Welcome to 99 – a journey
This, and each episode, is one step on a pilgrimage of sorts – into yourself.
Over the next 9 minutes or so, I invite you to slow down and invest in yourself.
Whether this feels like refuge, or an invitation, and whether you’re here for just this part – or the whole journey, know that you are an honored guest.
To get started, let’s take a minute to fully arrive. Here. Now.
I’m going to invite to take 2 breaths together with me so we can both settle into this experience.
From way down in your belly, let’s inhale for a count of 4, hold for 3, then exhale for 7. Ready?
Inhale 2 3 4
Hold 2 3
Exhale 2 3 4 5 6 7
Our theme is the Bestower, the Giver of Gifts, that lies within all of us.
I’m often drawn to this idea of gifts because they can be kind of complicated things. They might seem simple, but what makes a gift a gift? You need a person, something to give, and another person. The thing that makes gifts ….. gifts…. Is that they only exist in the relationships between us.
Have you heard the saying that humans are social creatures? It’s true, I think. Believe it or not, I’m pretty strongly introverted. At the end of a day full of people, I usually feel exhausted. The first thing I want to do is go home, shut the door, and turn off the world so I can recharge.
While I’ve learned to pay attention to my overwhelm and to take care of myself, I’ve also learned that too much isolation isn’t good either. A 2015 study from Brigham Young University documented that, essentially, Lonely people really do get sick more and die sooner from being lonely.
Back to the Bestower in you.
If you know me, you might know that I love this idea that we are like gems – with all of these polished facets. This facet of you is the one that is hard-wired to to be in relationship with others – to give and receive gifts
So let’s talk about these gifts, shall we?
Maybe you’re thinking: great… now I need to go spend a bunch of money I don’t have to buy gifts for people I don’t even like.
Whoa whoa whoa…
There’s nothing wrong with material gifts… but that’s not what I want to start from.
What about some other kinds?
Can you think of a time when you’ve felt a sense of gratitude? Maybe it was for something with wrapping paper and a bow…. But I’m betting that it’s more likely that you felt gratitude for a moment in time.
A kind word or act from somewhere completely unexpected.
News the doctor gave you.
The most amazing sunset you’ve ever seen.
When I get to the end of my own life, I’m pretty sure the gifts I remember most will be the ones that didn’t come wrapped in paper. (not that you should stop trying – I mean, if you WANT to change my mind I can give you my address).
But seriously, here’s something a little more challenging >>> Some of the most important gifts I’ve received didn’t feel like gifts. At least not at the time.
Some were things that happened to me that weren’t meant to be joyous or happy. Some were just random acts of chance or the divine that changed me – often painfully.
Here’s what one of my favorite writers:
C. Joybell C said,
“One of the best gifts you can give to someone, is a wider perspective. It’s also one of the best gifts you can receive. So if you have given someone a wider perspective, don’t feel bad about it (about taking their blindfolds off and having to watch them cringe in the newfound sunlight); I know it’s hard, but you’re doing them a lasting favor. And a wider perspective can be difficult for you yourself to accept, in the beginning (during the time that you squint while the sunlight stings your own eyes), but later you’ll find yourself coming back to it, even if you abandoned it as something worthless; you’ll look for it, one day. Or it will grow on you. Perspective.”
She said it better than I can: This is one key to the human experience, I think. We tap into the most profound and transformative message of all when we are able to find the gift in difficult situations. It doesn’t have to be a gift that we wanted.
Now I want to call out my own privilege here for a moment – I can NEVER decide for you gift there is in a situation – or if there is a gift. You can only find that for yourself.
As a conscious being, you have choice. You can choose bitterness and hate and anger…. And after what you’ve been through, who would blame you?
But what does the Bestower in you want? What gift can you give yourself and in so doing, inspire someone else?
Kindness? Patience? Care?
What if you lived every day knowing that you would give and receive at least one gift? What if the real mystery lay in simply discovering it?
May you realize that the challenge may be in stopping at just one.
Let’s end our time by taking 2 breaths together once again.
We’ll breathe in for 7, hold for 3, exhale for 4.
Inhale 2 3 4 5 6 7
Hold 2 3
Exhale 2 3 4
Inhale 2 3 4 5 6 7
Hold 2 3
Exhale 2 3 4
For more about 99, including how this is inspired by – but not part of – the amazing teachings of Islam, listen to our introduction episode or head to prolificate.com/99
Go out into the world in peace and have courage
Hold on to what is good.
Return to no person evil for evil.
Strengthen the fainthearted
Support the weak.
Help the suffering.
Honor all beings – including yourself.