"We always have something to give. Sometimes, all we can give is the gift of ourselves — our intention to be fully present and respectful, to meet others with openness. We can give our story or listen to another's story. We can give our fearlessness, encouragement, or silent support of all kinds. We can give our stability or effort. We can give speaking and listening from the heart.
"We can also practicing giving to ourselves with an open magnanimous mind. Putting ourselves first is sometimes the generous thing to do, but without magnanimous mind, it's self-indulgence. This is a tricky one and not always easy to discern. But, from the perspective of Zen, all giving begins with ourselves. We can give ourselves the opportunity to be fully present in the experience of anger, aware of our clenching teeth and tensing muscles. We can give ourselves the experience of the pounding heart of fear. We can give ourselves the experience of the heavy body and tearful eyes of sadness. To open our heart and minds to our experience is a form of giving and receiving.
"When we open to our experience in this way, we relinquish the boundaries, the holding on. Instead of drawing our circle in closer and tighter, we can lean into its circumference and question deeply held requirements in the self's thinking about how it should be or needs to be. This is also generosity. When we give ourselves the gift of relinquishing that requirement, we open up the space to turn toward the experience of what's happening. And we open to those experiences. This is generosity — openness, acceptance, allowing."