Day 11 (Friday 2/22/13):
* "Pay it Forward" Gift: GIRL SCOUT COOKIE SEASON!!! Bought my box of Samoas & then gave them an extra $3.50 to give away an extra box to the next person of their choice. The moms were totally on board & looked like they'd have fun with it.
* Gift of Presence: Had a real conversation in the locker room at the rec center with a little girl who complimented *me* on my very bright pink blouse. She had on an equally enchanting big-fluffy-towel-with-a-hood-in-the-shape-of-a-horse-head, so she had ears & a mane going down the top of her head. I told her mom it was too bad we didn't get to wear those anymore as adults--HA! Or maybe they're just trimmed down very adult-like & called Snuggies.
* Woke up surprisingly happy for no reason at all (all the Gives/Receives yesterday??? Going to bed with childhood happiness from the Reader's Digest magazine? Don't know, but it was great)
* It was a happiness that was about "no worries, no plans, no thinking"--just feeling good, even if I did have a couple business calls to make. Happy Friday!
* I love Drew Carey on The Price is Right; he is so happy & smiling all the time, through the whole show. Gets me in a happy mood if I'm not already when I turn that show on. Ah, the wonders of unemployment.
* Gift of Presence: One of the clerks at the coffee shop got engaged recently; I made good eye contact & had a sincere intention in asking how the plans were coming along. She'd just come from a meeting with the pastor about the wedding and was very happy.
* Tangible Gift: Mailed out a Big Fat Gift Card (Home Depot) to my brother for his help in fixing my computer
* "Public Service" Gift :-): This one made me laugh... I was out running errands with the dog & got to the dog park right after I'd gone grocery shopping (non-perishables), which included buying toilet paper. During the winter the park bathrooms are locked up & the only 'bathroom' available is a little blue PortaPotty wheeled to the edge of the parking lot, so I stuck a roll of TP in there for fun as a small Gift to somebody who might really need it. (TMI? OK, but it was funny to me... very spur-of-the-moment since the groceries were right there as we were getting out of the car.)
* waking up to the noise of my neighbor (who I gave the article on identity theft issue a couple days ago) shovelling the snow off my walk for me
* business appt for the afternoon got cancelled, so I could stay home cozy in the snow for a while before errands
* awesome time at the dog park with my dog, who just surprised me with how happy he was to run & run & run in the snow & had a blast
* got my money matters re-organized or back on track after the computer crash & all is well; thank you
* Reader's Digest from 1995 was left at the rec center on the "give-away" shelf; I grew up with that magazine & boy, lots of good happy childhood feelings from that... nice cozy bedtime reading for me.
* Gift to Self & Others: Gave myself a break from the 'showing up' every day as present as possible (nice idea but a lot of effort) & just stuck to home and www.freekibble.com as something simple that still accomplishes something for me & others
* time for an extra-long walk with the dog (where we worked diligently on stopping for traffic at curbs! :-)
* letting the clerk at the bank show me some other options on a savings account when I was just so sure I "already knew" what I wanted and didn't need the whole show... and yes, I could use some of her ideas
* getting through on the 1st call to an attorney I wanted to speak to
* having some extra time with my personal trainer because her client right after me had cancelled her hour
* getting home and cozy for the night as the snow started to fall
* had a voicemail from a dr's office about some paperwork they are fixing for me; thanks
* had an email from a friend I haven't spoken to for a while who still loves me
* got another voicemail from a friend who appreciated some feedback/advice I had given him when I asked
* being home and cozy as the snow started to fall
* making time for reading of a spiritual nature before bed
I have a long list here, although I find I am not quite 'feeling' it today. I think some Fear has come up this week & is RIGHT THERE about "what's going to happen to me???" in making my way into the world to find a new job and make decisions about what I want to do (IS there something in particular I want to do?) along with still taking care of myself physically when I'm not all the way recovered. I am getting as much professional support as I can but still feel a little lost and a little pressure, and it's really not even about finances. Just that "What If??" feeling. I've been writing a lot about it privately in my journal, but it's still there every morning until I get up and get going the last few days.
And still... I started out in January with the feeling of: This Is Going to Be the Best Year of My Life.
Update: Days 1-8
Well, I thought this Round was going to be about Receives, but it's been a little disorienting to see the power of letting go, to not be as in control, to practice letting my Gives be from myself--or Be Myself--if possible and *not* about giving money or tangible things; I find myself not able to post about it every day here because it actually distracted from the concentration it's taken to show up at this level this Round.
Original Intention for Round 13:
I am The Gift (humbly, pleasantly, of service, available...present & cooperative, neither victim nor victor).
And in doing so--let me keep myself open for (and keep track of) What I Receive.
Day Eight (Tuesday 2/19/13):
Wow, got a little weirded out by Power of Coincidences the last few days... and all the people I met happy in their work. I would like that, but what is it I want to do next with my life? One day at a time is really all I can manage (or *need* to manage) & I don't feel like I have any great gift or talent that now is my Big Chance to use. Still....
* Gift of Sharing Myself with The World: Yep, that's what I've started calling what is otherwise called a "job search".
* Gift of Peace: Stood up for myself with a neighbor whose personality can be a little strong for my taste (she wrote euphemistically). Also called her later in the day to apologize for my tone being a little harsher than may have been necessary. The line was drawn & needed to be, but no need to use force if not needed... principle of non-violence, even in communication, if possible.
* Big Fat Gift to Self & Receive: Stayed home for the day when I hadn't expected to & had my feelings & a good cry about the last few days... and about my effort in this 13th Round to Stay Present and the amount of effort it takes. Then a knock came at the door, and it was a FedEx guy with a check from the insurance company for the 2-year-old matter I decided *not* to sue about & still feel satisfied that the amount is resolved for a fair amount without further action. Two years of distraction now resolved. I might have missed that if I hadn't stayed home to give myself a break. Thank you.
Day Seven (Monday 2/18/13):
The Give/Receives/Gives of Synchronicity:
* So I was sitting at a breakfast place reading the newspaper (which I don't get or read except on Sundays, unless I'm out somewhere that provides it as reading material), and I ran across an article on identity theft with a very in-depth sidebar on all the things you need to do if your identity or wallet is stolen... IE, "don't forget to call these people! And these people! And these people!" It looked helpful & I tore it out of the newspaper & stuck it in my purse, thinking to myself I'd be lucky to be able to find it again once I got it home & put in a file somewhere, because I am not very good with filing papers or remembering what file I put things in even if it does get filed 'properly'.
And off I went into my morning.
And within the hour, I was at the grocery store reaching around the gift card display when I heard a familiar voice say, "Careful there, that rack's dangerous!" And I turn around & it's one of my neighbors running through the self-checkout. Got to chatting & long story short, I mentioned he didn't look too happy when I had waved over the weekend--everything OK? Turns out his wallet got stolen from his car while he was paying for gas inside the gas station... with driver's license and Social Security card inside together. "Dumb," he says, shaking his head, "I have that number memorized so why did I have it in my wallet? Now I have to think of everyone I have to call."
"OH!", I said. Because guess what I had just stuck in my purse less than an hour before? Not even sure what I was going to do with it.
Yes, of course he took it.
And I offered him the emergency $100 bill I keep in my wallet until he got his banking stuff cleared up (today being a bank holiday); he passed for now as he thought he had enough cash on hand to last, but definitely appreciated the thought & said yes, he would definitely come by later for it if things got sticky.
* Went swimming later at the rec center. The lap lanes got full, so guess who came up & asked without hesitation, with a big smile on her face, if she could share my lane? Yep, the girl from yesterday with the teal-colored hair.
Yes, of course.
* Went off to a regional Dog Show with a self-employed friend who works in that industry & had a long long conversation with an artist/writer who's my same age & lived the life I might have lived "had things been different". Rang a lot of bells for me... very inspiring & surprising... the Path Not Taken.
The Gift of Compliments:
* Told 2 little girls at the dog park how much I liked their sparkly, glittery sneakers!!! (Are we allowed to wear those in our 40s? Where would I even buy them? Or are those days over???)
* Told a young woman at the pool (in her 20s?) how much I liked her teal-colored hair. I noticed it matched the teal stripe in her swimming suit & she immediately felt moved to tell me "and my pedicure too!!!". It's her favorite color.
* The Gift of Non-Judgment--Again: Today I stopped to buy a soda at a gas station. The guy in front of me was buying (or wanted to buy) a package of cigarettes, but found he didn't have his credit card in his wallet since he realized he'd left it with his daughter to use, and apparently he didn't have any cash with him either; he went outside & got on his cell phone to call whoever. Now, I am not a smoker and don't believe it's a wise thing physically, and am opposed to the prevalent use of credit cards in our society. That being said, I was in line to buy a soda (not the wisest thing for my body physically, either), and although I don't use credit cards, I have often left my debit card in my other jeans or something while out walking the dog and then found I didn't have it in my wallet when I went shopping, and just last night, I was totally out of cash *and* change after *donating* (not 'wasting') the last of what I had on my way home to a charity... IE, who am I to judge & you don't really know what someone has done with the rest of their money. So, to my surprise, without judgment, and with empathy for someone who just didn't have it with him to pay for what he wanted, I found myself asking to buy the 1st pack of cigarettes I have ever purchased in my life from the clerk & took it out to the guy still waiting by his motorcycle. "Happy Saturday!," I said. "Have a good weekend."
* The Gift of Non-Judgment: Today at the Home & Garden show, a roofing company was giving out individual roses to all the women who walked by their booth. My friend & I had taken the shuttle bus from the parking lot to the show, and the driver on the way in had a Tip jar that I'd dropped $1 in when we got out of the bus. The driver on the way back to the parking lot, though, didn't have a Tip jar (and good thing, because I had literally spent all my cash at the show, down to my almost all my change which I had put into a donation jar for a charity on the way out). I found myself *not* drawn to the driver personally because he was sharing some of his personal beliefs with a conversation with the passengers in the front seat of the bus & I, shall we say, did not share those same beliefs & was saddened to hear some of what he said. So I sat in the seat & practiced breathing in that we are Different & yet we are all One... and when I got out of the bus (last passenger out), I found myself offering me the rose as a Gift for his wife, who he had mentioned in his conversation, since it had been a free Gift to me. And the cycle went around again, in that the other Gift to me was that at first he was very generously declining because he wanted me to keep it, and then he found it within himself to graciously accept it & give thanks for the Gift he would be passing along to yet someone else. I loved the surprise of watching him back-track from "oh, a lovely lady like you should keep... you know, OK, thank you very much," and I wondered if he had his own spiritual process happening right there to let himself Receive & Just Say Yes. Who knows what's really happening sometimes.
Big Fat Receives:
* Ran into & chatted up a lot of people at the show who are very happy in their work, in fact, that's about the only people I talked to or was drawn to... the couple who started their own garden-tub business out of their house & just started officially marketing to the Big Outside World 1 week ago when the show started... the sprinkler guy who's happy as a clam with his winters off work, his motorcycle and dog and alter-ego as a 'rock star' in a band that started up because he loves to stand up and do karaoke... the college student who's been painting houses as the chance to start up his own business while he's in school... the retired guy who left Project Mgt to start building Adirondack chairs out of his garage and now is also happy as a clam... the pillow saleswoman who used to be a Special Ed teacher who got laid off when she tried to take a leave after 20 years, stayed home "crying for 6 months", and then got up, joined her sister on the road selling at these shows, met the man of her dreams who sold at a different booth, and now they're engaged in her mid-40s when she's never been married before. "Things happen for a reason," she leaned over to tell me, "I couldn't be happier."
And I was so happy for them. All of them.
* Gift of Presence: Good eye contact with a clerk and a smile. We are all in this together.
Already getting hard to track. It's like Receiving is a state of mind, not just things that happen, if only I keep that as my Intention--just like letting the Gift of being Present is a Gift of state of mind, not just individual things that are given. I could make a list... and yet it's hard. And at the same time, now I'm getting shy about this 'experiment', because it is unlike any other Round I've done, and it's great and out-of-control at the same time (as in, *I* am not controlling what happens... if it's not a tangible thing I am giving that I can check off as "Given"--if it's me myself showing up & having no idea what will happen... I don't get the checkmark & I don't decide ahead of time what's going to happen. Getting a little weird). I will write what I can & post as much as I'm able to share.
* My Gift: Being present to the best of my ability & conscious that I may be adding more Good to a situation than I will ever know
* Tangible Gift--Not required this month but I'll track when it happens: Got up a little overwhelmed (2 pages of business/insurance/legal/employment tasks or phone calls??? Yowza). Found to my surprise that my 1st item of "business" after asking for help was to get dressed, write out a Thank You card, and go to the store to buy flowers to go with it for the office manager at my vet hospital who I had a nice long chat with the other day when I took my dog in for a checkup. She had supported me in a big way a very long time ago when my 1st dog died & in my grief I had never thanked her the way I wanted. Turned out her 14-year-old dog was in the hospital today himself due to a crisis & she said this was just what she needed to get through her week. Funny timing but I am grateful.
Receives for Today:
* Got a phone call from an insurance company with an acceptable offer to resolve an outstanding matter almost 2 years old (statute of limitations pending for me to file further action & we all know it) & they sent me the paperwork by email within minutes. This I am very very grateful for, not only for the money, but also the relief of it being over. Thank you!
* Called another insurance company RE small amount still due to me on a medical claim not paid out correctly from a couple months ago & that matter should also be resolved shortly with check is going out. Thank you!
($ counts but there are so many other things too:)
* Ran into a neighbor down at the mailboxes who I don't see too often, but even a brief chat about the weather reminded me of something I meant to do at the house to prepare for the next snow so that reminder was a Gift. Thank you!
* Got more Friends requests/Comments today from folks on this site than ever before in 1 day, I think. Thank you!
* My Gift: Being present to the best of my ability & conscious that I may be adding more Good to a situation than I will ever know
Receives for Today:
* The Gift of having this site still here as a place to process the meaning of the last 12 Rounds, the peace that came from writing about it, & the support of people on it in response to me stating my experiment with this intention as a Gift Back somehow for those Rounds
* The Gift of seeing a flock of geese I never would have noticed had my dog not seen them across the canal & barked
* The Gift of running into a neighbor in the park who I wish I could offer some help with a personal situation if only I knew them better... and oh, look, there they are in front of me...