When we get here on this planet, most of us don't know how to think of others. Of course, we weigh about 8 pounds and are completely dependent upon our parents, especially our mothers. We learn first to survive, to imagine we are the center of the universe. In the most ideal of circumstances, we are who matters--who is fed first, given the best of what there is in the home, and loved. We are rocked to sleep, read to, bathed, and clothed.
It's hard to go from this point to the cold hard world where everyone else thinks he or she is the most important, the bees knees, the apple of an extended families' eye.
So we learn to hoard affection, love, kindesses. We say, "What about me? Where's mine? You forgot me. It's my turn. You didn't talk about me. You didn't give me the prize, the present, the award. I wanted that one. You like her best."
I will admit to being like this for a long time. The love I carried into the world was rich but fraught with my father's sudden angers and outbursts. It seemed--to me--to be conditional on my good behavior, of which I exhibited little. So as an adult, I've had to grow into reaching for the other side, where I can say, "What about you? What do you want? I remember you. It's your turn. I want to talk about you. Here is your prize, your present, your award. I know you wanted that one, so I' m giving it to you. I like you and her and everyone--maybe not him, but mostly everyone else."
Yeah, right you say. And yeah, you are right. Some days, I'm about five (I wrote about that before as well). I feel put upon and left out and resentful. But other days, I'm working on my karmic bank savings plan. I want to give more than I take. I want to give without expecting anything in return. I don't want to resent people for not giving to me--and then continue to give to them (not to the point of codependence, mind you). I want to help and to receive when someone else actually wants to give. I want to put in more love than I spend.
With my writing I feel the same way. I send my books out to the universe and hope people will like them. I used to do so much more selling and hawking, and you might say that I'm foolhardy and ridiculous from a marketing perspective, but I don't want to sit in front of the door at Barnes and Noble. It feels wrong, like taking. It feels false. When people write to me, I send them a book. They've given me something by communicating with me, and I give something back. It's the flow of the world, it's putting energy out. It's the big, universal giveaway.
This is a hard plan, a rigorous plan because I am not naturally kind. Kindness is something that I have worked for, but once I get into the groove, the flow of it, it does exactly that . . . flow.
The good news is that you don't have to go to your local Savings and Loan. You just give and it grows.
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org