Radical Generosity — Part One
The genesis of joy is generosity.
And if generosity is giving, giving beyond ego can be called Radical Generosity. Ego is fine, really. I have nothing against it. Without it, it would be tough to negotiate your way in the real world. Only problem is, you invite this driver called ego into the car to chauffer you around, and soon he’s telling you where to go, and soon after that, stuffing you in the trunk. Ego and happiness (which is more about gratification and getting your way) can be friends. Ego and joy, not so much.
When you give to another, you give to yourself. Giving gives the giver. And this is evidence that we’re all connected.
This idea of radical generosity was exemplified by my dear cousin Gary. (May he rest in peace). One day Gary was out with a bunch of his friends at a restaurant, and there they encountered the meanest, rudest, and most ornery bitch of a waitress the dining industry had ever known. For reasons that eluded and baffled all of them, this woman made snide remarks about their food choices; brought them the wrong food (which she practically threw at them); and took every opportunity to be offensive.
So what did they do? A few felt humiliated by her; others felt enraged. They could have complained to the management and maybe have gotten her fired.
At the least, Gary’s friends wanted to stiff her — but he would have none of it.
“Do you like her energy?” he said. “So do you want to add to it? I have a better way to get back at her!”
Now you’re probably wondering what they did. One could fight fire with fire, but only if one is prepared to have everyone get burned.
When the bill came, Gary asked his friends how much cash they had on them. The bill came to about $45.00 for the 7 of them (hey – this was 25 years ago).
He then proceeded to empty his wallet of the $40 in it, and placed it on top of the bill. Somehow, he persuaded everyone to do the same, leaving about $155 on the table!
It’s not just that they got to see the look on the face of this poor, unsuspecting soul who didn’t know what hit her. It’s how they felt….for days and weeks after! Gary couldn’t say if this woman was transformed by this. But they were! Their dark rage and humiliation was instantly transmuted to a radical, happily irrational, and empowered feeling.
Radical generosity generates joy.
Splurge on your brother for a big birthday gift, and you feel great, and hopefully he does too, and everyone’s happy. Splurge on your brother for no reason at all, and send the gift anonymously, and it will bring you joy.
Today’s Joygasm: “The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.” — Mark Twain