Unpublished Work © 2011 Cristina Carlino
…is the title of a very fun 2003 comedy starring diane keaton and jack nicholson. (if you haven’t seen it, it’s well worth the DVD rental.) it’s also an expression that says eventually our behavior that needs to change will change. the universe keeps giving us that. whether we want it or not. something’s gotta give. in the movie, the first thing that had to go for nicholson’s man-about-town character, harry sanborn, was his heart. he has a heart attack and it ends up changing him and who he falls for the first time in his adult life. keaton. a woman closer to his own age. he discovers, on the cusp of becoming a senior citizen, what it means to give and receive freely. he is in love.
at this point, as a planet, our hearts are receiving messages from the heart and requests from our fellows to give in record numbers. we’ve never seen or responded to anything like it. it’s changed from “back in the day”, when taught primarily, “it is better to give than receive.” and that “because we are the richest nation on earth, it is our responsibility to give back.” now we are being called upon by nations, neighbors, churches, corporations, non profits, tv shows and so much more to give back and to also give forward. whatever small amount we may. and it adds up. our modern technology is helping us to do amazing things in this regard. massive numbers of people each donating one dollar over the internet help support victims of an earthquake in a devastated country. and then there is another disaster. we all want to help. there is and never again will be (if there ever was) a shortage of real needs. we have adjusted to acting locally and globally. but how much can the vast majority of us truly afford to give? how many have unlimited resources? is giving our money what makes us generous? is it just about writing a check? is there much more to giving? is it about knowing we have made make a difference in the lives of others we will likely never see? is it offering our skills and talents to help the school next door? is it being selfless? do we ever stop giving? what gives? what are we being called upon to change now in the way we help each other giving forward?
it gets me thinking the answer may not be so much how much we can give, but the spirit of how we give what we have. to be truly generous we need to give what we can only give freely with an open heart and no strings attached.. in other words, to give not first because we believe it is a good thing to do, good karma or good business. or that it may make us look good to our family or communities. to give first not because we feel guilty or afraid or overly responsible for everyone and confuse that with compassion or because we believe we will be doing something great in the world. but because giving from our hearts, first and foremost feels good. it is, as the ancient philosopher, lao tsu said, because “kindness in giving creates love.” great love. and that is what we have to give. great love. it’s what’s gotta give. and it is. can you feel it? we are as a world falling apart and falling in love at the same time. one by one – in very small steps giving what we have to give to acknowledge our love and true responsibility to ourselves and each other without sacrifice or resentment. we can choose to give only with our whole heart. we can discover again and again that perhaps service really is love and love is all there is. what we give in love and with an open heart is the real project miracle. and it feels so good.