On my dog walking expedition this afternoon I found a mango that had recently fallen into the road. It was perfect: unbruised and ripe. The season for mangoes is coming to a close here and I debated taking it home to give to our caretaker, or making a lassi with it. Or maybe I would freeze it to enjoy when the fruit is scarce ….
As my mind began to race with the new possibility this fruit offered, I noticed all the pointless stories running alongside each option. Would the caretaker consider me silly for such a commonplace offering? What if the guy doesn’t like mangoes? Then I’ve wasted the find…..but if I kept it, would I be able to enjoy it sufficiently to warrant not giving it away? (In essence: now that I’d thought to give it away, could I guiltlessly keep it?)
When I rounded the next corner, still aimlessly mulling over these insignificant details, I came upon a little horse tied to a tree. On the way past him in the other direction, I had loosed the too-tight rope around his neck. Now, without a second thought, I opened my palm and held the fruit out in his direction. Tentatively his lips puckered toward me. Having caught a whiff of the treat, he all at once nuzzled against me and plucked the mango into his mouth, chewing delightedly. The moment was one of the purest of my day. As juice dribbled from his mouth he nodded enthusiastically, in time with his chomping. I smiled the whole way home.
Sometimes good intentions get caught in the snares of our doubts, social conditioning, and the mental stories we create around giving. It can happen with charity (is this cause worthy of my hard earned cash?), with gifts (will it be appreciated and accepted in the spirit with which I am presenting it?), with our time (sometimes, I’d really just rather be surfing). Next time you find yourself with a little something to spare, or with the idea of a great gift for a friend – don’t give it a second thought. Open your palms! And by giving impulsively, you do away with all the unnecessary mental chatter that block the rewards of giving.
After all, there’s no such thing as giver’s remorse, is there?