Harvesting the Gifts

Photo by arsenat29 on Flikr Creative Commons

Something in the newspaper caught my eye this morning, as it often does when I go to light the fire with it! The article was about ‘peak gold’ – the idea that the amount of gold available to be mined has now passed its maximum and that we are therefore in a situation of declining gold supply.

Stories of resource depletion are not exactly unusual at the moment. But what struck me here was the idea that we might be fooled by such stories into thinking that other forms of ‘gold’ in our lives are dwindling or scarce.

This time of year, between the end of October, when the clocks go back, to the Winter solstice on 21st December, is a time for harvesting and taking stock.  It can also be challenging for all sorts of reasons: the cooler weather, coughs and colds, shorter daylight hours… and this year might be feeling particularly turbulent for those sensitive to the transformational nature of 2012.

What might we do to lift our spirits and sustain our own personal ‘gold reserve’?

The idea behind ‘harvesting the gifts’ is to make time to recall as many as possible of the gifts we’ve been given this year. Let’s start with what we entered 2012 with:

The beginning

By January 1st 2012, what gifts were you already carrying? What were the strengths, life experiences, skills, life-serving beliefs and attitudes you had acquired and that you had to offer?
What had you inherited from your parents or other older members of your family? What gifts from your ancestors are you the beneficiary for?

The middle

During this year, what extra nuggets of gold have you been given? They might be material, they might be new skills, learning experiences, challenges, insights, revelations, relationships…
Apparently for every tonne of gold ore, only 3 grams of gold is extracted. What have you managed to let go of this year that no longer serves you, that was obscuring your gifts?

The Close

As we draw closer to the Winter Solstice and that wonderful turning point where the sunlight starts to increase again, what does that transition herald for you? What will happen to the gifts you’ve been granted up until this moment?

I’ve had an interesting conversation with one of my clients, Simon, this week who was in a quandary about an unwanted early Christmas gift he’d received. The giver, one of his valued business clients, was very sincere in their donation. They wanted to express their gratitude to him for the service he’d offered them during 2012. Simon understood the sentiment and was feeling very touched by it.

What was bothering him was that the gift was something he didn’t want to keep – ‘beautiful, but surplus to requirements’ as he put it. He thought it might be disrespectful or unappreciative in some way to pass the gift on to someone else. After we’d spent a short time exploring the nature of giving, his perspective shifted. He realised that what was important to him was that he received the gift graciously and expressed his gratitude to his client in a way that let his client know how valuable their appreciation was to him. He felt this honoured the intent behind the gift.

He then felt free to give some thought to where the gift might best travel to next, given that he was sure its destiny was not with him. Within a few days, Simon received an invitation to a friend’s birthday celebration and the pieces of the jigsaw suddenly fell into place. The gift Simon was ready to pass on was just the kind of birthday present he knew his friend would love.


2 Responses to Harvesting the Gifts

  1. Ali November 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

    Thank you Sally, I love reading your articles and reminders (especially as I am racked with cough and cold at the moment!) — here’s to noticing and celebrating the gifts of the year and cherishing that gold reserve :) x

  2. Sally November 23, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    Glad you found the reminder helpful, Ali. Stay warm and dry and I hope you recover from your cold very swiftly. x

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