Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Focus on Giving Rather than Receiving

Helpful Hints from Harmony

“Life is Good When You Live in Harmony”

(A word of explanation: I live in a little place called Harmony, Florida, where life is a bit slower and nature is right outside our door. I’m also familiar with another Harmony, which isn’t a place at all but a way of being. This year I’d like to share 12 simple lessons I’ve learned from my time in Harmony.)

Helpful Hint #3: Focus on Giving Rather than Receiving

Deep and lasting joy comes from giving and sharing. The sweet and ironic arithmetic of mindful giving is that both the giver and the receiver are added to and edified by the process.

Thus the happiest people I know consistently give of themselves to address the needs of others. As they do, they discover that their own needs are abundantly met.

If we give from the heart — regardless of what we give — the very act of giving blesses us in wonderful ways. The generative, life-enhancing power of giving renews us and invigorates us whether we share our time, talents, compassion, or money.

The words of the poet Helen Steiner Rice remind us that we all have great wealth from which to draw, no matter the size of our bank account. She calls these non-financial endowments “heart gifts,” and she urges us to freely share them.

It's not the things that can be bought
That are life's richest treasure,
It's just the little "heart gifts" That money cannot measure…
A cheerful smile, a friendly word,
A sympathetic nod
Are priceless little treasures
From the storehouse of our God…
They are the things that can't be bought
With silver or with gold,
For thoughtfulness and kindness
And love are never sold…
They are the priceless things in life
For which no one can pay,
And the giver finds rich recompense
In giving them away.

Winston Churchill was right when he said, “We make a living by what we get; but we make a life by what we give.” Thoughtful giving makes a person come alive and develops more substance in the giver. Thus those who give are more likely to “find themselves” because there is more to be found.

One of the reasons life is good when you live in Harmony is that being there affords the time and environment to recognize the needs of those around you and the opportunity to reach out and address those needs. There is, indeed, rich recompense in giving away life’s greatest treasures

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