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I’ve had a thought recently that I need to be using what I’ve got.  But I wonder what, exactly, that means?

Perhaps the first thought might be about using my talents to achieve my goals.  That seems kind of obvious.  Is it possible I have other things I can use like resources, connections, and knowledge, too?

What about my tools, supplies and equipment?  Most of which are within arm’s reach, requiring no expenditure or effort to use.

There are other things I can use that are not as readily apparent.  Within the categories of resources, connections and knowledge, have I trully mined all that’s there?  In the back of my closet could be just what I need: Something I learned in business class many years ago.  Or someone I did something for last year who might be just the person I need right now.

This gets me sharpened to notice all the little things I have that can make the journey easier.  Music, for instance.  Pandora or various listening devices.  I only have to remember them. There are tricks of the trade that I’ve learned, support I had forgotten about.  An exercise that could reveal the exact piece of information I’d been missing.  Have I tried that resource over there, yet?

In all of this, it’s important to think in terms of all I have that I can give to others.  Most of these things I can share.  My time, my expertise, my concern can also be offered.  I have plenty of encouragement that I can give generously, at almost any time.  To myself and others.

I believe there is help wherever you look. The answer to a burning question might be uttered in the next movie I see.  Or a tossed off comment I overhear.  The secret is to stay open for precisely what is needed.

It’s kind of sexy, isn’t it?  A person who uses what he or she has.  It’s not about being self-reliant, but interdependent.  Like infrastructure excites some folks, interdependency does the same thing to me.

Using what you have feels like integrity to me.  Whole.  Using everything you can to enhance and expand your capacities.

In networking we learn to turn over every stone, contact everyone we can think of.  That our networks are no longer separate.  My friends, my colleagues, my comrades, all are my network and all a resource for me.  And I can be for them.

I want to use what I have to more fully give and receive.

Giving presents is what everyone does – especially at this time of year.  Can we be more creative and find other ways to give?

What may come to mind first is giving money.  That’s an easy one to do, if you have it. You don’t have to have a fortune to give money, though.  In some spiritual circles, you’re encouraged to give, even when you don’t think you have it. Giving money can make you feel abundant.

Another one that comes readily to mind is giving time.  This kind of giving can manifest in many different ways.  You could, of course, give your time to help someone with a chore.  Sometimes just showing up and spending time with someone can be a gift.  It might only be your company that makes someone feel less alone.  Other times your presence might support what someone is doing.

Giving time, of course, can be about volunteering.  So often our time is taken up in self-centric activities, such as earning our wages or tending to our surroundings. Volunteering your time, giving it freely for the good of someone else can be very freeing.

Giving can mean handing over some of your possessions to those with less.  Maybe it is a gift you’ve purchased just for someone special. A phone call or letter might touch someone’s heart at just the right time and be a gift.  As I’ve found recently, giving my attention to a project can make a real difference.

An area of giving that doesn’t get talked about much is giving to yourself.  Maybe there’s something you’ve really been needing lately.  If you take the time and the money to go out and get it for yourself, that can be considered giving.  You might just decide to give yourself permission to go after what you want or to be sad because you didn’t get something you wanted.

Giving can happen spontaneously.  It can be so fast you could miss it, if you’re not watching. You could be walking along the street and come across someone who’s dropped their packages, stoop over and help them gather their things. Opening the door for someone who’s struggling. Giving someone space to express their opinions without interrupting or arguing could be a generous gift at times. Others may just need you to give them permission to be who they are or your acceptance for what they’re trying to do.

Perhaps you could give of yourself – something you know, what you’ve learned or what you think.  You could give a recommendation, a referral or a kidney.  I often like to give compliments. Giving encouragement can also be very helpful.  You could give a day off, a free pass, or a leg up.

Whenever you can give something to yourself or someone else, most particularly something of your own, it warms and expands your heart. And strengthens your giving muscle.

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