Dear Members and Friends,
It’s Giving Tuesday, a day when we are encouraged to give to those organizations that live out our values. Because a Holiday Appeal will be forthcoming on behalf of UU Westport, I’m not asking that you respond to this message. Instead, I want to acknowledge how challenging it can be to receive so many requests from worthy organizations. It is easy for Giving Tuesday to feel like Guilty Tuesday when ideally it serves as Gratitude Tuesday.
I encourage you to take 10-15 minutes and just slow down enough to breathe deeply, notice what is going on inside and outside of you, and see if you can find that inner space of gratitude. Notice what comes up as you ask: Who are you grateful for, what are you grateful for?
As Unitarian Universalists, many of us give generously to multiple organizations. If there are specific organizations that you feel especially connected to, let them know you’re thinking of them with a donation—and if you don’t have any disposable funds, send a message of appreciation.
It’s easy for the beautiful spirit of Giving Tuesday to get lost in the frenzy of Cyber Monday and the rush of the Season. It’s easy for organizations to reach out asking for financial support through social media and email, but it’s often the most impersonal kind of outreach.
So, I ask you to join me in reflecting on what you’re grateful for and who is doing work that touches you deeply—and when you make a donation, may it be so much more meaningful to make than that click for a consumer purchase. It’s a day to remind ourselves to move away from a consumer mentality to one that connects us with the meaning of the season. For ultimately, we give to organizations for the sake of the impact they make in line with our most cherished values. Cultivate gratitude, and generosity will naturally follow.
Throughout the holiday season, it is helpful to maintain a practice of reflecting on what generates gratitude within, taking the time to touch into that space where tears often emerge and meaning becomes clearer.
I hope you enjoyed a meaningful Thanksgiving Day and weekend. As we enter the Holiday Season, it is a time to continue intentional grateful reflection. Who are you grateful for, what are you grateful for? How do you want to express that gratitude?
May every Tuesday become a Gratitude Tuesday!
“The work of the mature person is to carry grief in one hand and gratitude in the other and to be stretched large by them. How much sorrow can I hold? That’s how much gratitude I can give. If I carry only grief, I’ll bend toward cynicism and despair. If I have only gratitude, I’ll become saccharine and won’t develop much compassion for other people’s suffering. Grief keeps the heart fluid and soft, which helps make compassion possible.” — Francis Weller, The Wild Edge of Sorrow
“When we turn our love and attention away from what we think we need to what we already have — financially, emotionally, physically and spiritually — and nourish it, express it, and most importantly, share it, experiences of profound prosperity, wholeness and sufficiency flood our lives.” — Lynn Twist, The Soul of Money
“The Way It Is” by Lynn Unger from Poetry of Presence
One morning you might wake up
to realize that the knot in your stomach
had loosened itself and slipped away,
and that the pit of unfulfilled longing in your heart
had gradually, and without your really noticing,
been filled in—patched like a pothole, not quite
the same as it was, but good enough.
And in that moment it might occur to you
that your life, though not the way
you planned it, and maybe not even entirely
the way you wanted it, is nonetheless—
persistently, abundantly, miraculously—
exactly the way it is.