Generosity is the most natural outward expression of an inner attitude of compassion and loving-kindness. Dalai Lama
I was signing a petition yesterday to ask my local council to house some refugees. Before I signed I hesitated, a little wave of fear came over me. The same fear that those against letting refugees into the country feel very strongly. I listened to it. It feared my life being forced to change, being more difficult in some way, out of my control. I was caught up in my mind for a moment. Thankfully, being aware of my thought process allowed me to recognise what was going on. I was then able to be compassionate to myself and my needs. A new thought came in “it’s ok Angela, you can still look after your family, and desire the things you desire,” recognising my fear and the power I have in my own life allowed me to be glad about signing, excited to welcome those who will hopefully get to come and live where I do. I’ll probably apologise for the weather.
Generosity is a natural occurrence. As, it seems, is war. One springs from love and one from fear. Jim Carey’s entertaining and soulful university address boils down life to that choice: to live from love or fear. It is our choice in every moment.
Our fears are powerful and deeply rooted. They are intelligent and can protect us from real harm. They can also “protect” us from imagined harm and that can can stop us from living our most fulfilling lives, following our dreams and contributing as much as we can to the world.
Where does protective fear show up in your life? What if you named that fear and listened to it? What else is available?
What if you shone a light of love and trust on to that place in your life? What is possible now?
Angelina Jolie gave an intelligent and humanitarian speech at the UN on the plight of Syrian refugees. She gives her time, money, energy and power generously. She has a huge surplus from which to give, perhaps not of time, but she gives it anyway. Giving from the place that doesn’t feel like you have surplus, is often the most fulfilling gift for the giver.
I have no idea how easy it is for her, but Angelina Jolie accepts her own brilliance. I was inspired to become a coach because I couldn’t understand why people didn’t see how brilliant they were. I was surrounded by people who didn’t believe in themselves and their talents, and I discovered that coaching enabled people to see it for themselves, see their own potential and their own brilliance. I know some people think coaching is an indulgence, with heartbreaking pictures like that of Aylan Kurdi it is easy to think there are more important things than helping people reach their dreams of whatever “success” is to them.
However I believe recognition of our own brilliance leads to fulfilment, it leads us to live from love not fear. It leads us to contribute, to be generous and from that place we can have the greatest impact on the world. There is no denying Angelina is an incredible woman on many levels. What else was she going to do? In the face of her own brilliance and fabulousness what else was left to do in life, but give? What do the most successful business people do? They give to things they care most about. When do we struggle to give of ourselves? When we feel badly about ourselves and our lives. We have been moved to generosity by the picture of Aylan because it reminds us that our lives are hugely blessed.
Remembering how blessed we each are, allows us to be generous with our entire lives. The Dalai Lama knows it, and if you ever meet him he’ll look you in the eye and remind you with just a look. You are blessed and you are brilliant, beautiful, unique and incredible. Why deny it? We deny it from fear. I’m sure there are times even Angelina forgets, but I’m glad that on the whole she loves her own brilliance. How could you light up the world if you loved your own brilliance?