Last night I had a friend literally offer me the shirt off her back. She did request we wait until a time when she wasn’t wearing it… but still. It’s hard enough for me to take a compliment, much less turn that back around into a gift.
Thinking on it now, I have (at least once that I can think of) gifted someone something of mine that they had admired. And I remember a stingy, fear-based voice in my head fighting me all the way. That voice said things like: what if you need those earrings later? what if you regret giving them away?
I’m glad I didn’t listen to that voice. Because I have NEVER needed those earrings since then in anyway that would negate the joy of having given them to a friend whose face lit up on receiving them.
The things we own have weight. And often it is a far heavier weight than what the objects would measure, placed on a scale. They have the weight of expectations, of memories, of our dysfunctions with the money used to purchase them, of fears of lack in the future. But that’s only if we let them have that weight. If we invest some part of our identity in them. And I do that. And it drives me crazy. Wherever we go, there we are: in the weight I give to my material possessions, I see all my fears about a lack of abundance. I see a lack of Faith that I will have what I need provided for me in some way when I need it. I see grasping and a choking off of Flow. I see everything I preach to work against on my mat in my yoga practice and when teaching.
I’ve been putting off cleaning my room for months now. I stopped seeing the clutter to avoid it. And it’s because I don’t want to have to make decisions about what stays and what goes. Because I don’t want to have to ‘throw out perfectly good things’ or ‘pollute the Earth with my shit.’ Guess what? Waste is waste wherever it is. And in my bedroom, it clutters my mind and distracts from my sense of peace, which affects the Earth just as much. Healing the Earth does NOT mean taking all the disease into myself. That serves no one.
So I have begun to ascribe to a new way of thinking about clothes and now I pass it on to other material possessions: does it bring me Joy RIGHT NOW? Does it serve a purpose. If the answer is no, it goes. And hopefully to someone to whom it does bring joy. Our environments reflect our insides: I choose Joy, I choose Connection, I choose Light. And those things combined lead to generosity – a sense of abundance and a willingness to share it. I cherish this offer of a shirt to help remind me of what’s important.
And that’s the biggest gift I could be given.