he would like everyone to see that the man who conquered the world is leaving it empty-handed. Thus, the saying “empty-handed I came into this world, empty-handed I go out of this world.”
The moment we realize our own impermanence, it becomes easier for us to share or even let go of material belongings.
Understanding the concept of abundance:
One of my all-time favorite Eckhart Tolle quotes is the following one:
How many times have we read or heard the expression “in a world of abundance” without realizing how real this world is? We think we do not have enough and that is why we cannot give. However, when we start giving joyfully from the little that we do have, we will start receiving from the plenty that the universe has.
I have personally experienced this so many times, and as I said earlier, it doesn’t have to be about money—a gentle word, for instance, goes a long way and comes back in waves of kindness.
The benefits of sharing are real:
During the COVID-19 lockdown, I noticed that many people were worried about gaining weight. I have always struggled with my weight, and the only time that I didn’t was when I was sharing my food with a friend of mine because I was simply eating half of what I usually do.
It reminds me of what the legend Audrey Hepburn used to say when asked about her beauty secrets: “…for a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.”
Even after a year, people still need help. Now is the perfect time to buy groceries, for instance, and leave them at the door of a neighbor in need. Do not forget to follow all safety precautions while doing that.
Decluttering is freeing:
It is so hard for a hoarder like myself to understand that decluttering is for the soul what detox is for the body. The less we have, the lighter we feel.
I had all kinds of gadgets on my desk at work (what can I say? I love my toys) until I tried what a productive colleague of mine had suggested. I removed all the unnecessary stuff and vowed ever since to keep my space, whether at home or at work, clutter-free as much as possible. When we declutter, we find a ton of stuff to give away. It is also nice to add accessories, perfume, beauty products, and cute stuff to a box of clothes that we are donating. Some of us even have things that are brand-new, yet long-forgotten, in our closets that can make someone’s day and ours when given away.
In conclusion, our value as human beings will increase by the number of good deeds and the positive attitude we kept during this time. The joy that comes from sharing is tremendous, and let us remember that something as simple as a smiling to another is also an act of giving.