Originally posted on Facebook HERE

The reflection in the window is kinda cool today, and maybe appropriate as well as I’ve been reflecting back a lot lately on this year, my life, where I’m at, and recently what it means to truly know unconditional love and live with gratitude, kindness and a giving heart. Yesterday several times I was hit, in a way I don’t think I’ve ever felt this before – really hit with a wave of peace. A feeling that everything is going exactly as I should. Gratitude. Years ago, when I was struggling to make ends meet financially I remember trying to live generously and how hard it seemed to be. At the time I was reading a lot of things that talked about how the more you give, the more you receive. Well, giving even $20 when you’re wondering how to pay the light bill can create more stress than peace, and that’s not what giving is about. Forcing yourself to give in order to maybe get something in return isn’t going about it the right way. Giving and accepting are the two sides of the same coin. You start living generously by accepting where you are in life, realizing you have more than enough, then giving what you can when you can whenever you can. That’s if you want to live generously, of course – I realize not everyone does. Listen to your internal dialogue when you give something away. What are you saying to yourself? The trick is to give freely and openly. So the dialogue is more about being kind, helping out, making a positive difference in the lives of other people, with nothing expected at all in return. That’s giving from a mindset of plenty. You could sell something, but you know a friend could use it – just give it to them. Does that ever enter your mind? Now, if you really need the money then this makes no sense at all, because your mindset would be all wrong. You’d be giving from a mindset of “lack”. Altogether too many people fall into this category. Questioning the gift (I know she’ll love this, but I could really use the $100 right now, but I don’t feel right asking for money, so maybe I should sell it on eBay, but then I’d have to ship it and…) is a sign you’re not ready to give it freely yet. What can you give freely today that would benefit another person? Giving doesn’t have to be money or stuff, either – what about time? Often giving our time to another person or cause is even more meaningful than giving stuff away. Everyone has something to give. The other side of the coin is receiving. Are you good at that? What if someone just gave you $100 right now out of the blue because you’re awesome? Would you accept it gratefully, or try to give it back? “Oh, no – I can’t take that, it’s too much”, etc… Accept the gifts that come to you gracefully. We can’t give unless the gifts are received. You will be on the receiving end at times. Please accept with gratitude, it’s what the giver wants for you. Years ago, I’ve mentioned this before, when I noticed I was giving from a lack mentality, and I was low on funds… I started putting a small amount away into a giving fund. A really small amount, I think it was $1 from every paycheck. Something like that. Then, when I wanted to donate I just looked at the envelope (at first it was cash, later a bank account) and everything that ever went into the “giving” account was there to be given away. I would never spend it on myself. So, if it was $2, that’s what I’d give. And… for the first time in my life, I gave freely. I knew my ultimate goal was to set aside 10% of everything I made to give away. That’s where I started. Be careful, this can be habit forming. As time went on, it became $2… $5… then 2%… 5%… took years to build up to giving away 5% of my income to people and charities I felt good about. But, amazing things happen in your life when you learn to give freely. And – when Laurie and I finally hit the 10% mark years ago – magic. I can honestly say I don’t know a more giving person than my wife. She’d probably do 25% if it was up to her. But every day, in everything we do, we’re looking for ways to help others, to give back, and in so doing we live knowing we have more than enough. We give freely whenever we can, however we can. We look for ways to give. It took me years to get here, but it can be done. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. What step can you make today?…

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