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Radical Generosity: Part Two

March 12, 2010

Giving beyond ego as a shortcut to joy is the genious behind the Pay It Forward idea. (Or the Secret Santa phenomenon http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5juiAybX3FodbHwHZnOwH-dSapF6QD9CGAM304. The secret is, the Santa is the one who receives the most; who truly gets refreshed as he or she bathes in the spirit of giving.) Pay It Forward was a grade B movie some years ago, but I had come across the idea long before, in the summer of 1970, when I was hitchhiking across the country…

I was dying for a ride one day out of Wawa, Ontario, a notorious place for hippies to be hitching in or out of because of its hostility to “our kind” at the time. It was mid August and I was hot, hungry, tired and lonely. Finally, after 3 hours in the same spot, someone (a short-haired dude!) picked me up, and we started talking. I expressed my thanks, and offered him whatever I could: Part of my sandwich; a good road story.

He realized what I was trying to do and said, “If you want to pay me back for the ride — the next time someone needs something you have, give it to him! That’s what I just did, picking you up. The last guy who did me a favor told me the same thing!”

This keeps the energy of generosity going. If you give to someone who, because of this, gives to someone else, your energy reverberates and ripples out in concentric circles into the universal human connection. Suddenly you’re connected to – potentially – everyone! What’s that worth?

This kind of giving erases the illusion of separateness and lets you suddenly feel your connection to all those before you who’ve received something and passed it on till it came to you, and your connection to all those who will receive something in the future, because you’re going to pass it on!

What kind of town would you be living in by next month if even 10% of those whose lives you’ve touched started spreading the wealth of your giving spirit? What kind of world would we have if enough people did this today so that by tomorrow the effects rippled out to many times that number?

Radical generosity like this is discombobulating, subversive, and dangerous because it blows minds and shakes things up.

And there’s joy in that!

Today’s JOYGASM (or two):

How about a giving party?  People take stock of anything that they are willing to give away for free: objects and possessions; or a service (massage; chiropractic; sex –hey, you never know; resumé writing; their presence; etc.) They gather in a circle in the park, or in your “giving room” at home and exchange gifts. I don’t know — I’m just riffing here. Maybe it could be a giving-what-I-need-to-get party: Money; love; companionship. Whatever you think you’re lacking.  

Want a more concrete idea? Turn the above idea into a food party: Everyone bring their favorite dish – cooked themselves or take out from their favorite restaurant. And,  after they all arrive, announce a rule, to keep it in line with a giving theme: Nobody feeds themselves!  See what happens.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 12, 2010 3:13 pm

    OKay Charley, I like this idea, please start sending me stuff right away.

  2. March 13, 2010 8:47 pm

    Hey, I also hitchhiked across the US in 1970! Although I had some close calls, nothing “bad” happened to me… Lot’s of adventures unfolded and insights abounded in the days of risk-taking and giving freely…

    The trick about paying it forward is that if we hope to be chalking up joy-filled brownie points in the future, as a result of our “giving”, we have defeated the purpose… the act of giving without expectation of reward, just pure giving, can be a stricky dialectic upon self-examination….

  3. March 13, 2010 8:48 pm

    I mean sticky

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