Dear NEEAAReSt and Dearest,
I have been thinking about the idea of paying it forward lately. Paying it forward is when we give to others from the space of gratitude for what we have been given, because we are deeply connected to one another. I am not sure when and where I first learned about paying it forward. Maybe it was in church? Maybe it was in my family? Maybe it has been in my work over the years? I have heard myself say the phrase a lot recently as I have visioned, planned, thought, breathed and walked the steps of my life. I want to make sure the idea of paying it forward is front and center in my mind. I want to make sure I pay it forward in all I do.
What do I know for sure about paying it forward?
Blessings flow to and through me.
When I was young, we sang the Doxology in church every Sunday. The Doxology is about praising God as the source of all blessings. When I think about it more broadly, the Doxology is about being aware of the blessings that flow to and through me. Everyday. The Doxology is like a mantra of blessing and thankfulness. For me, I am the hands of God in the world. The blessings that come from God must be given back to the world. As I am aware of blessings, I must share them.
Paying it forward makes me understand gratitude more deeply.
It is easy to think about gratitude in terms of grateful to and grateful for. Paying it forward takes gratitude out of the grateful to and grateful for frame. Paying it forward is about authentic, no strings attached, unconditional, no quid-pro-quo necessary gratitude. Paying it forward means we give out of a sense of thankfulness, not obligation. Paying it forward means we give because were are connected. Paying it forward means we give because we love. That simple.
I receive more than I give when I pay it forward. Every time.
Service is key to paying it forward. It has taken me many years to truly appreciate the fact that my most profound moments of growth and connectedness are when I have been doing things that directly serve others. I have learned about myself and my world. I have gained a richer perspective for the diversity of experiences we all live. I have built friendships. I have found clarity and purpose. I have seen lives change as my life has been changed. Paying it forward is a reciprocal gift.
There is a ripple effect to paying it forward.
Once we start paying it forward, others follow suit. We share more. Others share more. Momentum builds, and paying it forward becomes common and normal and usual and typical, like breathing in and breathing out. There are paying it forward muscles, much like gratitude muscles and mindfulness muscles, that get stronger the more we stop, think, and act.
The universe is abundant. Pay it forward.
We live in an abundant universe. I am not sure where the idea that there isn’t enough comes from. Scarcity mentality fuels war, famine, disease, and environmental degradation, for example. People consume and destroy and hate and fight and kill when they feel threatened or hungry or angry or empty. By paying it forward, we are supporting the radical idea that there is simply enough in our world for us all. Enough fullness to curb consumption. Enough food to end hunger. Enough peace to end war. Enough love to end hate.