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“The measure of life is not its duration, but its donation.” – Peter Marshall


The theme most prevalent in recent reflections has been one of giving and this theme continues today, with a line that reminds us of what’s more valuable about life – not how long you’ve lived it but what you’ve done with it.

Friday’s reflection contained the line, “We all have abundance within us and sometimes we need to give if we are to receive.” and yesterday’s included the sentiment that, “…generosity is the opposite of greed…” – two useful ingredients for a recipe of a life measured well.

The idea of balancing giving and receiving is hardly something new in human existence – quite the opposite – it’s one of the oldest qualities we have, this idea of making offerings to those we love and/or revere. Giving is also hardly unique to humans either – there are many other examples in the animal kingdom of giving freely, of sharing resources, of acts of love and generosity that transcend mere survival instinct.

When we give to someone though, what we receive isn’t always immediately apparent – we can feel slighted if, when we give, we feel like there’s nothing in return, not even gratitude or thanks – but when we depend on that as a motive for giving, we enter into a transaction that we expect the other to honour. Is that really giving? What if you let go of the idea of getting something back and just give because you can? What do you receive then…..?

Well, try it and see! Two days ago, I was in a supermarket and saw a man trying to buy something small and simple, yet the bar code wouldn’t scan at the till and there was a massive language barrier to overcome. He was clearly anxious. I took the item, scanned it on the handheld device I was using and gave the item back to him. He said he had no cash, only a card. I said no problem, wished him a good day and walked away. Easy.

Imagine a world where an increasing number of people adopt the approach of giving for giving’s sake, where someone’s immediate need is met by an act of generosity either large or small that relieves that person of their stress or pain in that very moment – and there’s no expectation of reward or reciprocation. 

Now stop imagining. Embody that world. You don’t need to trawl around shops looking for someone in distress, something as simple as your heartfelt smile could be the gift that keeps on giving to others! Will you make that difference today?

Love and light,

Jim Sharman




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