Gifts, they are on most of our minds this time of year. We anguish over giving them and receiving them, who needs one, who might give us one, why we give them. It is residue from that dominant holiday in our culture, at least the anguish is. Most of the gifts we really appreciate are the ones given from the heart, and specific to ourselves and the receiver. There is a strong alternative movement against all the commercialism. Give some cookies, or a hand-made necklace, a poem, hand-made card, or a special artifact of nature. Give something really personal, these things often have more meaning.
Thank you. Our thank you conversations are the flip side of gifts. We always say thank you, but we can’t help but betray what we feel most often. The enlightened honor that old saying, “It’s the thought that counts.” and really endeavor to feel it. It doesn’t matter if we already have two, or don’t need want or like it. It may even feel like an obligation or burden. Why did we not think of them and have a gift? Whatever we feel, as we accept it, we also know most times the giver instinctively senses our reaction, and it falls into a couple of categories. We loved it and appreciate it, we are ambivalent and it is a little awkward, or they sense our subtle dread at the responsibility of accepting it. However it takes place, we complete the gift-thank you ritual and keep moving, it is that busy time of year.
How can we avoid the stress of this time of gifts and thank you’s? What got me thinking about this was the ending of the Paganistan weekly. What a gift. JRob took the task of building a network of people, and a place to share personal and community events, applied his love and vision of a better community, and just ran with it. The list, Twin Cities Pagans had been around since year 2000. I found the post when JRob got involved , message # 649, Aug 18th, 2008:
I couldn’t find a place which listed the area Pagan events in one calendar, so I asked Robin and he said I could use the calendar from this group to keep track of events. So if you want to keep up on local Pagan events, check this group’s calendar. I’m on a bunch of local groups and I continually add things as I find them.
Oh, and I also updated the links section. But I’m not calling dibs. I hope that other people also feel free to add things.
Many Blessings, Jrob
JRob didn’t invent the list, he just improved it, by adding a useful calendar to it, and then making a summary of it a newsletter. Now 52 months, and 6000 messages later, he needs a break. I knew it was important work, a real service, just to inform us what was happening in the TC. What a gift to know the whole range of events that were available to me. A simple thing, but I know that 52 months represented at least a few hours a week. JRob didn’t like to take any credit. This work was unsigned, because it wasn’t about him, it was about a service he wanted to offer. That gift awkwardness thing.
So these kind of thank you’s are the kind I don’t feel awkward about at all.
Thank you JRob. Thanks for the commitment, time invested, and love put into a freely offered service. Many, many people have used what you offered to find new options, and enrich their lives. I really appreciate what you gave me. Such a simple thing, just knowing what was happening. What a simple service you can do from home, if you are looking for a gift.
Thank you to all the folks who have been involved with supporting the Upper Midwest Pagan Alliance [UMPA]. Just a year earlier, 2007, UMPA started. I would guess at least 200 Pagan people have offered funds, there organizing skills, and helping hands since then. I would like to name them all, but there is that awkward thing again. Thank you for offering service in gathering Pagan folks to work together, supporting Pagan soldiers, and for touching countless Non-Pagan folks with a gift, well, in the name of all Pagans … not to mention removing a few tons of garbage no one has to look at anymore!
Thank you to members of Northern Dawn Covenant of the Goddess. Hundreds of Pagans first experienced a pagan community, and public ritual through your gifts. We take you for granted. I appreciate all the work members have done to network a broad community, and offer a spiritual experience to whomever appears at your door.
Thank you to all those who contributed time, money, and their hands to the vision of a Pagan community center. The Sacred Paths Center is gone, but the gifts it offered us will be remembered and missed for a long time. Thank you Teisha for the immense personal sacrifice and commitment you gave this vision. What a gift.
Thank you to the contributors to the TC Pagan Pride organization. You have guided a public face for pagans into a new era and established a new venue for us to share of ourselves, Paganicon.
Thank you to our area Pagan shops, who have actively supported many projects, community building activities, and donated funds when they are needed. Thank you to the organizers of the many community and networking groups, and covens with a public face. For me, Standing Stones and Harmony Tribe stand out as having a long history of commitment and gifts of service, but there are many others.
A special thank you to all our teachers. Whether in a coven setting, or in a more public role, I have benefited so much from their gifts personally, but also in experiencing a community that is always growing and learning. Teaching is a service gift we just assume will always be there for us.
Heck, thanks to all who have contributed to the PNC, national and in Minnesota. The pay sucks ($0 ) , but I know the impact we have had based on our readership. Even writing is a gift for someone. My thank you’s could go on for a long time, and there are so many individuals, …. so I leave it to you to add to the this list as comments….
So what gift do you give the Pagan who has everything? Give of yourself, your time, your commitment, and your hands. Give it to someone, or thing, or group that passes the giving on. We need our own “pass it on” movement, that isn’t tied to a tragedy. Most of our valuable community assets are struggling. Each of these groups, and the individuals that have contributed are joyfully tired and need support, active support, involvement. A ‘like’, or ‘a maybe’, or in intention to ‘attend’ on Facebook, just doesn’t cut it as a gift. I really don’t need another pentacle, or hat, Pagan book, or even cookies. I would really appreciate the gift of seeing Pagans as committed to giving the gifts of service and support to others, well at least as much as the folks outside my local grocery store, ringing a bell. This next year, resolve to give of yourself. Really. Significantly. Find a group, a mission, a vision, or a community that needs you, or inspires you, and offer something to others. That is a gift to us all, no awkwardness with this gift to accept it. It really is the only gift that keeps on giving.
What is the next best gift you can give? Simply personally acknowledging someone, to their face. Recognizing their gifts whether to you personally or to the community you exist within and yes, sincerely offering a THANK YOU!
Have a blessed Yule,