Generously - The Wise Woman Way
an article by Susun S. Weed
generously is a theme that plays loudly in many
women's lives. As women, our social conditioning
- and often the impulse of our hearts - is to live
generously by giving generously. And we give the
one thing we have assured access to: ourselves.
Generosity flows though us and through our lives.
We give to friends, mates, children, community,
even needy strangers. Many women live generously
by literally giving themselves away. But don't we
need to be generous to ourselves as well to say
that we are truly living generously?
OK! Suppose we do take time for ourselves, indulge
ourselves with special foods, buy new clothes for
ourselves, treat ourselves to a massage or a weekend
at the spa. Is this enough to say we are living
Several of my most important teachers, after knowing
me for a while, told me that I was not generous.
Since I make it a point to surround myself, and
all those within my sphere, with abundance, this
comment really took me aback. "What,"
I demanded of my mentor Jean Houston, "do you
mean?" "I mean you reserve yourself; you
hold back. You have much more you could share, much
more you can do."
To live generously, as she saw it, is to impart
as much of yourself as you can to everything you
do. To throw yourself into it. Another teacher told
me to "Jump into the volcano. Jump into the
glacial lake. Otherwise you will just be a lukewarm
drink." I have done my best to embody these
teachings, to remember that living generously means
living every second to its fullest. It means being
generous with my real self, being generous with
all my feelings (distress as well as love, despair
as well as delight), generous with my land (I own
55 acres of forested Catskill beauty), generous
with my teachings (for almost forty years).
It has always been important to me that no one is
denied access to my teaching for lack of money.
But I discovered quite quickly that giving away
my teaching was not fair to me or to my students.
It devalues my worth. It devalues the worth of my
teaching. And it devalues the student's worth and
lowers their self-esteem.
In Germany, a woman wanted to attend my workshop.
She couldn't pay, she said, for she lived off her
own land and had no money. I asked her to give me
something as valuable as my teaching would be to
her. She insisted she had nothing. I insisted back
that everyone has something of value if they look
for it. She did attend the workshop, arriving with
a hand-made basket filled with her own preserves,
honey from her bees, fresh produce, and a hand-knit
sweater. Her generosity strengthened her and left
her ready to receive. She created a space in herself.
She shook off the shame that told her she had nothing.
She became free to take abundantly from what I offered.
In this case, for me, living generously meant not
giving, but demanding that my energy be met and
Barter doesn't always work out so well, though.
In lieu of payment in money, I am often asked to
accept work that is unskillful and crafts that are
useless to me. How can I live generously in this
situation? How can I elicit, how can I support,
abundance and generosity in my students?
Not by taking from my plenty to make up for their
lack, but by eliciting and support their own worth.
Not by making it easy for them, but by making it
hard. Scholarship students pay half their fees in
work on my homestead. I offer work/learn days at
no monetary cost. Those with a thirst for knowledge
thrive when given work and accept corrections with
a smile. Those who won't make use of my teaching
shirk their tasks, feel abused when corrected, and
generally give up and leave - often cursing me.
Thus, living generously leaves room for those who
are warmed by my fire and nourished by my words
and actions to draw near and drink deeply, while
propelling those who feel "burned" by
my passion out of my life. More joy for all!
Living generously comes from my excess, not from
my source. A Mexican midwife admonished me to: "Give
your flowers. Give your leaves. Give your stalk.
Even give your seeds. But never, never, give away
your roots." So I choose to live generously,
to live passionately. The earth is filled with green
blessings. Every breath is a give-away dance. Won't
you join me?
PO Box 64
Woodstock, NY 12498
Fax: 1-845-246-8081Visit Susun Weed at: www.susunweed.com
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passionate, and involved, Susun Weed has garnered
an international reputation for her groundbreaking
lectures, teachings, and writings on health and
nutrition. She challenges conventional medical approaches
with humor, insight, and her vast encyclopedic
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is one of America's best-known authorities on herbal
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article is © copyright Susun
S. Weed Republished here with kind permission.