2. Practice Generosity
My friend Chris Corrigan is one of the best examples I know of of a person who practices this kind of generosity. Practices. Does it repeatedly. Such that it becomes a natural way of being. Yes, Chris sometimes offers resources. But here I’m talking more about offering skill, perspective, talent. Kindness. Offering things he is good at or that he loves to do. I’ve worked with Chris in many settings when we have been leading multi-day workshops together. Chris comes with teachings and with process design. We both do. And the others we work with. That is our job. But Chris has taught me something more as I’ve watched him over the years. He offers himself to the group. Generously. Quite fully.
When night time rolls around, the introverted side of me is usually ready for quiet or private space. I need it. Chris, on the other hand, is rather extroverted. I’ve seen him sing songs with participants deep into the night. Heplays his guitar. Sometimes his Irish flute. He sings songs. Asks people what they like to sing. Shares the guitar. It is awesome to be a part of. It took me a while to realize that it wasn’t just about the fun or the extroversion of it. I began to see Chris as practicing generosity. He was bringing something to the group that he loved, that he could do, and that he could invite others too.
Adult passage is served well by adopting this practice. If it were a potluck meal, practicing generosity is the shift from just eating what others bring, to bringing some food to the party. And, perhaps, not just any food, but a special recipe. Grandma’s famous recipe for potato salad, prepared in beautiful dish.
Back to my daughter. I watched her feel initially quiet with the people in Greece that we ate many of our meals with. There were ten of us together around my friends outdoor kitchentable on the Pelion Pennisula. I could see my daughter wondering who these people were and what they were about. Feeling shy. Feeling her uncertainty or insecurity of being in a new country, her first outside of North America, and with these people from five different European countries. I would have been shy also at that age. Still am a bit. I loved watching her open during the week. From reserved to becoming a more natural part of the group. Offering to do dishes. To help cook. To tell stories.
It can be family. It can be a circle of friends. It can be neighborhood, municipality, nation, global community, or circle of life. Offering is an essential practice that bonds us as adults in all of them.
Bring a dish.
Tenneson Woolf is a TAO Blogger and facilitator, workshop leader, speaker, and writer. He works globally. He designs and lead meetings in participative formats. To help people be smart together. To get people interacting with each other — learning together, building relationships, and focused on projects. To get deeper to the heart of what matters. From strategic visioning with boards to large conference design. Living systems, self-organization, and emergence inspire his work. He resides in Lindon, Utah.
Tennenson can be found at Tenneson Woolf in both Twitter and Facebook.