Thursday, November 22, 2012

Give or Take

Inexplicably linked to gratitude (and Thanksgiving) is, in my humble opinion, generosity.
I recall a story I once heard about generosity, illustrating how difficult it is to actually put qualities such as gratitude and generosity into daily practice. The story was about a priest who was traveling around the farming community he served, visiting his parishioners. One group of farmers was particularly engaging and he spent some time preaching about the virtues of generosity, charity and kindness. Finally he asked them all to imagine they had one more car than they needed. Then he asked them what they would do with the extra car. One of the farmers immediately responded enthusiastically; “I would give it away to someone who needed it.”
“Now that’s what I call charitable!” the priest exclaimed. “And what if you had two houses? What would you do with the second one?”
“I would give the second one to homeless people,” replied the farmer at once eager to please.
“The spirit of generosity indeed!” the priest smiled with approval. “What if you had two chickens, “ he continued, “what would you do?”
The farmer became suddenly serious. “Why I would keep them both!” he retorted.
“Now why would you, who have been so kind-hearted with great things, all of a sudden cease being generous when it comes to a couple of small chickens?” asked the priest
The farmer replied, “Because I have two chickens!”

Such a great illustration of how we humans can find it so difficult to live according to what we preach – to ‘walk our talk ‘as they say – especially when old emotional fear patterns and self-centredness take over! The thing is when they do, we actually feel uncomfortable, unhappy, because on some level we know we are not living in alignment with our values.

The very good news is that science is repeatedly showing us it’s all in the wiring of the brain – AND we can, by being mindful, actually take charge and change the wiring – be what we really want to be! In the case of the farmer (if he indeed was really as generous as he professed to be) give away that second chicken trusting that ‘what goes around comes around’.

To learn more about coaching and resources that can help ‘change the wiring’, check out

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