I am always inspired by people who just seem to be generous by nature. They have a generous spirit. There’s a woman by the name of Kathy where I work who is always doing extra things for people. She’ll update the bulletin boards outside the cafeteria or give everyone a chocolate heart for Valentine’s day. Her spirit exudes generosity.

I know another woman, Gladys, who is generous in her presence to others. She has started several non-profits and has always been very giving in her time and resources. But what really strikes me when I am around her is how generous she is in listening and connecting to all types of people, giving each one respect and a generous response.

Another generous spirit in my life is my volunteer Carol. She faithfully comes four mornings a week to assist in the library. She is caring to the children, helping them find books, and she is willing to do what is needed. She sees a need to repair a book, or organize a section on the shelves, and just does it.

But still, many of us find ourselves so overextended with the daily pressures of work, finances, chores, with responding to the needs of our homes and family, and finding a minute to take care of ourselves, that we find ourselves contracting and shutting down. I notice in myself that many times I want to be more generous, but I feel stretched. Yet lately, I have been reflecting on how important generosity is and asking myself if there are ways I could embody more of this spirit.

Since I have reduced my work hours, I have been so anxious about money. An elderly friend suggested that I meet my fear of lack of money with generosity. What? She didn’t mean for me to excessively give my money away,  but to live with open arms and not be closed off with anxiety. Because I am trying to break into a new field, I am volunteering my services as a way to expand and connect with new people. It’s a deep act of faith to practice generosity in the face of feeling I have less. Yet, I can sense how this approach is extremely expansive.

I think it’s important to find the immediate moments in our day to be generous, and allow ourselves to cultivate generosity on every level in ourselves and in our lives. The more I let myself be inspired by the Kathys, and Gladys, and Carols, the more I am joining the flow of generosity that keeps the human spirit thriving.