Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I Am Enough, Just As I Am

My last blogging endeavor (this is blog number 5 in my writing life) was called The Conspiracy of Blessings. I was inspired by Rob Brezny's idea of Pronoia, which is the belief that the Universe is conspiring to shower us to blessings, if only we'd wake up to it. The blog itself was an opportunity to explore creative generosity, random acts of kindness and gift economy. I researched people actively participating in blessing others, posted links and wrote about all kinds of goodness going on in the world (there is so much more goodness than people realize!).

It started in December 2005, when I decided that I was making too many crafty things to be able to give to my few friends for Christmas (imagine how much time I was giving to the Imps and how many crafts/art pieces I could make if I gave that time to art/craft making instead...it's kinda insane how productive I can be). I needed an outlet for my creative generosity and I had come across some random-acts-of-kindness artists on the web. So as my first act of creative kindness, I put beaded snowflake ornaments I had made with a handwritten card in places around town for people to find. I put one in the restroom at Border's in the mall, one in a potted plant in Old Town, one on someone's windshield, etc.

Eventually I desired a little bit more of a personal connection with the recipients and an opportunity to give more items to each person, so I came up with the idea of sending art blessing packages to people who requested them through my blog. The blog was anonymous and I signed the cards "The Blessing Conspirator" so no one knew who I was. Over the course of a couple years, I gave away over 100 art blessings to people all over the world. I received requests from people experiencing intense stages of life, especially women in transition. While it may seem kind of frivolous -- what can a handmade doll do for someone going through divorce or cancer? -- it seemed to really touch the lives of the people I sent them to.

There is a special tenderness when someone we don't know reaches out to us with love in any form, no matter how small or seemingly frivolous.

I tell you all of this to explain how I am feeling this very moment. I find myself suddenly missing the Conspiracy. I miss blessing people in need of a little light in their lives, especially during the holidays. I have been seeing amazing stories of generosity this season -- a homeless man starting a non-profit to collect shoes for other needy people; a popular blogger giving away some gift cards to families in need, which snowballed into over 600 people giving to over 600 families within 72 hours; and another popular social networking site inspired by that blogger and seeking to continue the giving trend. I read the comments from people in need and I wish so very much that I could give them something, but I am struggling financially myself right now and don't have anything monetary to give. The only gifts I am giving this year are to my children. The only lives I'm touching are those closest to me. Is that enough?

I have been contemplating what my options for generosity are, brainstorming on how I might be able to touch a stranger's life. Yet as I sit here writing this, I wonder why I feel like I haven't been participating in the Universe's conspiracy to bless others all along? Why do I always feel like I'm not doing, giving, serving enough?

What I am is good enough if I would only be it openly. Carl Rogers

Is it enough to feel compassion and send love from my heart to theirs as I witness each story of need and watch it fulfilled by others? Haven't I already given as much of myself as I have to give this year (which is why I'm burnt out)? Hasn't the service I've given through the Imps blessed hundreds of lives this year? When is it enough? When am I enough?

"...be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here." Max Ehrmann

I think this comes back to the old belief that I have to earn my place in the world through giving and service. And discomfort with being the center of my own attention. The truth is that this holiday season I am giving mostly to myself -- quiet time for reflection and rejuvenation; one-on-one time with my closest friends; a solstice gathering and spiritual connection with other journeyers in my home; an amazing New Year's Eve experience with my teenage daughter and one of our favorite musical artists in the world, Amanda Palmer (my heart longed to spend NYE at her show with the Boston Pops last year, this year she's in San Francisco with The Dresden Dolls, so I'm making my own dream come true).

Transitioning to a much needed focus on my self is a significant challenge some days. Letting go of an identity based in generosity and service and accepting what is left - me - is a significant challenge most days.

Yet each day I find new ways to give myself spaciousness and to accept that I am enough, just as I am.

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