My husband and I are the kind of people who will help out anyone who asks us. It may not be something we particularly want to do, whatever is being asked like helping someone move, but we will generally make the time to help if we can. It is the neighborly thing to do for one but it is also just who we are as people. I always feel quite humbled when someone thinks I’m able to help them. It rather feels good that someone thought of me as being the person who was ideal to help them. I guess it could be that they just didn’t have anyone else to ask but I prefer to think it’s because they knew they could count on me instead.
As we approach the time of year where our time becomes even more requested and mixed with extra things we can spend time on, I find myself considering what it really means to share of our time. It usually always is much more than just giving of our time to something isn’t it? We get involved in things, sometimes rather deeply, and from that it changes how we use that time. Even if the time is spent reading with our children it is still those moments where we are giving of ourselves in ways so much bigger than the time we are spending doing that thing. It is the connection of the experience, the memories it creates and the imprint it leaves that makes where we spend our time that much more special.
I feel like I don’t always give my time fairly in the choices I have. Not that I waste time because I usually don’t have much to actually waste but rather I look for those large meaningful ways to share what I do have. It is like finding the biggest thing I can do to make the best impact and hit multiple things through that one way. In looking at that though I’m not sure that really is the best strategy for sharing my time. In doing that, I miss the little things that actually mean more to me for one thing. I get wrapped up in the big things thinking that is really moving the needle on a cause to the good and in reality it is often those smaller things we do that have more impact to those who need it the most. All of that is to say, I think it means more and has a bigger impact when I look to the smaller ways I can share my time and energy.
When I spend the time on the smaller things I actually seem to get more out of it as well. It certainly is good to know you are doing good for others and helping where you can regardless of the size of the effort but when I get to spend time one on one with someone it seems so much more direct to me. It is easy to just write a check and give on a large scale but when you actually invest in that time to give your energy, attention and effort and can see the impact it has firsthand that is truly special. Again, this could be the simple act of making cookies with the family or coaching a small town child sports team. There are multiple ways a little bit of our time an be used in these situations.
In doing this, I find my own energy is called to do more too. I want to invest more of my time because it touched me in that experience. I connected with others, felt part of something and could see the result of our work. That to me is the best way to let sharing your time come alive. Sometimes it is the smallest thing we can do and doesn’t take long at all but the experience of it sticks with us long afterwards. It feels good to do big things too, but there is just something truly special about those small ways that just get to me deeply.
It is not always easy to find the time but I have always find it worth it to make that time available where I can. Not only because it is the right thing to do but because it changes my own outlook on things in the process. It reconnects me to myself and my nature after being wrapped tightly in the bonds of obligations and chores that normally drive my days start to finish. I feel renewed in who I really am and what interests me in the people I care about and things happening around me. Not that giving of myself is about me at all but the enrichment I too gain from doing so helps my soul emerge and feel lifted.
What I have to remind myself is in the end it really isn’t that much time at all. In fact, it probably isn’t enough and I should do it more often. That’s usually how I feel after and I make a promise to do so. Life doesn’t get in the way though and I constantly face that push and pull balance to find those openings for giving of myself to something important. Too often I believe we pass on those chances because we think we can’t help or do something but in truth that usually isn’t true. There is always something we can give of ourselves to connect, enrich, lift up, be with, and hold close to our hearts.
The other thing that strikes me odd about this situation is why so often we wait until the year end to share the most of our time. Since it feels good anytime we can do it, I have started to try to do more of it regularly throughout the year. Volunteering for something in the community, helping a neighbor, spending time with my son doing something he loves, it doesn’t matter big or small just saying yes more than I say no. Or thinking I’ll get to it later. Often that has led me to waiting until the year end when I remember I should do all those things that require my time and then find my schedule overwhelming with them.
The real gift of sharing our time is two-fold. It is certainly a help and encouragement to others done in love and friendship that can mean the world to the recipient. It is also however, the unlocking of our own nature and freeing of our soul that is able to be felt most in these experiences. Sometimes we need that reminder of who we really are and what matters most in this life. I recommend regularly tapping into it because it can blossom into truly something that grows wildly through our life.
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