A little more than a month ago, I decided to give a gift every day for a month. Not only because I enjoy gift giving, also as a way to shift focus from problems (inside of me) towards compassion (for people around me). Yet another reason to try this out, was simple curiousity and a search for relief: other people who were devoted to this practice have been reporting transformation, from aches and pains to lessened symptoms, from depression to optimism.
I might have had too many other things going on (although not by choice), to really make a spiritual praxis out of it. I did however, during this time, re-learn things I already knew about myself: a) gift giving isn’t a challenge for me, it’s pure joy, and b) a gift A day for 30 days IS a challenge for me, while 40 gifts IN 30 days isn’t. Here’s why: I am a BEING who’s defying all kinds of structures. When it comes to following a strict schedule of any kind, e.g. an excercise routine, eating plan, a fixed house cleaning day, working hours, go to the museum afternoon, or even book buying day (!?) – my body-mind-spirit is opting out. I believe, that I honestly believe, that I would become rebellious even to a chocolate eating routine. Well, at least if it would be imposed on me…* So, while I have been happily giving more than 30 gifts during the past month, I haven’t been gifting every day.
I learned another thing, too: taking pictures of my gifts to put on the blog, wasn’t such a brilliant idea, after all. Only a few days after I started, I realized an unpleasant dynamic: suddenly, my focus shifted from the person I wanted to make happy, to taking a nice picture to post on a specially dedicated page. Urgh. I stopped taking pictures as soon as I realized that. Interestingly, that in it’s turn had another unexpected effect on me: not posting pictures to show you, made it all feel less significant, or even REAL. An even bigger URGH. Huh, that’s a nasty side effect of social media.* Fortunately, it was a feeling that quickly passed… BUT STILL!!
If you’re curious, the following were among my favorite gifts to give: an angel-collage sparking my creativity (see picture); a Brené Brown book, because I love spreading her message; buying a newspaper to a bored old lady in hospital, who didn’t have a single visitor during her whole stay there; AND taking a friend from far away with me on my morning walk, by way of taking pictures of beautiful things I saw on the way and sending them over. I am aware, that those gifts gave MYSELF faaaaaaar more JOY than the receiver. How nice! There’s even beauty in that – my intention to be more COMPASSIONATE towards others, carried the big happy bonus of being a practice of inspiring SELF-COMPASSION, as well. Search for relief -> check!
* These realizations gave me ideas for upcoming blog posts about Routine versus Rituals, and one about the phenomenon that something feels more real when we share it.
So, stay tuned!**
**To whatever brings YOU joy, of course 🙂