Give Freely

See the start of the series here.

This one is kind of a struggle. I can always tell where I feel a lack, because that’s where I hoard. If I’m broke, I hoard money, if I’m pressured I hoard energy, if I’m under-appreciated, I hoard love.

The problem is that hoarding essentially kills what was useful there. If it’s hoarded, it rots. It has to be used, and used freely, not in metered doses.

As weird as it is, releasing whatever it is you don’t have enough of frees you from its thrall. So I try to notice when I’m hoarding. (Stifling might be a better word.) Teasing out what the hoarded material actually means to me is pretty useful, since there’s usually a better way to get it than what I’ve been doing. Asking for things, instead of just trying to arrange the entire universe to my liking. It kind of helps that I’m inclined to be generous, so when I’m not, there’s a slight alarm buzz in my brain.

The Phenomenon of Stuff

As I was packing to move over the last month, I noticed as I never have before the sheer psychic weight of ownership.

I was reminded of  JRR Tolkien’s poem “The Hoard,”

There was an old dragon under grey stone;
his red eyes blinked as he lay alone.
His joy was dead and his youth spent,
he was knobbed and wrinkled, and his limbs bent
in the long years to his gold chained;
in his heart’s furnace the fire waned.

The weight of ownership is taxing; as difficult to maintain as slavery or worship. That is not to say that my things don’t bring me joy; but they bring sorrow as well. They demonstrate security, but demand commitment.

I imagine my things as Lilliputian cords– they might not stop me, but they can slow me down.

I realized, as I packed, that I wanted to honour the gift that each of my things represented. I held onto many things that were given to me, not because the gift was esteemed, but because the person was. Some things I can’t even use anymore, like the beautiful hairclips from when I had masses of heavy, thick hair that had to be practically lashed into place.

I gave away two sets of silver earrings to my sister; unicorns. I have never worn them. I don’t have pierced ears. But they were beautiful, and had meaning to me. But I was fine with giving them to her, because she would love them too.

In a curious twist of fate, we wound up with a trailer smaller than we ordered and wound up leaving half our things behind. It’s been a week, and the only thing I miss is my desk. I love the spaciousness in our new place. I wonder how it would feel to give more things away? Not simply dropped off for donation, but given mindfully to someone who would adore it? I do have beautiful things– but these beautiful things have me, too.

In retrospect, I think this instruction needed punctuation:

Give. Freely.

Generosity is not the point. Freedom is. Stepping out of the gilded cage, no matter how beautifully furnished, and allow those lovely things to find their way to other hands. Honouring the gift, and the giver, ad infinitum.

Other posts in this series:

The Labours of Heracles

Engage Fully

Accept No Limitations

Give Freely

Breathe Deeply


2 thoughts on “Give Freely”

  1. Hullo love,

    I am totally loving this mini-series, as you know.

    Your take on this makes my brain & heart happy. Clunk is the sound of my understanding sinking to the next level. I especially appreciated this reminder: ‘Generosity is not the point. Freedom is.’

    My own recent experience with this is to do with belonging – noticing that as I meet the Babylove’s family & friends for the first time, I get tense with worry that they won’t like me, that I won’t get to belong, that they won’t do their best to help me feel welcomed. Of course, this lead to me being totally awkward and standoffish around people when I met them, which generally meant that they kept away from me, and some part of my brain took that as proof that I WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG! Sheesh, these are some unfriendly, unwelcoming people.


    When I realised what my sneaky, sneaky brain was doing (I know it’s only cuz you loves me, honey), I changed my plan-of-action to being as welcoming and comfortable-atmosphere-creating as I could be. Hoarding my friendliness out of fear that I wouldn’t receive the same = sucksville (it’s a small town on the south island, population sixty bazilllion). Giving freely of my friendliness = surely not – more friendliness!


    1. Hello, darling. As I was reading your comment, I was like, “I thought I took that part out?” I *totally* had had “this is similar to the old adage, to have friends, you have to be a friend, blah, blah, blah….” But then I figured the point was too tangential.

      But I’m so glad it resonated for you anyway!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *