Creating the Space for Generosity

Sometimes you have to make room for generosity. Being closed off and full of clutter keeps the light from shining in. This is my realization today.

I fundamentally believe in the human good : when we see genuine need , our instinct is to help. Sadly, I think this instinct is often dulled by modern human existence . We are overwhelmed with human need - and numb ourselves in response. We are also overwhelmed with inauthenticity, trained to assume the worst in people for fear of being scammed. And scams there sure are - such as the gang that enlists women to beg for milk with their hungry child in arms (a genuine scam here in Kathmandu ). To top is off, most human interactions are void of real human connection these days. They are empty transactions , motivated by money and only money. But what happens when we open up space for sharing our truth for the sake of truth , without expectation of reward?  

With everything on my mind , the funding struggles and my many responsibilities, I've at times lacked the energy to share my story ... Rather than sharing like an open book as I am usually inclined to do, I've remained silenced with exhaustion . But I realize that having the courage and optimism to share truths with people in the shop has proven immensely valuable. Rather than just letting people just pass by, in and out, speaking up has turned strangers into life long friends, and browsers into enduring volunteers.

It's not always easy being open to sharing deep, personal and sometimes painful truths about our world. It can be taxing, intimidating and overwhelming. Putting your life out there can be scary . But I refuse to assume that people don't want to hear it or that it's burdensome or that it's pointless. 

Through sharing the truth behind our work and what we do, we've given people the opportunity to help in any way they can, if they feel so compelled .  We challenge the emptiness of a closed society with openness and fearless expression. We lift the spirit of generosity out from the muck. In doing so , we take a risk , and maybe, just maybe, a seed will grow.

Importantly, we can't expect a return. If we expect a reward, the interaction looses it's substance. Through my experience, people automatically tune in to authenticity.  And naturally, true human connection flowers from it.  

When a connection is made,  the generosity flowers into many forms. It may be a referral to an micro loan website, the purchase of a hand bag, sending a friend to the shop, or sharing an energizing smile of encouragement. All are immense, life affirming, and valuable. 

As I reflect on this, it was through one simple honest gesture that I got to know my teacher  , to whom I owe my life. I reached out, and he reached back. This experience is what affirmed the desire to share my Truth in the first place. It's been clear to me since that day that remaining silent, though tempting, is not pro active no matter how lonely and lost I may feel .  Instead , I dive in. I speak out. And more often than not, the truth really does set me free.

Perhaps not coincidentally,   a German man came into the shop today with a potential offer for purchasing large orders of our goods for resale . Much hope ! Given that one of our large pending payments still hasn't gone through the bank , this glimmer of hope is truly like a flood of light. I've also just received word from the building site manager that ground water is rising into the excavated holes we've created for our foundation -  meaning we have to act fast. Even if we don't have funding for the whole project , we must move forward with the foundation as soon as possible or the water will create a host of more, expensive issues . While I know better than to assume this new connection will develop any further, I am reminded that every encounter, every moment , is an opportunity to lift, light, and shine on. Namaste.