Recently, I went to go see August: Osage County with a friend and there are moments from the film that are still with me. The main one that is looping around in my head is about trying to find a generous place in the heart for another person. It feels as though Tracy Letts is speaking to me.
Couldn’t we all benefit from a bit more generosity of feeling toward each other? Both offering it and hoping to receive it.
Valentine’s Day is looming – a time to think of love in all its various forms, though the day seems to be mostly devoted to romantic love. Love and a generosity of heart can be one and the same or not related at all except stemming from feelings. It is possible to love someone and yet not have generous feelings toward that person – think of sibling relationships in childhood particularly.
I’ve ascribed this idea of a generous place in the heart as benefit of the doubt, but I like this more poetic and visual notion much better. Am I open to another person, are others open to me – do we identify with each other as fellow humans and not just a means to an end. We are each certainly aware when we feel that our own needs, our own humanity are overlooked or ignored. How often do we look into our own hearts to measure the generosity that we hold there – even what steps to we take to replenish it?
This is one of those things, like mindfulness, that can hold great benefit but require vigilance to review and maintain. Or at least periodic thought, no recriminations with a slip into a stingier mode, but a redoubling of energy toward generosity.
The fine thing about enacting generosity in this manner is that it is easy to start. I can let the person with fewer items in front of me in a checkout line. Or send empathetic thoughts toward the parent with the unruly child in a restaurant. I can ask someone I know to explain their reasoning before I assign one to them. And so on.
There is a great deal about relationships in this movie that I will continue to think about while I test out this idea of a generous place in the heart.
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