I have done my best to give back, or forward as the case usually is, to others in need with the best gifts of service I have to offer, namely making and delivering meals and a patient listening ear. What I have found though is that for me it never feels like I am giving enough to equal what I have been given. Its like a guilt of receiving that sets up an invisible tally in my head "If I receive 'ABC' then I must give 'XYZ' in order for it to be fair..." Notice some pretty strong language there - 'must' is an absolute, and 'fair',well fairness is a powerful motivator for me.
A problem then arises when I believe I must give but I have little energy to give with. It has the ability to change my giving from something that happens freely and with love, to giving that carries a resentful or 'should' energy. This is martyr energy. It feels heavy. It feels slow. It feels empty of anything positive. I bring consciousness to this as often as I can. When offering a gift, or even just thinking about it before I offer it, I check with myself "Do I have the capacity or energy to give this now?", "Do I want to give this now?", "Is my heart in this gift?". If I am aware of hearing a 'no', then the gift is not given. I do not ever want to give a tainted gift to someone I love. It is important to me that my loved ones know that when I give something to them it comes from a place of generosity and a full open heart. I hope that they do know this!
Is your head and heart aware of the difference between a gift given with love, and a gift given with a 'should'? Do you think your friends would feel the difference in a gift from you? Would your friends understand you not helping out in a time of need because you need to give to yourself? And most importantly how do you stop yourself from giving tainted gifts?
Do you know the difference between a true gift of service and martyrdom? If you do, how do you recognise the difference?
In thinking about what I now have to offer with my business I have decided to make the Pay-It-Forward (PIF) philosophy a part of what I do. I am offering a free place within every workshop to a PIF participant. This means if you or someone you know would like to attend a workshop but haven't got the funds you can apply for this free spot. You can pay the kindness forward to someone else in any way you'd like. This I can give freely, with an open heart while maintaining my own energy. It feels good to have this in place. It is a good start.