Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Fairness and Generosity

I'm a "Libra." I've always liked being a Libra, because I've always considered myself a fair person (on average) and the scales of the Libra sign reflect this. I don't put a lot of weight into astrology, but in my case I thought that for what ever reason, my personality really did seem to match what the Libra scales represent: fairness, justice, equality, etc. Fairness is a quality I really value in others and in myself, and I have reasonably good 'self-esteem' in that area, I guess you could say.

That is until I was at work the other day and found myself getting all grumpy because no one had filled up the filtered water container for tea, again, and I had to do it, again, even though lots of us at work drink tea or some other hot beverage that we use the filtered water for. I was grudginly filling up the water container, all the while thinking, "Why doesn't anyone else ever do this? Why am I stuck with doing this all the time? It's just not fair that other people don't take their turn."

Then it hit me: all my concern about fairness was sure putting a crimp in my ability to be generous. It washed over me all of a sudden: putting such a high value on fairness was really just a cover for only doing my "fair" share and no more. And resenting others for not doing their "fair" share gives me an excuse to feel all superior and better-than-them-y. Silly Theresa. I broke out into a big grin and shook my head at myself. And proceeded to fill the water container with a much lighter heart and generous spirit.

In the days and weeks since, I've embraced my role as "water jug filler," doing my best to top up the container in the daytime and making sure it's filled in the evening so that there is water to put in the kettle first thing in the morning. And I enjoy my first cup of tea of the day much more now that it is flavored with generosity rather than resentment.

(Here is a nice little dharma talk by Clark Strand on generosity, in the context of the practice of 'green meditation')


Eco Yogini said...

hmmmm. this is very interesting. i have a lot of work to do on this- but i really see your point. :)

Theresa said...

I'm still pondering it too. I still think fairness is important, and that people all have to pull their weight, but my expectations that I just do what's fair and never any more was really more of a burden than anything it seems. It never required me to 'stretch' or get out of my zone of comfort or self-righteousness or whatever that is. It's a work in progress for sure. Which is fine.

Apple Jack Creek said...

What a great thought.

My mom always said "Fair doesn't mean everone gets the same, it means everyone gets what they need." (As she dealt with special needs and gifted kids both, her perspective made sense.)

Maybe the others need someone to be their water jug filler, and you are the one able to fill that need.

What a great way to reframe the situation, as generosity. I'm gonna remember this one, thank you!

Theresa said...

Hi AJC - I really like your mom's saying - it makes total sense! I'm actually enjoying being the jug-filler!

Marguerite Manteau-Rao said...

Oh! beautiful, Theresa . . . I love those moments when the love all of a sudden gushes in:

Thank you for gift of your generosity.

Theresa said...

Hi Margeurite! It did sort of gush in actually - just one of those moments where the world is a different, and nicer!, place all of a sudden!

Simply Authentic said...

I'm impressed. This is something I could use and would probably greatly benefit my marriage!

Theresa said...

It has transferred over to my marriage too, I'm happy to say. I'd always heard that saying that marriage isn't a 50/50 thing but when each person gives 100%. I think I finally get what that really means :)