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The Season of Giving




Giving during the holidays is by far my favorite tradition to celebrate. The act and practice of giving is one of the most valuable lessons I learned from my grandparents. It’s a value they instilled in our whole family.  


When I started thinking about what it really means to GIVE, I looked up the definition online and found it is “to freely transfer the possession of (something) to (someone); hand over to.” The biggest thing that sticks out to me here is the FREELY part. You can think of it as giving without expectation. I think that’s one of the number one rules of giving. Unconditional. Pure.


The other thing that comes to mind when I think of the spirit of giving is how it directly correlates to a spiritual practice. The act of giving is deeply intertwined with spiritual practices across various traditions and philosophies. I love how many spiritual teachings emphasize the importance of cultivating compassion. Giving, whether through acts of kindness, charity, or selfless service, is a tangible expression of compassion.


When we think of giving, we think of what people may want or need. This shift in focus helps us develop a heightened awareness of the needs of others. The AWARENESS part is key. So many spiritual teachings emphasize the interconnectedness of all living beings and giving is a concrete way to acknowledge and honor this interconnected web of existence.


On the flip side of this, it is also necessary to practice RECEIVING. I know this can sometimes feel uncomfortable. Learning to receive is to know our worthiness. I can’t help but think of my closest girlfriends, who have selflessly given to me in a variety of ways that have enriched my life. (Names are not necessary as they know who they are!) I think of their generosity and the mutuality of the experience—the giving, receiving and giving back—like a dance. I’m so grateful to have the friends in my life who have shown me this time and time again.


Of course, this all ties in with mental health because, well, that’s what we talk about here! Giving helps others feel cared for and that kind of support is invaluable. It has been PROVEN time and time again that being of service and giving is one of the healthiest things we can personally do for ourselves.


This holiday season I encourage you to think about ways you can give. Could you make a donation to a local food shelter or give to a toy drive? Is there an organization that cares for those who are struggling? (You could even make a donation in someone else’s name!) Also remember to share kind words and expressions of gratitude to those who have been an important part of your life.


I hope you have a Merry Christmas and welcome the new year with an open heart.


If this is a difficult time for you, know you are not alone. You can contact the NAMI National Helpline: 800-950-6264, 7 am to 7 pm PT or text NAMI to 741-741 for free support.  

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