Archive for the 'giving' Category

09
Feb
14

help, please?

help, pleaseIs it possible to share one’s needs without expecting them to be met?

It is such a tricky business finding the balance between proactively taking care of your own needs while meeting the needs of others.  Does one have to come before the other?  Can we help others before helping ourselves?  Don’t many religions tell us that we ought to put others first?  But how do we give from a source that has not been given to?  Or should we always be looking to others to fill that need?

I want and need to share my burdens with others; it is part of how I cope and deal with my feelings.  Others do things to avoid their feelings and that’s how they deal with them.  But when you are both dealing with the same feelings and they take all of your energy just to deal with it on your own, how do you reach out and help the other when there’s nothing much left to give?

Communication is always a key factor in relationships.  One cannot refute its importance and the fact that it is healthy to share one’s thoughts, emotions and plans.  But is timing everything when it comes to communication?  And what if there never seems to be a “good” time?  How do we control or manage our emotions when they cannot or should not be repressed?

Many times I’ve spilled my guts and it took away the joy of another.  I know I can’t help my feelings, but I can choose when to share them – or can I?  So when that happens, guilt and shame creep in, sending me messages like: “see, you shouldn’t share your feelings, it only makes others feel bad” or “you need to just learn to deal with things on your own and not need anyone.”  This is dangerous self-talk, I recognize that.  But when this tends to be a reoccurring pattern, one can’t help but question themselves and if they are having false expectations and unhealthy forms of expression.

All I know is that we cannot be responsible for the feelings of others or their responses to our feelings.  But when you feel that you are the cause of negative responses and feelings, you can’t help but have pangs of regret.  There is nothing weak or wrong with needing the support of others.  It’s just how we communicate it.  Any suggestions?

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16
Jan
14

armchair activism

Ever encounter fiction that reflected real life but the real life seemed less fathomable than the fiction?

Today I began a huge endeavor of bringing to life a scene from one of the most compelling pieces of fiction in theatre:  the play by Lynn Nottage called Ruined.  This play depicts the story of men and women struggling for survival in the Congo.  The author hones in on the women of the play and how they are stripped of their identity just like the land being stripped around them.

Though this is a piece of fiction, the stories of these women echo true in todays’ society.  The war and atrocities associated with the plight of these characters is happening, now.  And that is the goal of the author, to not only bring awareness by giving these women a voice, but to move us to action.  I can only hope that I can direct this scene in such a way which will also inspire those who see it to reach out and make a difference.

armchair activistIt’s so easy to become an armchair activist.  We can sit from on high and look down on all the problems that need addressing in the world.  But when it comes to rising and taking part in the efforts to change or bring relief to those in need, we feel weak and helpless, sitting back in our comfortable, safe and distant seats away from the stage.

Sometimes we just don’t fully understand the complete conflict.  Other times we don’t want to know.  But if we don’t know then how do we discover how to help?  How do we truly find the root of the issue?  And how do we address the immediate consequences of the problems?  It’s easy to throw money at a cause, but where does that money go?  And would your investment be better spent if instead of giving money you give time or training or awareness or education or other donations?

The world is a big place but we are not alone in it.  I find it difficult to listen to the news because of all the pain and difficulty.  But I realize more and more that I have a part to play.  And sharing the message of Ruined with others is one way of getting off the couch.

Here are some links about the war in the Congo:

http://www.warchild.org.uk/issues/conflict-in-democratic-republic-of-congo?gclid=CPP6oaHv57sCFUsV7Aod7h8APg

http://www.warchild.org.uk/issues/sexual-violence-in-congo

 

23
Dec
13

ham or humanity?

ham or humanityEver get a gift that you just didn’t understand?  Introducing, the holiday ham gift certificate.

I have heard of and have received many crazy Christmas gifts from the various jobs I have held, but the holiday ham takes the cake.  What topped it off, was that the previous year a highly expensive computer related gift was given which threw everyone off this year when they received a $50 gift certificate for a ham.

So not only does one have to get $50 worth of meat (not even of your choosing – and who eats $50 worth of ham?), but you also have to travel somewhere to go pick it up!  Then there is the other extremely obvious considerations which were not so obvious for those who proposed to give the gift – what if one does not eat meat, like meat or is Jewish?

It makes one question what giving is really all about.  Is it the thought that counts or that the gift shows thought?  Anyone can give someone a gift certificate for meat, but what about something that shows that they thought of you or the group/family specifically?  Many give gifts which they themselves would like to receive.  It takes work to get to know someone so I guess it’s easier to just get a generic ham certificate than invest the time and energy into relationship building.  But what is more valuable – the $50 ham certificate or the gift of yourself?

Perhaps it’s time we rethink what the season of giving is all about – ham or humanity?