For most of my life I’ve been surrounded, miraculously, by incredibly generous family, friends, colleagues, teachers and unforgettable angelic strangers. It is extraordinary to me to observe people’s choices to be givers or takers. One human energy field radiates and expands and the other sucks and contracts. I can only imagine that the ‘taker’ is a teacher offering free lessons in what ‘lack’ looks like.
In business, I strive to practice generosity by giving more than I promise, …to give without expectation, to create joy and surprise, to promote the spirit of goodwill and of course I give to promote my art. I want people to feel good. It hurts when I see meanness in the world. Food vendors that skimp on portions, fragrances that have become insipid and less-than, expensive clothing that falls apart after one or two washes, suppliers that …. don’t supply.
When you really really love something as much as I love perfume, then it follows that you just want to share it. As an artisan, when you create a fragrance that works for you, you want to know how others feel about it too. Making perfume for me, has never been about ‘going into business’ with a plan to make a financial ‘killing’. If people liked and even loved what I’d made, I made more.
The ‘cosmic’ element to practising generosity is that the very act of giving is an act of receiving. It rewards the giver with the glow of physicalising the desire to make another person feel special, feel important and loved. Even if you’ve never met and never will. Gifting is akin to making an offering, honouring the person for whom the gift is destined. In so doing, positive energy flows. The gift is merely a concrete manifestation of the idea that ‘I appreciate you’. This may be a simple hand-drawn card given to say ‘I care/Get Well/Be Happy’ etc, or the perfect impulse to share your sandwich with a homeless, hungry man on the way back to work in a busy lunch hour, still hungry, but heart filled with the blessing of an encounter with a Master of disguise offering free lessons in compassion, just out there on the street.
Gifts are tests of the inner self, tests of our humanity, tests of our belief in the inner state of unlimitation, especially tough in the face of so much oppression from consumerist tactics that would convince us otherwise. Shopping malls are elaborate temples. ‘Feel Ugly?… Lacking?… Not Good Enough?… Better buy something to fill that void’.
Human beings have been swindled into thinking that getting more, and hoarding more, and showing how much more, and bragging and swaggering around in ‘look what I’ve got’ t-shirts is da bomb. The opposite is true. It’s infinitely more exciting and empowering and amazing to unpack the infinite wealth of our inner resources: – imagination, determination, innovation, commitment, creativity, capacities, intelligence, failures, findings and reinventions, and to share these gifts out in the world. The David Bowie factor.
I plan to arrive at the end of my life, whenever that may be, completely emptied of every resource, strategy and precious jewel of an idea that ever dropped into my consciousness from the hand of universal benevolence. I want to leave behind the invisible energetic scratchings of my problem-solving and solutions, a map of where I went expressed via beautiful natural fragrances, a few paintings, some pottery, films, couple of stories, and the loves of my life – my children. I want to drift away knowing that the ripples of my life are the result of having given more of myself than I ever took. It’s tough, because I have received so much. And I am forever grateful for all of it.
I reject the mirror of the lustrous queen in the palace, hoarding and pampered, anxious and alone in the dark with the plush company of luxury. Instead, I choose the card of the hag in beggar’s clothing, …seeing the truth, smelling the world, hearing the night birds, and gently touching the hearts of others along the road.
Give and go free.