14th May 2021

Life, with its many convoluted twists and turns can quite graphically be described as a lottery, sometimes winning well, occasionally losing heavily, but on the whole a sort of continuing litany of odd or even bets in the game of chance roulette. Nothing is more typical than the wholly unpredictable illustration of relationships, a contest without specific rules or agreements, resulting in violent swings between satisfaction and disappointment at momentary notice.

The success or failure of relationships is generally based on the premise of give and take, being able to steer a mutually agreeable path through a sea often filled with storm and adverse tide. That ocean can of course be supremely calm, pleasurable, full of joyous days and nights, but tempestuousness is forever just beyond the horizon awaiting an opportunity to bring uncomfortably high waves and capsizing troughs.

‘Give and take’ necessarily suggests the prospect of the exchange of gifts, quite easily divisible into two distinct and seperate heaps, the emotional and the commercial, one a matter of personal effort and sacrifice, the other, with the exception of some mild consideration, simply largesse.

A most useful exercise to help facilitate an understanding of the differences between the two forms is to simply make for yourself a listing of the most significant presentations you have received from a partner, specifically those that caried deep emotional weight and then consider the cost they brought to the doner. Was it a gift involving time, kindness, sacrifice, or simple of exceptional material value? The former is quite obviously the more personal, precious, emotional costly, the latter but a financial repurposing.

I myself indulged in this exercise quite recently and noted to my astonishment and some inner turmoil that my top ten or so items were all particularly well-chosen inarticulate objects, my first purely emotional gifting appearing some way down the chain. This circumstance points to a fault in me, not the gifter, my apparent susceptibility to being impressed by monetary value is supremely embarrassing and telling.

The opposing relevant question is of course what benefit do the doner get from any gift, whether emotional or materialistic, and perhaps more importantly what personal risk do they take by extending such generosity?

Gifts, presents, rewards, of intrinsic value are naturally the easier matter to judge. Financial costs are readily accountable, reducing the cash flow of the giver momentary or for some considerable period, dependent on the sum involved. Short term impoverishment or without is of no great consequence, and we all have at some time spent monies upon something not of immediate personal value, and of course a donation to another does have a definable value, in kudos, gratefulness, possible reciprocation, feelings of power, accomplishment, import and of course charity, the most basic of spiritual self-empowering tools.

Non materialistic presents, those presenting emotional and supportive elements carry a cost including the risk of personal spiritual loss and sacrifice, an inherent danger of losing something of your own wholeness, mental wellbeing, as opposed to a simple monetary transaction.

Such donations of time, support, consideration, kindness, assistance, are of course much more the true definition of charity as promulgated in multiple philosophical and religious texts, a clarion call for dedication to enhanced spiritual awareness and availability, as opposed to the far easier and less demanding shedding of gelt.

Always question your impulses towards generosity, whether you are truly serving the recipient or in a circuitous manner advancing an agenda to your own advantage. Is the course you envisage the best use of resources, could your need for bestowal, to implement some form of gratuity, be better served in another less materialistic manner that still rewards recipient and gifter equally well, without necessarily creating a financial transaction that probably does not signify the depth of feeling you wish to illustrate.

I hate to be appear really old fashioned, but do you recall the joy of writing and receiving anniversary, greeting, and thank you cards?

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