The Forty-Days-Forty-Gifts project is complete for now! Many people in our Spiritual Center participated and had great insights on how the process changed them. I wanted to write about it. But sometimes I get tired the sound of my voice. Enter Jennifer Merlich, a talented writer and congregant. She gave me permission to guest post a a piece from her blog, Please enjoy her eloquent understanding of the Forty Gifts process. With love to all! – Bonnie
I was recently the recipient of an incredible act of anonymous kindness. It came from out of nowhere, at exactly the right time. The magnitude of the gift moved me to tears, and I was so grateful and profoundly moved by the generosity of my unknown benefactor. But I was also sure there had been a mistake. In the midst of this beautiful act, I am ashamed to admit that I was momentarily overcome by feelings of unworthiness. I simply couldn’t believe I was deserving of such radical kindness. Had I been face to face with my benefactor, I would have given them 100 reasons why they “shouldn’t have”, attempting to convince them that they were wrong about me—that their generosity was misdirected. Fortunately, I quickly realized that to focus on my feelings of unworthiness would be to dishonor the gift and the beautiful spirit in which it was so lovingly given.
Have you hugged your banker today? I didn’t literally hug mine, but I did tell him that I loved him (in so many words).
Many of you know we’re doing a program in our Center. I’ve invited our congregation to give 40 gifts in 40 days. Through this practice, we challenge notions of scarcity and recognize we always have something to give. I’ve asked people to give past their comfort zones; for as we give beyond our comfort level, we reveal ways we limit our experience of Infinite Good.
I discovered after about 20 gifts, I was getting pretty good at releasing objects and money…. I went deeper and asked God how I could stretch in the practice. God summoned me to look at my relationships….
”Uh-oh,” I said.
Once again, I did not want to follow God’s instructions.
It started a couple of weeks ago. It was time to consider how to create a good, prosperous year for myself and our Center. “Raise your IQ (inspiration quotient),” I said to myself. “Attend lots of seminars with great spiritual teachers. Travel. You need to stay inspired.”
Then God whispered.
“Bonnie – Don’t spend time and money on seminars. Make a radical change. Stay close to home and give something away every day. That will transform you more than any inspirational workshop.”
“Who do you think I am God, Warren Buffett? How can I give something away every day? It’s too much. I’ll wind up living in a box by the freeway, eating cat food for supper. Plus, giving requires a certain level of intimacy and connection. I’m not sure I’m ready…”
Such is the mind of the objection-able ego, so determined to keep us stuck in old patterns.
God wasn’t asking me to go live in a box and dine on Purina. God was inviting me to challenge ancient patterns of scarcity.