Wednesday, June 16, 2010
The “Give and Give” of Soul Giving
In T. Byram Karasu’s Psychology Today article titled “Soul Giving,” Dr. Karasu offers: “The act of giving may be related to two interconnected sources, according to the distinction Joel Kovel makes in his book History and Spirit: Egoic giving and soul giving. Egoic giving is giving in order to get specific gains of prestige, praise, admiration, immortality; it is setting conditions for giving. In contrast, soulful giving is free from the burden of conditions and expectations.”
Earlier this week, I heard someone remark on the give and take in relationships, and like all Coach Poppy newsletter inspirations, it got me to thinking about not the give and take in relationships, but the “give and give” in relationships. I stumbled across Dr. Karasu’s article and my interest was piqued by his term of “soul giving.” When we give without hesitation, without the expectation that there will be a chit in one’s pocket to redeem for an equivalent gift or favor, we give from the heart. That is a soulful gift.
As a member of The Luxury Marketing Council of Florida, we are often treated to high end presentations and guidance from luxury corporations and organizations. One such business member is the Ritz Hotel in Sarasota. Every morning between 7 and 8 am, the entire staff meets to discuss the arrivals and departures of all the guests, their specific accommodation and food preferences and desires, and the mandated memorized names and faces of all of the guests, their family members, as well as, their pets. It does not surprise me that The Ritz Hotel does this “give and give,” yet I was taken by surprise last weekend by the give and give I experienced in my local grocery store.
This past weekend, I entered the grocery lane at Publix where Jane, the check out lady, and Theo, the bagger were set up. As I began to place the items on the belt, I neglected (forgot) to say that I wanted paper. (I had also forgotten my recycled bags at home.) I pushed the cart forward and for the first time when I looked up, I was just about to blurt out that I wanted paper. That’s when I noticed that Theo was already on my THIRD PAPER bag. I have only been in Theo’s lane a half a dozen times, and he quietly said: “I remember that you prefer paper.” I cringed and asked Jane and Theo: “Do you remember that I use paper because I was a pain in the neck about it?” Phew. They both smiled and said, “No, not at all; you are always nice.” (I KNOW that I am not always nice and my teens can surely attest to that.) I was completely awed and impressed by their customer attentiveness and Ritz-like service. A manager walked by and I stopped her and shared my wonderful experience of/with these two employees.
It was noted by the manager, and whatever praise or bonus might be in their future, well, that is just gravy. Because here’s the thing: Jane and Theo would have behaved this way ANYWAY, without the acknowledgment, and maybe even without my noticing that they were on their toes in the first place. I might have just as easily been occupied with what I was doing next. I was thankful that I took note to discover that Jane and Theo are soul givers, not egoic givers.
What can we do today- this week- to be soul givers in our personal and professional relations and in the workplace? What can we do to pay attention to all those around us, so that we can notice when someone is present to us? If your spirit and soul are mindfully lined up, it won’t be at all difficult to find yourself in an authentic “give and give” experience.