*Nic note: So sorry that I missed posting yesterday! I was out all day (!!) and when I got home went right to bed. I did wake up in the middle of the night in a slight panic and say, “Shoot! I didn’t write my blog!” out loud into the darkness, so don’t worry, I didn’t forget about you, Chronic Readers.
Giving, giving, giving.
Receiving, receiving, receiving.
Giving, giving, giving, just a little bit more.
Don’t you just love this time of year, Chronic Reader?
I am older and wiser now, so the giving part and the receiving part are more equally balanced in terms of being my favorite. It really is so fun to get (or in my case, make!) people gifts that they will enjoy.
While I’m in the giving mood, I also like to take some time to figure out if there’s anyone else, outside my usual circle, to whom I can gift something to this season.
For example, there are numerous coat drives going on, so I will be taking a hard look at our front hall coat closet this afternoon.
Also, canned food drives tend to be abundant at this time of year. It doesn’t take much to pick up a few extra cans of Campbell’s at the grocery store, and even just this small action has the potential to help someone out.
I don’t remember where I heard it, but I’ve always loved this statement:
You must give the thing you think you cannot afford to lose.
Sometimes, we may find ourselves holding too tightly to <whatever>, thinking that we need to hoard it in order to keep ourselves from lack. What I have found is that if you loosen your grip just a smidge, you might find that you not only have some <whatever> to spare, you may also have some <whatever> to share.
This is something that’s been hard for me to learn in general (#GrownUp) but especially as a Chronic. For ease of explanation, let’s use the Spoon Theory, in which a “spoon” stands for a certain amount of energy. (Full Spoon Theory here: http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/) I tend to want all those spoons for myself. It’s easy to want that. When I have energy, it’s pretty natural to think that I would spend it on the things I need it for.
If I take a little bit of energy (say, a teaspoon, haha, #SpooniePun) and use it to help out my sister when she needs it, if I share that spoon, I may come to find that it is not wasted or better used elsewhere. My sister has been helped, so she feels cared for; I have been helpful, so I feel useful. Win-win! Plus, bonus points, if I help her this time, she will remember it and may be more inclined to help me if I need it next time.
Same goes for using a spoon to help out your specific chronic-illness organization. Can you share articles or postings from their Facebook page to help spread awareness? Can you stuff envelopes or email your contacts to ask for donations? You may not think you have the energy to spare, but you may be surprised by the energizing feeling you get from being a part of something. Plus, you’ve done your part to keep the organization going, which means that good karma will come around to help you out in the future!
There are so many ways that you can give, and not just at the end of the year. For inspiration, check out the incredible book, 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life by Cami Walker.
Walker was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at age 33, and to combat the deep sadness that followed, at the recommendation of a friend and natural healer, she gave something away every day for a month. This helped her to see that while she felt that something had been “taken away” from her by her illness, she was in no way lacking. She still had the ability to give out to the world. Love, love, love this book!
I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday! I would love to hear about what you’ve given this holiday season- what was your favorite present to give? Do you make any annual donations? Let me know here or over on my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/iamchronicallywell
If you are looking for a great organization to give to this season, might I suggest the following? These are all very special organizations to me:
Dysautonomia International, DYNA Inc., The Wounded Warrior Project, ASPCA, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, Reach Out and Read