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  • Writer's pictureAti Egas

Where Does “Giving” Come From?

Quito — Ecuador, “El Centro”

It is that time of the year when the words “gratitude” and “giving” appear in our atmosphere quite often. This time I want to encourage you to think about your own beliefs about generosity and the act of giving.

In the same way you hold ideas, concepts, beliefs about money and love; you also have beliefs about generosity and giving. And in the same manner that you may have holdups and blockages around money and love; giving and generosity can also be skewed by a belief imprinted from very early on. Let’s take a moment together, as you are reading this letter from me to you, to think about the act of giving. Allow me to share what comes to mind for me: The act of giving and generosity is tied to my grandmother. I saw her giving food and change to the elderly and destitute every Saturday morning. In this part of town, in Ecuador, the elderly came around from shop to shop asking for money, with their hands clasped close to their chest, in gratitude and prayer. Every Saturday, no less than 30 people came to her shop.

As I think about this, the whole premise of this sanctified and normalized act makes my heart ache as I recall the stark social disparities, yet it is this act along with many others I observed in my early childhood that continues to inform a certain idea of generosity I hold. My grandmother had a jar of change ready every Saturday, and it was her joy to send me to the doors of her furniture shop to engage with the elderly and give them her offering. I did not know it then, but I was internalizing the act of giving as normal and even ritualistic. She, my grandmother, was passing down her own ideas of generosity onto me through this very act. This is only a snippet of a narrative. We all hold narratives, sometimes pleasant, sometimes conflictual, or some that we have hidden and are no longer accessible to our conscious mind. Remember that as a child you were constantly internalizing the world around you. If you are finding it difficult to reach in and connect to images from your past, or if these images are of beliefs you would want to change; today is an opportunity to create your own.

I want to suggest the following practices for the coming season. Do it once, do it twice, do it everyday, but be mindful about each time. Beliefs about giving are very much tied to beliefs about love and money.

offer your time/ offer to listen/ offer your presence/ offer a “good morning”/ offer a hand/ offer your gifts and skills/ offer your wisdom/ offer your knowledge/ offer inspiration/ offer a moment of laughter/ offer a plate of food/ offer space/ offer accountability/ offer clarity/ offer truth/ offer trust.

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