There is a Native American teaching that reflects trust and gratitude in a pronounced yet simple way. It is called The GiveAway. I came to learn about this teaching when I stumbled by divine accident into this particular path to Spirit over 20 years ago, and began my journey from apprentice to Sundancer with a Shoshone-Bannock Elder many years later. This path to Spirit is often referred to as Walking the Red Road.
The teaching of the GiveAway is as simple as the name implies. Each of us has a gift that is inherent within us that is meant to be shared with others. The act of giving that gift away will change our lives in ways both subtle and profound. Finding that gift requires Trust, and Giving that gift inspires Gratitude as we see our lives fill with meaning, a sense of belonging, and an inner contentment that transcends whatever circumstances we may find ourselves confronting at any point in our lives.
I am have a specific example of the GiveAway to share. In the process of recovery from addiction that I have lived now for over two decades, I was taught I had to “give it away to keep it”. This meant that I needed to take whatever I had accumulated in the experience of living sober- and hopefully sane- and pass it along to anyone expressing a sincere desire to live free of their addictions as well. As I began to do this I not only became more secure in my experience of recovery, but I began to grow a true sense of usefulness derived from participating in the recovery and healing of others. This simple act of giving what I had been given formed the basis of a Spiritual design for living.
This design soon began to extend far beyond the confines of the recovery world. It is critical that it must, because the world of spiritual healing and growth has to be more than “Situational Spirituality”, it has to be practical and meaningful in all areas of life to be truly useful.
Simply put, the underlying shift in my relationship to the world around me became this: Instead of “what’s in it FOR me?”, my life became focused on “what’s in it FROM me?”
This change requires Trust. A Trust in the divine abundance of Creation that in the Giving Away of my talents, my compassion, my hope, my authenticity, I will find my needs met and my heart filled. This runs contrary to the constant drumbeat around us all to acquire, possess and control. Yet as I practice the GiveAway of whatever I have to offer to the moment, or the day, or the project- whatever the outcome- I experience the Gratitude that comes with the freedom of release from the chronic worry of “getting my share”. This has been replaced with the inner contentment of knowing I have contributed something to the day, and I find invariably that my material as well as my emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs are met.
I have found that people are drawn to those who have a sincere desire to be useful and contribute. In this usefulness, this giving away of the resources of Spirit that I have been given, so much opportunity for fulfillment appears.
So, what will be your “give-away”? It can be simple, there is no mandate as to the scale of the giving. You can start with a kind word, an act of patience, a favor for a friend or a stranger. As you walk down the road of the GiveAway, you will find your life filling with meaning and a freedom that you will not only come to trust, you will also be so grateful to be experiencing as you connect to the world around you and see your usefulness and value reflected in the moments you contribute to. As you practice your GiveAway, you will find those things that are most sacred to you rising within your Spirit to be expressed, and live in the true purpose of what you came to this Life with to share.
There is another teaching from the Red Road I will leave you with. It is taught that when we find ourselves in perfect balance between our emotions and our intellect, between our physical and spiritual selves, we are at that moment in a place of Beauty. With that teaching in mind, my GiveAway to you is the following blessing:
As you live your GiveAway, in Trust and in Gratitude, may you always Walk In Beauty.