The Healing Spirit of Giving

Following a year of difficult restrictions, we see more clearly than ever what we’re grateful for in life. Perhaps most of all, we realize how important it is to spend time with loved ones, not on a screen but in person. We look forward to reconnecting for all those holidays, birthdays, weddings, and milestones we missed. Hugs will be exchanged, stories told, meals shared. Overdue gifts of love and gratitude will be shared.

“This is the time to call on your kindness, generosity, and hope,” says says spiritual wellness provider Dan Marko at Canyon Ranch Lenox. “Allow yourself to give with a full heart and receive with gratitude.”

You made it through!
While the pandemic took almost everyone by surprise, you came to your own rescue by tapping into inner resources, practicing patience, and discovering your own strengths. One aspect of sheltering at home was that you had time for reflection, Marko says, which is not always easy in “normal” times.

You may want to show heartfelt appreciation to loved ones with meaningful gifts on special occasions. Or you might donate to a charity that supports people still in crisis. Marko sees this as “an uncommon opportunity” – a chance to take care of yourself and others, to foster a healing process.

Giving on a deeper level
The best gifts have significance and emotional value to you and the recipient. Start by asking what somebody really needs or wants, which might be more about a feeling than a thing. Could you make this Mother’s Day the one she always remembers? How can you make a child’s birthday the one he talks about years later?

Think about something personal, Marko says. “A handwritten note along with their favorite cookies shows that you spent time on them and remembered what they like. If you can paint, knit, or make some other special thing, why not? … it’s the one you made that they’ll never forget.”

You can magnify any gift, too, by buying locally throughout the year. “Independent shops, restaurants, and artists need you,” Marko says. “Let your gift touch as many people as possible.”

Make the moment of giving special, too: “Wrap something the old-fashioned way. Then the person has the fun of anticipation, guessing what’s in there, and unwrapping a special package.”

Give an experience
Marko also suggests giving experiences. Cooking classes, a concert series, or a weekend at Canyon Ranch. “Think of how an experience will enrich somebody’s life. It becomes part of who they are. If you can share the experience, that’s even better.”

Plus, the pleasure extends far beyond the moment of giving and receiving. There’s the excitement of setting a date, making plans, even daydreaming. Having something to look forward to has added impact.

“A gift experience grows with time,” says Marko.

Gifts to the world
When you give to charities, the strangers who benefit might never know your name. And that may be the point.

“Anonymity is important,” Marko says. “Giving to those in need is a heart-based offer with nothing attached. There’s a spiritual connection in that act.”

Donations to trustworthy charities make you part of something bigger. It’s how you personally help find medical cures, fight hunger, support the arts, or promote education. When you give to a cause that’s close to your heart, it’s a gift to you and to the world.

Perhaps more than ever, generosity is about coming back to simplicity with a sense of appreciation that heals and restores you. “It’s about the meaning of what you’re giving, the spiritual connection,” Marko says. “That’s what you’ll remember.”

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