How to be generous with who you are: The two greatest processes your whole life
Who you are is amazing - but you know what? We’re afraid of being generous.
We’re afraid to be generous with who we are.
In the dance between really wanting to be seen, to be recognized for who we are and what we offer this world, we can instead end up hoarding it all inside.
We go from wanting to be freely ourselves and valued, to hiding it… enduring the endless wait for the (insert...) right timing and ideal ingredients.
What are we afraid of?
I’ve found it comes down to two main things. We’re either afraid someone else will take our greatness (even though our gifts are dynamic continual processes, and we have more where they come from), or worse it will be dismissed.
I want to share a model that emerged from my own journey with this, and those of clients I’ve worked with, on one of the biggest processes in our lifetime. It is crucial to the human journey; our practical day-to-day and our existential questions.
Our journey in this guides us to uncover what we really have to give and why, and how to give it away so it simultaneously fills us, and goes beyond us.
I want to offer a specific exercise to try right now, and it’s definitely not what you’d expect! It’ll take about 10 minutes to read, and then (suspend your disbelief) and apply it to your experience immediately.
Here are two of the greatest processes we experience and navigate.
Take a moment to orient with your: 'You' to the 'You within You' to 'You beyond You'.
Where do you sit now in your life?
*the terms "you, you within you, and you beyond you" are from Yogi Bhajan
Both these processes have gifts for the other. They truly go hand in hand.
Both are endless practices, and there is no “final truth” to be in, except what you find moment to moment.
Uncovering the You Within You is a rich process. Even if we don’t consciously choose it, we’ll be thrown in regardless i.e., divorce, illness, injury, a change of heart will all do it,
because its fundamentally important. Essential to go there.
However when we feel self-conscious, overthinking or full of doubt, call on the You Beyond You, even if for a moment.
I want to share an exercise to invoke this, beyond our small self.
Last month I was in Aotearoa (NZ) helping out regarding a Māori rangatahi (youth) program called Manawa Hou (‘a new heart’). Young Māori are guided through cultural and personal processes during their final years of high school. When they graduate Manawa Hou they become the tuakana (elder siblings) and facilitate the process for the next lot of teina (younger siblings). All the while kaumatua (elders) and other relations are connected in, supporting each person to discover and stand in who they are.
For each of us, the You Within You means your absolute uniqueness and responsibility.
This is a rite of passage in its most natural, unhindered flow.
Now imagine you are supported, guided, challenged and encouraged to really delve in and uncover who you are. With unconditional support that requires you to stay with yourself no matter what. You are asked to articulate what makes you you, from the inside out.
The next stage is to give it away, give your gift to the world, your people, your places. Become a link in a great chain. As the model of Manawa Hou shows us, once you’ve found yourself and can trust in yourself, there’s greater ease in giving it away.
The ‘Give Away’ has nothing to do with money. I’m not implying things are free, but rather it’s done freely, from a place so rich and clear within you that it feels like the absolute best thing you could ever do.
‘Giving away’ your gifts with ease has you feeling like you’re at exactly the right place, at the right time, and your experiences have set you up for this specifically.
And we were all born to have many moments like that.
So I’ve prepped you – here’s the experiment: It’s about LINEAGE.
It’s not what you’d expect but it works.
Lineage can be your children or future children, grandchildren….. great, great, great, great grandchildren.
Lineage can also be your work in the world, your values, the way you live, all the other things you’re here to birth.
There are ancestors in your field of work or passion; those who have gone before you (alive or passed on).
They’re who you draw inspiration from, the discoveries you lean on, and gratitude you hold for their insight. They’re part of the chain. The chain of what you continue to work in the world, and you do this to send it forward.
Take a moment to acknowledge your ancestors; whether of blood, work, love, passion, sport, art, heart… (You may or may not know their names). Sense their gifts, insight, enthusiasm and passion. Sense their ‘give away’.
I recently experienced this intensely, and got quite emotional. I felt both an infinitely small part of the chain and yet extremely important all at once. I’ll share briefly as an example of what this can feel like, otherwise read on.
I was at a meeting for Ngāi Tahu, the tribe on my mum’s side. We’re at a time in history where the last iwi/ tribe in New Zealand is making peace with the Crown with financial retribution. For all tribes it represents a mere fraction of what was taken, but a great gesture.
I’m sitting in a hall of people, sharing about how millions of dollars are to be spent. Each cent is allocated with deep care towards the next 10, 20, 50, 100 generations to be. I’m in awe at the generosity; of a generation who’ve fought to keep hold of the treasures of the past, manage the hurts of today and then put the money first and foremost to those yet to come. What really gave me that heart-surge-shiver was the clarity and solidity of not just approval, but stark obviousness that this would be so, held in the hall.
What would it be like to know that the generations before you, your ancestors, thought of you?
When I think 'ancestors', it's like a cloak, they’re at my back.
On my maternal side it's simple to attune to. I'm fortunate to have their names for 57 generations; some faces, stories, songs and prayers. 'Ancestor' is meaningful because they thought about me, acted for me. They guided their ‘give away’ for those like me, for us.
So what if you don't know who they are?
On my paternal ancestry it’s can be harder to experience, as I don’t know their names, who they were nor where from. There’s space, gaps unknown. And yet, they're there, undoubtably, in the chain.
Now, look down the chain to what will follow you.
Tune into those who will benefit from your gifts. Usually we don’t know who they are. Tune into your birthings – whether your children, work, love, passions, or expression in the world.
Dedicate your gifts to these generations to come and they will feel you. You're now connected to the future generations.
I’m now part of my great great great great grandchild, however unknown. I can imagine all that I can’t imagine. Yet it calls me to my truest work in the world, and cuts through inhibition.
I’m more likely to do what’s true for me, to step out, use my voice, stand tall, share my gifts, my story and be more generous in who I am.
I’m suddenly willing to take risks, to let fear move through me and stay the course, to keep my heart open.
It’s the tipping point where reverse-ego (ahem! You know the voice; “I can’t do that”, “What will they think!”, “I’ll come across as...”) simply dissolves, because so do You.
Any history of making yourself just small enough not to be noticed, while just big enough to make a change EVOLVES - and we’re left with the wide reality of all that is.
Because it’s Beyond You.
Act for the legacy you're already living. Your legacy is usually something that comes effortlessly to you.
If you don’t know what that is, it’s time to find out. Note: it can also be about being, rather than doing. Write down your answers now, whatever comes. Then step up into the moment. Invoke the You Beyond You.
And may the You Within You experience also be rich, it’s the closest relationship we can have.
Love on your journey,
Haaweatea Holly Bryson
P.S. One more nudge for the You Beyond You...