Generosity brightens the world and inspires generosity that spreads,
blessing others and ourselves.
Welcome back to our Co-Creative Mandalas blog!
Each month, we share insights, inspiration, and all the ways the cycles of the Great Mandala uplift and support you. We draw upon the metaphors and messages of each season to explore and celebrate our individual and collective journeys toward Freedom.
The Co-Creative Mandalas have a name that represents something about the natural world and the energy in the universe at this current time.
This month's mandala is Generosity
Greetings and happy summer,
We’re more than halfway through the year already!
In the northern hemisphere, it's the season that brings to mind expansion and so many sensory delights! The invitation for summer is one of generosity which unfolds in the stages of rapid growth, ripening, glowing sunlight, and remembering the goodness in our lives.
Summer sunshine and brilliant blue skies are the order of the day as I look out my window. I write about nature a lot because I find peace and clarity in the outdoors, in the garden, or walking in our neighborhood. Being in nature helps me remember the qualities that support freedom, including generosity. Mother Nature has taught me to pay attention, to expect magic, to see generosity, and to trust life even when the world feels unsettling and unsafe.
In the height of summertime's heat, I appreciate Nature's generosity all around me--blooming Jupiter's beard, blue Scabiosa, red and yellow finches perched on flower stems, vibrant purple, blue, iridescent larkspur, and cheerful sunflowers turning their heads toward the sun. The abundance of reseeded cilantro finds its way to garnish and flavor our evening meals. I often drift outdoors at dusk to refresh and ground myself in the cool evening air, feeling the soft grass on the bottoms of my feet. Crickets (the good kind) sing as the shadows deepen. The coolness soothes the body and uplifts my spirits.
There is so much to learn from the natural world about how to live a life based on relationships, abundance, and generosity.
Nature is a university filled with simple wisdom about what it takes to live well. I'm thankful for the lessons nature teaches me about generosity.
Nature is not matter only. She is also spirit.
- Carl Jung
How generous Nature is! For example, the sun. The entire energy of the earth runs on one billionth (!) of the energy the sun emits every day.
Sufi mystic Hafiz, from The Gift, in the fourteenth century caught the deep meaning of this when he wrote:
Even after all this time
The sun never says to the earth,
“You owe me.”
Look what happens
With a love like that,
It lights up the whole sky.
The idea that nature, with out any obligation, takes care of herself is delightful to consider. I find it rare that anyone does something without asking (or silently expecting) for anything in return. Yet every day, nature's generosity works in harmony, without any sense of debts owed or ownership.
How do we find that balance of giving freely, without expectation? As, always, nature can be our guide and our teacher.
What do watching the sun rise, standing on the north rim of the Grand Canyon, seeing a sunset over the ocean, or gazing at distant stars have in common?
Those experiences inspire awe. And, awe can lead to acts of generosity.
Adam Hoffman sites a 2015 study from UC Berkeley and UC Irvine in his article for Greater Good Magazine which suggests that a feeling of awe in nature prompts us to be more generous toward other humans.
They can awaken a deep appreciation for the world around us and inspire a profound sense of awe. This sensation is often accompanied by an awareness of something larger than ourselves—that we play a small part in an intricate cosmic dance that is life.
To fully experience interconnectedness, though, we have to open ourselves to it and also answer with a generous response.
Nature is filled with reciprocal relationships. Humans also have this ability to form reciprocal relationships throughout life by sharing our gifts. We can’t access the abundance of resources available to us if we close ourselves off from generosity toward others.
Nothing in nature lives for itself. The anonymous poem below captures another wonderful reminder about how nature is designed as an interdependent and giving system:
Nothing in Nature lives for itself.
Rivers don’t drink their own water.
Trees don’t eat their own fruits.
The sun doesn’t shine for itself.
A flower’s fragrance is not for itself.
Living for each other is Nature’s rule.
What if this reminder of our fundamental interdependence with each other and with nature was something we lived by every day? It might change the default towards self-interest. It could help us to be less scared of scarcity if we take cues from nature and remember she is designed to support and nourish all of her parts.
We have choices about how we live our lives. We can live a life rooted in fear, hoarding our assets with defensiveness until we die. Or we can live a life grounded in love, where we find security and enough-ness through the generosity of relationships with others and with nature.
Scientific studies show generosity is an ally to our health and can be like "connective tissue" in relationships where honest, loving generosity thrives.
Our communities thrive when we give freely and abundantly.
The notion of Generosity rings so true of the work and message many of us are sharing with the world today. A world of compassion, oneness, understanding and peace. And, Freedom. This concept that has been taught for millennia is always here for us to embrace.
Generosity sounds so simple, yet it's profound. This possibility reminds us of our compassionate heart, through all the ways generosity is expressed--time and talent, donations, and acts of loving kindness.
A cheerful greeting, a pleasant smile, holding a door open for someone-these simple gestures are ways people respond to one another that can brighten everyone’s day. Even one person’s generosity inspires harmony among everyone in a group.
Even walking in a new neighborhood, receiving the simple generosity of a smile from a fellow walker. Allowing myself to feel the message - ‘I welcome your presence here.’
A colleague shared a story of how they recently entered a crowded space, filled with strangers who were eating at long tables with benches. Someone noticed their arrival and scrunched over to make room for them.
Simple Generosity. So normal, so sweet, so extraordinary. Such a statement of welcoming and acceptance. Being offered a seat at the table. Without having to effort for it, without having to prove anything to anyone to get it. Just simple generosity. Isn’t this what we long for?
This Co-Creative Mandala--"Generosity"--is from a photo of sunflower (symbolizes uplifting energy) and larkspur (symbolizes Divine guidance). This mandala is associated with the solar plexus, heart, third eye, and crown chakras. It reminds us that our generosity is as boundless as the sun's energy. It guides us toward taking delight in giving for the sheer privilege of giving, sending hope with each gift shared. There is no limit to the ways in which you can express generosity.
Even the smallest acts of generosity cast a pebble of love into the pool of our shared life, and the ripples spread to shores unseen by me.