Friday, January 23, 2004

Unexpected Returns.

There is an unexpected bonus from my recent days of internship- one that I feel a little guilty about finding. While I think it is important that I do a lot of serious introspection about all of the various tangents to that, I thought I would share the general outlines of the feelings.

I have always felt there is a sort of optimal balance that ought to be present in everyone's life-- that it is different for each of us, but finding that right balance for each, is important. I don't mean balance as in exactly equal, but balance that "feels right" to self. All things that one does in life, including doing for others and doing for self, are part of this individual optimal balance, as are the rewards that one gives and gets in one's life. Speaking strictly of giving, it is my feeling that it should be done without thought of reward- freely without expectations of anything in return- simply because you see a need or want to give.

I don't think that there is anything wrong for example, with giving kindness and hoping for kindness in return. It is "expecting" kindness in return and being disappointed when it doesn't come back in the manner you wanted, that starts problems. And though I am just like everyone else and have my own set of expectations and desires, I do make an attempt to give of myself freely and not to expect any particular response to be given back to me. People are who they are in any given moment and what comes back is different at different times. The world seems a better place if I keep that in mind.

And now for the guilty part; I think that I "got" more than I gave this week. I felt very good about my little ripples of help- that I was able to do anything to help. I spent the time being fairly outwardly focused. I won't go so far as to say it was zen like, but being fully present in each moment for the moment and not thinking about my role in it, dealing only with those things that were happening right then, helped me to help others.

The bonus and the guilty part were that at the end when there was time for self reflection, I felt larger rewards than I deserved- the returns for doing and giving were larger than my efforts. I did do all that I could do in every interaction, and it might not have been perfect, and certainly wasn't without mistakes or hesitation, but it was the best of me that was present. I know that I did the things that I did because I wanted to do them, because they were what I felt was needed at the time, not because I expected any praise or recognition. It was rewarding enough to self, to know that I gave the best of me and could see results that told me the things I was doing were helpful on an immediate level.

But I also know on different levels from different folks that it was appreciated. They either told me or demonstrated to me (depending on if it was staff or clients), their appreciation of my being there and for the various things I did- they appreciated the "me" that was present in each of the moments.

Being told or having it demonstrated was a huge reward, maybe larger than seeing the results on an immediate basis, and I don't think it should be ... and that makes me feel a little guilty.

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