For all the writing I do, I am an infrequent blogger. Like Cami's husband, Mark, I mostly keep quiet about my giving experiences. Now they happen spontaneously and are not often recognized as "a give" until after I have given. Sometimes I catch myself in the act, and recognize, with gratitude, hey this is a give!
I am now trying to blog more frequently, in the spirit community, and for sharing ideas and inspiration.
I moved to a small town in Northern California about 7 months ago, and live in a cottage near my best friends. It is a major treat to be so near to people I love. I am gradually getting to know more folks here, and have taken a part time job of canvassing for alternative energy so I can literally knock on doors and see who my neighbors are. I teach the 29Gifts telecourses from the local Senior Center, where I have made a nice, friendly connection.
I love to take walks in the countryside, but don't always have the time or inclination to drive to a spot where I can walk. So, walking on my street is a great alternative. The first time I went out for a walk down my street, I noticed a few bottles and cans strewn along the road. I started picking them up and soon found a plastic bag to facilitate the trash collecting. I came back home with a grocery plastic bag full of discarded, but mostly recyclable, food and beverage containers. Now it is a walk I look forward to with bag and gloves. I don't go every day, and each time I walk in a different direction, but I always come home with a bag full of material for the trash cans, and lots of recyclable glass, aluminum and paper. On one of my walks, as I stooped to pick up a super-sized soda cup, a family in a passing truck waved and honked hello. It felt good to receive their gesture of appreciation, and it shifted my thinking and motivation on the spot!
I had been picking up trash with a mixture of civic (or country, in my case) pride and judgment for folks who would so willingly and mindlessly toss debris out of their cars onto an otherwise pristine country lane. I enjoyed cleaning up the roadside, but tsk-tsked my way along with every fast food wrapper or cup.
I realized that picking up trash is a service, a gift, I give to myself and my neighbors. Pride and judgment interfere with "selfless" acts, so they have to go! Out with the trash! Now, my multi-tasking walk is just a gift, without strings attached through judgment of people who toss trash, nor a need for recognition for service.