Archive for the ‘giving’ category

Don’t Be an Amateur – Be a Pro

October 3, 2010

There are many people who have interests that they call hobbies. They spend time tinkering with these interests, but it sits as a “weekend warrior” type committment. These days you can not have that kind of mentality about your life or your pursuits. In the deep recesses of your mind, you know the ideas you have, the plans you would like to make, the accomplishments you would like to achieve. Whether it is creating a piece of music, painting a masterpiece or leading a village to freedom, you have heard the echoing voice in your mind for years. At times the voice would rise in volume and your heart would race with the thought that “maybe” this could be the time.

Sadly, you shrugged off the feelings because you “had to make a living” or you needed to be “reasonable” in your aspirations. You must shake yourself free from such damning thoughts and thrust out your hand and begin. The greatest resistance and frustration you will face is when you begin your work, that thing that you know you were meant to do. In the genesis of action when the hand touches the plow, that is the moment when the pull from the opposition is at it height. It does not come from some outside place, you know that very well, it comes from within, the center of your individual universe. A cry bellows out from the caverns of your core and screams for you to stop and let things remain as they have always been. Out comes reason after reason for you to quit and go back to the “normal” life you have been living. This is indeed the moment of truth and you must face this moment alone. At this time it is just you fighting with your own ego for supremacy of the control of your Self.

Something happens in the ether when you make contact with your work, when musician touches her instrument and artist picks up the brush. When the writer grasps the pen, a surge of energetic passion envelopes him and suddenly he is no longer alone. The Source has brought to him help and supply. Once you have set you face in the direction of your inner call, all of Heaven is allied with you and your certainty grows. From seemingly nothing the seeds of inspiration begin to germinate and flourish. A once barren mindscape is now fertile with ideas and endeavors.

In the eyes of those around you, you may seem a little off – mad even. What the onlookers do not know is that you have connected with the Muse that will bring sustenance and peace. Not in the form of success or reward, but of accomplished work. To do a thing for the money is to prostitute the Divine. To do a thing for the doings sake is the work of the professional. An amateur does not understand the importance of finishing, staying late or misery; the professional understand that nothing is done without it. The diabolical nature of the Ego is to make you believe that you are all that matters – the individual. It gives you the OK to think that you are separate and what you do bleeds over into no one else’s life. This sinister lie is only emboldened by those around you who want you to maintain the equilibrium of the group by not trying to be who you were made to be. The pack wants to set the rules and punish those who break them.

You look around at your adopted pack, but find no solace as before. Your mind has been awakened and can never return to its previous state. The only way to continue to stay with the pack is to renounce your feelings – your “knowings” about yourself – and submit to the culture of the pack. Submit to the unwritten law that we will all keep the peace as long as no one tries to step out and be their real Self. The reasoning is simple. To be one’s real Self is to succeed and accomplish and achieve, and that is what we most fear. The greatest fear we have is that we will become who we know, deep inside, we are.

But that side-eyed contempt of life will not do for the professional. Perhaps the half-hearted amateur will never write the novel, or the symphony, or the play; but truth be told it was never going to be written or sung anyway. Amateurs abuse the gift, they tarnish the sacred and humiliate the holy. Amateurs are enamored by their own unrealized visions. Professionals know that the work is flowing through them from somewhere else. Professionals honor the work.

Step free from the shadow of the pack and step into your Self. Acknowledge and begin the path to be who you were meant to be. The first step is the hardest, but the result will be the upswell of inspiration and ultimately the completion of the task. Don’t wait, procrastinate, piddle, dwaddle or put off. Step up, step out, move up and press on. Do what you know you must do…now!

What Does Your Future Look Like?

November 12, 2008

This past week I was rereading some books that I had stacked up, one was Turning To One Another by Meg Wheatley. Great book about the value of simple conversations and being presnt in those conversations. What struck me was a quote by Paulo Freire which said,

 “What if we discover that our present way of life is irreconcilable with our vocation to become fully human?”

If you are like me, I don’t often find myself thinking about what it means to be fully human. You may be asking the same question, but for Paulo, the answer is that the vocation, or calling, to be fully human is given to us and therefore signifies that we are part of a larger place.

To become fully human means that we live an open life that is filled with generosity. We become more human each time we make the decision to reach out instead of withdrawing into our personal sufferings and experiences.

We can only become fully human when we extend ourselves. When we create a world of secrecy and whispers around us, we lose life rather than gain life. When we chose to become aloof and non-communicative we allow our ego to reign and prevent our own growth. When we close ourselves off from those around us, we may pretend that we are doing it for our own good. The truth is that we lack the courage to engage real dialogue – conversations where I speak and then become silent and listen. Speeches do not give; they are not generous. Listening and opening ourselves up to one another are acts of generosity. These are the actions that lead to our becoming fully human and going from a human doing to a human being.

Swing Dance Time!

October 29, 2008

Amy and I have wanted to take dancing lessons for a long time, and now, thanks to the Crockers we can. Tuesday night was a blast! About 32 people came together to learn how to Swing dance. We all brought canned goods which will be used to provide food for some needy families this winter season. For an hour and a half we danced and danced. Some had good rhythm and some were a little rhythm challenged, but we all had fun.

One of the things that I am enjoying the most, is being able to connect with people outside of the Sunday meeting. There is so much that we can gain from each other just by spending time and listening. I wish I could tell you that I left with no aches, but I’d be lying. My hips were reacting to movements that were foreign to them, but again, it was a great night of fun! I can’t wait for next Tuesday.

Opportunity of a Lifetime

October 22, 2008

There is so much excitement in my heart as I begin to think about this coming Sunday. I’ve talked to several people who call Lifepoint their home, and they are excited as well. This past Sunday a large vision was cast for a more interactive and integrated 2009. More work with the community; more work with the disenfranchised; more work with the less fortunate and more work to make the community of Middle Georgia a better place to live and make a difference.

The most glaring challenge was to come together and give $75,000 over and above the regular giving, to begin to fund the incredible endeavors of next year. So much is going on in the world and in the church that we need to be more aware than ever before of opportunities to make a difference.

More incredible than anything else is the great knowing that I have of the true impact of our actions – as we give we become a part of the fulfillment of the commandment of Jesus that we “love one another as ourselves”. In the days and months to come, the “change” we’ve heard so much about from both candidates can only truly be realized as each of us look into our heart and see where our “treasure” should be. Then we can and will see palpable change!

What Is Poverty?

October 20, 2008

Sunday night is a time that a group of people from Lifepoint go out to a place in Macon on Cherry Street and 3rd called the Fountain. There is obviously a Fountain there – although it doesn’t work – and it is a time and place for a meal to be given to those who otherwise would likely go to bed hungry. The most incredible thing is that the relationships that have developed are little miracles happening throughout the week.

Previously I posted about Kamara, who is a part of the gathering at the Fountain. This Sunday I was unable to make it to the Fountain and, because he’s my friend, sent word to let Kamara know why I wasn’t there and that I was thinking about him. This kind of consideration is something that I take for granted, but it had a great impact on Kamara. He was blown away that I would be concerned about what he thought and me not showing up on Sunday night. Poverty is living without friendship. When Scripture says for us to love our neighbor as ourselves, it is giving us the opportunity to enrich those around us with the gift of friendship.

This need for friendship is why sites such as Facebook and MySpace are so popular. The currency of friendship never loses value and will withstand any economic crisis. Watch this video and understand that the gift of friendship is the most valuable commodity on the planet.

[this is a repost – the video had problems]

Practices of a Generous Heart

October 5, 2008

Today we moved beyond the identification of the Pillars of Generosity, to the practices that accompany a generous heart. A lot was said, but I want to hone into an idea. Generosity, by definition, has to do with giving. Giving of time, money, effort, kindness, empathy, creativity, wisdom, love – and the list could go on. In the discussion today we are talking from a Christian point of view, and more precisely from a Christ/Jesus point of view.

Now, regardless of your take on Biblical interpretation, when the main character, Jesus, does anything, generosity is an integral part of it. There is always more than the original gift (which can certainly be an odd choice): mud leads to restored sight; shame leads to freedom; a happy meal feeds thousands more than it should. The point is not the supernatural healing or multiplying – the point is the modeling of generosity that Jesus exemplifies.

Jesus is speaking volumes with his actions. We can discount mud and fish as cheap, but the essence is not the original supposed value of the items, it is what happens when ordinary items become part of a pattern of giving. When giving becomes a part of your life, your life will change.

I’ve made a point to not become political in my posts – there are much better analysts to discuss such things, but through this election season we have seen something that has largely gone unnoticed. Barack Obama, from the onset, decided to enlist the “average Joe” to contribute five or ten dollars at a time to the campaign. In those small amounts people began to feel that they were a part of something. I don’t have numbers, but I would be willing to guess that if you added up the total contribution of an average Obama supporter, you would find a much larger amount than if they had given just one time. Here is what I think is interesting. Throughout the campaign season a habit of giving has been engendered by the Obama campaign. This is not a small thing.

Think about this – the truth is that the Bible promotes the idea of giving (whether rich or poor), and also promotes the concept of blessing associated with giving. The election will come and go, and someone will be the next President, but the combined effect of hundreds of thousands of people giving (some out of their overflow and some out of their poverty) will be, if we believe the Bible, historical in terms of economic effect.

The practices of a generous heart are not a “Christian only” or “Jewish only” concept. The idea of generosity is waiting for anyone who will embrace the giving of themselves and their “stuff” for someone else. The result of such giving is simply amazing!