Give to Live (Lent Post #1)


So I’ve made this commitment to write something every day of lent as part of my “Give Something, Don’t Sacrifice, for Lent” thought.  Rather than sacrifice, say, ketchup for lent, I decided to share my ketchup with you as a way that I’ve decided to celebrate lent. Yet, I used to be Catholic, so perhaps this is one way to assuage my conditioned guilt complex while, at the same time, not give in to it completely.  Actually, it truly seems to me to be just something that lets me honor the tradition of lent while doing so in my unique (but not completely different) relationship with the Universe (what some of us call “God”).  Maybe the parts of me that want to attract the positive have decided that sacrifice and rejection only breeds suffering and more rejection whereas the embracing attracts the very things we are searching for.  In the immortal words of Sammy Hagar in the song “Give to Live”:

If you want love you’ve got to give a little
If you want faith you just believe a little
If you want peace turn your cheek a little
Oh, you’ve got to give, you’ve got to give, you’ve got to give to live

And let’s not forget that you will always get what you ask for.  So, if I want you to laugh at me, I have to be first willing to laugh at myself.  If I want you to love me, I first need to love myself.  The beautiful art of giving is not about rejection or sacrifice, it is first about being willing to accept it all.  You can’t give what you don’t have, so you first must gain the very thing you want to give and that only happens when you are willing to ask for it, accept it and, yes, expect it.  I can’t feed the hungry if I have no food, and I can’t love you deeply and passionately if I have no love within me.

So the idea of sacrificing something as a method of honoring Love, God, Universe, Being (whatever you want to call It) seems silly in my unique (but not completely different) relationship with It.  I need to EMBRACE and ACCEPT things even if my non-attachment to those things means I can easily give them away.  The idea is to not focus on the “sacrifice” but on the acceptance.  Don’t “sacrifice” chocolate for lent, instead readily accept it but then give it away.

Therefore, I decided to not “sacrifice” writing for lent but to readily accept each and every moment of inspiration and then give it away.  I know, that is not something unusual for me, but it is evidence of the beautiful dynamic between the acceptance and the sharing, of the getting and the giving, that makes the gift and the giver One.  In order for the Universe to bestow Her wonderful gifts on us all we must not only be expectant of such gifts but must also be completely willing to accept them all. I must be willing to expect these moments of inspiration.  I must then be willing to accept them.  Then I must be willing to not have them flow to me, but through me.  I can take what I need and then let the rest go to those who can use it.

Maybe that is what the season of lent should be about.  Maybe it should be about not sacrificing anything but rather about practicing the letting go of attachments we have to things we don’t need.  Maybe it should be about the flowing through, not to.  Abundance should not stop with me, it should come to me with whatever I don’t need making its way to others who do have a need. Well, I am wondering what would happen if 4 billion people all did this type of practice.  Stop sacrificing things as if having them is some kind of negative to begin with.  Instead, accept those things and then give away what you don’t need. Hhhhhhmmmmmm, that sounds like an idea Jesus himself could certainly get behind.  At least the Jesus I know.


photo by: Mark Gstohl