Thursday, October 29, 2009

Opportunities For Generosity

I can't remember specifically why but yesterday I started thinking about generosity. And then I did that very human thing. I started thinking of all the ways I am not very generous. Then I realized how this made me feel. Next thought went something twisted like "well how ungenerous you are to yourself to point out how ungenerous you are. Sheesh! In seconds I was tangled up like some mutant pretzel, all I needed was a little salt for the wounds.

As I watched my little pretzel self I remembered an article I'd read on creativity. It said when they'd done research on what separated the creative folks from the non creative ones, it was, simply, that creative people believed they were creative. Non creative people believed they were not creative. Hmmm. So maybe if I believe I'm generous, I will be more generous. So I tried this on, like a size 10 pair of shoes. I thought about all the occasions I have been generous, instead of the other way around. That felt better but still had an oddness about it. It felt so I, me, my, if you know what I mean.

So as I sat this morning it came to me. Generosity. It doesn't need a subject. It doesn't need a verb. It doesn't need to be "I " am generous". There doesn't need to be a me doing it. If I am going to focus my attention on it, it simply needs to be "generosity". I can immerse myself in a sense of generosity. It really is all around us, all the time, in many and varied forms.

And a funny thing happened as I contemplated generosity. The door bell rang and the post person had a package I needed to sign for. "It's even for you" she said (usually the packages are for the downstairs neighbour). "It's from Thailand and they only opened it once," she teased. I sort of knew then what the package contained. Colin from Spaces & Lines had sent me a beautiful pencil sketch of a Buddha (as a thank-you, he had said, for inspiring him to start his own art blog) and friend, Marcus had added a beautiful sacred Buddha textile from Waht Suthat as a treat. So it was like Christmas morning as I opened the package with all it's little additions and cards and even the beautiful Thai lettering on the envelope and the exotic postage stamp. So how's that for an experience of generosity! I hung my Red Cloth Buddha on my studio door and propped the gorgeous Buddha sketch on my cutting table and happily got down to work. Thanks guys for the Treasures! Bows to you both. What shear delight to get snail mail filled with Buddhist goodies.

The air filled with the smell of incense and generosity as I worked away on a new painting. As I contemplated it some more it seemed to me that kindness and compassion and generosity are all really one. And it struck me that rather than thinking of the ways we are ungenerous we might think of them as new opportunities to practice generosity. That seemed much more generous.


  1. Yes indeed. I remind myself to be my own best friend. A generous outlook towards the self, which is a foundation for daily generosity to all. Thanks for a great post.

  2. So glad it got there okay! Big smiles over here in Thailand! Thank you so much, Marcus & Colin _/\_

  3. Thanks to you both. I love your art, Leslie, the simplicity of it, the slightly Asian feel to it. When I look at it I think, I wish I'd done that!

    And thanks again Marcus, to you and Colin! I will take another picture of Colin's Buddha after I frame it.

    Love that little bow or gassho. Let me try it _/\_

  4. This post has been my first stop this morning and what a lovely beginning. Perfect to receive such extraordinary gifts when considering generosity.
    I am new to your site and am enjoying your slideshow...thank you for your visit to mine!
    Mary Ann

  5. Lately I have been amazed daily by the generosity of strangers, friends, extended family during a difficult time for my little family here in NH. The question that comes to me now, is WHY am I amazed? It is our nature to smile begets a smile in return. It takes far more effort to hold that smile back than to release it. The energy to ball up our fists is far greater than the ease of opening our hands.

    I'm glad I stopped by to check out your post this evening. It's good to be reminded that yes is in deed...there is an abundance of generosity all around us.