A good friend recently described me as “paradoxical.” I’d never considered such a thing, but she gave the example that, at parties or in groups, I love talking to people and hearing their stories – really getting to know what they’re all about. AND, I’m a loner; my own space is precious to me and I’m happy to go for days and days without much human interaction. So true; very astute.
The next thing she said was brilliant: “Paradoxical is a good thing. It’s why you’re so good at understanding people; you see all sides to every story.” Ahh…so the paradox of the sociable loner leads to compassion. Fascinating!
One of my favorite paradoxes is that generosity is the key to receiving. Want more? Give more. Need something? Give it, and you’ll get it…quite often many times multiplied.
The tricky part, and the reason I think it’s so difficult for us to fully live in this paradox, is that it’s not always a direct hit. Giving $100 to a charity today doesn’t necessarily result in your receipt of $100, $1000 or even $.10 tomorrow; it may mean that you meet the charity director, who turns out to be super cool and a year from now you’re teaming up on an amazing new project. Or it may be a quieter return; an unexpected day off, someone brings you coffee.
Plus, it all sounds a bit too much like magic, right? And magic isn’t real.
Well… I’m not sure. The more I pay attention to the paradox of generosity operating in my life, the more quick and direct the returns seem to be; and the more I feel like the magic just might be real.
So I’m going to experiment. I’m going to look for my current boundaries of generosity, push beyond them, and see what happens. I’m particularly curious to see what qualities this paradox open up in my life.
So tell me, dear readers:
- Are you open to experimenting with the paradox of generosity?
- What’s one thing – big or tiny – you can do today, right now, that would be MORE generous than you’re usually comfortable being?
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