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Give and Take

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Someday... we shall harness for God the energies of Love, then for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.

Yoda pokes Luke Skywalker with a stick and says, "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter."

I have learned that it is possible to be too generous. I have also learned that if I keep all the good stuff for myself, I have less and less, instead of more. What do I need to learn about being a "healthy" giver?

Entrée: The Secret of Abundance by Don Ginn       Back to top

Would you like to know the secret to creating a more abundant life within a matter of days or weeks? If you apply the dynamic principle within this article, and keep applying it day after day, you can gradually gain complete control over enriching the quality of your life, at any given moment.

Have you realized the power of each of your thoughts? How one thought can steal away the treasures of your life — and another can uncover them.

Many years ago I had a life changing experience with the awesome power of gratitude and appreciation. Within that experience I discovered this: when we live in the consciousness of appreciation, our life is appreciating in value. And when we live in the consciousness of depreciation, our life is depreciating in value. Each and every moment of our life is either becoming more abundant or less abundant, according to whether we’re in appreciation mode or depreciation mode.

Think about it—appreciation is a term often used in the banking and financial world. When an investment (such as a home or a stock) appreciates, it increases in value. The very same thing happens with our thoughts. When we fill our minds with thoughts of appreciation, our life increases in value—in that very moment.

Stop for a minute, if you will, and ask yourself this life-changing question. Are you an appreciator or a depreciator? Do you live in gratitude most of the time, or is your life filled with ingratitude? Consider this—ingratitude, even when it’s unconscious, undermines our life. It can also degrade the lives of those around us, often without us even knowing it.

So one of the greatest secrets to an abundant life is simply this—practice building a heart of gratitude a thousand levels deep!

Gratitude is also one of the secrets to creating beautiful, long lasting relationships. It’s the life giver and healer of every relationship. On the other hand, ingratitude is the beginning of the end of so many relationships.

Here’s what often happens—two people fall in love. Their love is fresh and alive. Their hearts are so full of gratitude and appreciation for each other.

It’s that stage of the relationship when love is blind. When we see only the good in the other person – the wonderful qualities this person expresses. At this stage the feeling of appreciation between these two people is strong, and perhaps even overwhelming at times. That’s because the attention is focused on the other person’s strengths, rather than the “shortcomings”. The focus is on the good! The window of gratitude is wide open at this point, and through it flows an abundance of love that continuously enriches the relationship.

Yet if we’re not careful, the more we get to know each other, the more we begin to take the other person for granted. Our focus shifts to the so-called “faults” of the other person. And our appreciation for that person becomes less and less.

After awhile the scales are tipped. We begin to focus more on what we project are the “shortcomings” of the other person, rather than all the good we used to see. Before long, criticism begins to take the place of appreciation. And at this point the depreciation mindset starts to set in.

Over time we lose that awesome sense of gratitude we once had during the early days of the relationship. Ingratitude now predominates. And the relationship continues to go downhill.

Remember this if you will—the more we find fault, criticize, take the person for granted and practice this ingratitude, the less we feel “in love” with this person, as we did in the beginning of the relationship. Without our realizing it, the relationship is beginning to wither. It’s in depreciation mode. It no longer blossoms. Many times this ends in a breakup, divorce, or an unhappy marriage.

The reason is simple—gratitude brings about an awakening of the heart to love. Deep feelings of gratitude between two people literally fill their relationship with love. In other words, gratitude actually opens the door for this spirit of love to enter. When you’re in a state of ingratitude, the door to this love is closed. Love is blocked from the relationship.

What many people don’t recognize is ingratitude puts a clamp on this flow of love. But gratitude will release the clamp. So to keep the bond strong in a relationship, you must maintain an atmosphere of gratitude and appreciation. There is no other way.

Remember this. Gratitude is the life giver of every relationship. It’s what keeps it fresh and vitalized. Ingratitude is the destroyer of many relationships. The fact is, many couples fall out of love, simply because they fall out of gratitude.

About the author:

Don Ginn is a professional success coach, business consultant, writer, keynote speaker and leader in the personal growth field. His coaching practice includes group tele-classes, corporate coaching, and one-on-one coaching sessions in person or by telephone.

With over 20 years experience in both business and personal growth fields, Don specializes in helping his coaching and consulting clients manifest their most cherished dreams and goals. You can e-mail him at Visit his website at for a FREE download of his new ebook "The Principle, It Carries The Power To Change Our Destiny".

Second Helping: A "Taker" Searches for Happiness by David Leonhardt        Back to top

"There are two kinds of people in the world: givers and takers. Takers might eat well, but givers sleep better at night." Aha!

Your humble scribe has had a tough time sleeping lately. I thought it might have something to do with the happiness of keeping pace with a tornado toddler and an almost bursting-at-the-seams, more-than-pregnant wife. Or the joy of fending back the weeds threatening to overrun the house and take over the kingdom in a bloody coup. Or the excitement of renovating an old room with crooked walls and a slanted floor to become a perfectly straight, modern nursery for our Beanie-Baby-to-be. Or the thrill of somehow trying to earn a few dollars to keep my ever-so-friendly and oh-so-understanding bank manager from gleefully slapping past-due stickers all over my front door.

Now I learn that my lack of sleep is from taking too much and not giving enough. So I set out to give as much as I could.

I decided to start by giving advice. "The blue would look better on you." "What?" my wife asked. "You never comment on what I'm wearing, at least not voluntarily." "It's my new sleeping therapy," I explained with excitement. "Givers sleep better than takers, so I just gave you some advice." "Well, while you're at it, is there anything else you want to comment on?"

I saw my chance to give a compliment. "Overall, you are really beautiful." "Why, thank you."

I was on a roll. I was really giving. This was my chance to give her my opinion. "Your hair is kind of ugly like that." "What?! You take that back!" "No, I can't," I protested. "That would make me a taker and I won't be able to sleep." "Then you can just take your silly opinions and get out of here." "No, I can't do that. I can't take ..." My sentence was cut short by the hard realization that my nose and a door could not occupy the same space at the same time.

I decided to call my mother. "Hi mom. I thought I would give you a quick call." "How sweet. You took the time to call your mother." "No. No. I didn't take anything," I protested. "Oh yes you did. You even took my advice to call more often. And you took account of your mother's happiness. And you took ... Hello? Hello?"

I just could not take any more. I scrambled out the door, the receiver still dangling from the table. I had to take off. No, that would just keep me from sleeping. I saw my neighbor. Surely I could give him a hand. "Sorry. Today I'm just relaxing." He studied the stress etched upon my face. "You look like you should take a break, too." "No, I can't take a break. Takers don't sleep well at night." "Well, at least you're taking a stand on something." "I am NOT taking a stand," I protested. I was beginning to feel like a career protester. "Take it easy, fellow."

Yikes! My neighbor was making me into a champion taker. I darted back toward my house.

"Take care," my neighbor called after me. "Noooooooooo" I screamed with my hands over my ears.

Crouched in the safety of my favorite closet, I tallied up the day. I gave advice, a compliment and my opinion. I took it back, my silly opinions, the time, my mother's advice and account of my mother's happiness, off, a break, a stand, it easy and care. I gave three times and took ten times.

No wonder I wasn't sleeping well at night. I was truly a taker. There was nothing left to do but to take a sleeping pill. That should give me at least five hours of sleep, give or take a few.

About the author:

David Leonhardt is The Happy Guy. To help you discover your personal way to happiness, sign up for the free Happy Class (delivered in nine easy lessons to your e-mail inbox). Discover the habits you can adopt to increase your personal happiness. Or pick up a copy of The Get Happy Workbook to help you create a personal action plan for happiness as individual as you are. visit his website: Finding Happiness and Self-actualization.

Soup to Nuts: From the Feedback Button       Back to top

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The Whine List: Chehalem Winery 2002 Reserve Oregon Dry Riesling       Back to top

Enjoy the Sports Whine of the Week with a great Dry Riesling. If you haven’t had a good Oregon Riesling, believe me, you’re really missing something. This 2002 vintage shows just how profound a low-yielding dry Oregon Riesling can be. As in Alsace, the model for this thickly textured, crisp and intense wine will do nothing but improve for upward of a decade longer. This wine has an apricot note found in so many fine Rieslings, well worth its $19.95 price. Order this wine online right here!

Main Course: The Wisdom of a Generous Spirit        Back to top

I was talking with someone recently about what boundaries are. I agreed with the idea that they are not walls, nor are they doors, which can be left open unintentionally, or walked through by the uninvited. They should be more like windows, so that others can see in but not necessarily trespass or cross the boundary, and that I might see out as well.

One of the boundaries I wrote about recently was learning to say "no." One of the best times to say "no" is when I feel I am being manipulated or used in some way. I think of myself as a fairly nice guy, and I would like to think that I have a generous spirit. At the same time, I know that I can be taken advantage of under certain circumstances, especially by those that I have a close relationship with, those I love dearly.

Part of taking care of myself is being able to know when it is best for me to back off from giving, and just take stock of what it is I have to give, and what is being asked of me. That is a normal part of recovery and mental health. This kind-of "abundance inventory" has led to a surprising discovery.

It seems the more I have that I want to keep, the less I end up having. (Read that sentence again... it is supposed to make some sense). My Interpretation of this Lesson: If I want more, I have to give away what I have. Not just because I might need to make room for new blessings in my life, but because giving pays dividends in what the Universe returns to me. So, give 'til it hurts? No. But what I most want to keep is what I should probably consider giving away. All that I have and keep does me no good when I have passed from this world.

Sometimes - not all the time, certainly - but occasionally, it is just fine to loosen up a bit and give someone what they want, and by that I mean not just giving what I would like to receive, but determining if what I am being asked for is something I can give, or perhaps exceeding what was asked. I should never overextend myself, and I should always carefully consider my commitments, but it is just as important to know when to say "yes" as it is to know when to say "no." Why? Because, when I have learned the value of that lesson, I can truly mean it when I say "yes."

When I can say "yes" and mean it, I can be truly grateful for the opportunity to give, because I know I have the resources, and the wise Spirit within reminds me, "Remember why you have this abundance in the first place." I depend upon that wisdom of the Spirit to help me to know when and how to give to others, and to myself.

I am thankful for the generosity I've been shown. I am grateful to be able to reflect that in my life, at the right time, and in healthy ways. Generosity is a value we practice. Non-attachment to what we have is a gift we learn to give ourselves.

Michael Rawls, Friday's Inspiration © 2003

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