This summer I’ve found myself exploring the practice of generosity. How do we cultivate feeling generous and make it the default instead of scarcity. It’s way more interesting and joyful.

When does simple giving become generosity? Is it when you give more than you thought you had, or when someone truly feels an impact? It definitely isn’t when you feel regret, obligation, fear, or scarcity—these let us know we aren’t being generous. These might point to a need for more acceptance, boundaries, or detachment.

I feel generous when I’m able to give more than I think I can and it feels spacious and bright. It might be paying for someone’s meal, bringing Stacey Cakes to a meeting, finding a gift, giving someone the fresh garden cucumber I thought I was keeping, an hour of listening. It means paying attention and making an effort within my capacity.

For example. I discovered it was Lily’s birthday. I mulled over what to do with a busy day and short notice. I had an errand at May Hardware and ran by some sparkly pink candles. Snap. I hit the brakes again at the Barn Owl and snapped a gift certificate. It all felt joyful, in-the-moment, and heartfelt. Then best of all? Lily’s thank you note.

I have great examples of generosity and so do you. There’s an ethic at Mavens’ Haven that everyone gets fed and watered. If there’s an emergency, like a mudslide through your house, you get a bed too. I didn’t follow that guideline once, and will never forget my slip. Sometimes missing the point gets you the lesson.

I also want to know, if I give more X than I think I have, will more X arrive? This seems more like an ideal than a law. Because it doesn’t really work with time…or pumpkins. It can work with money, friendship, food, and other gifts of the spirit. If you’re wondering what that means, good. Keep wondering.

This is ongoing work for me. The generosity curriculum seems to ebb and flow in life currents—this month, I might have money to share; next month it might be food, or time. I do think there’s something important in paying attention to the opportunities. It means we’re vibrant, healthy, and connected.