The Gift: Shake It Up a Bit

When I was small, I can recall my siblings and I shaking boxes under the tree to see if we could figure out the gift that was inside, little did I know, years later, as an adult, I would have experienced things in this lifetime that would shake me up, and ultimately help me find the gift that was inside of me. When thinking of the two critical questions asked of PFO teens -“”Who am I?”” and “”How will I give of that?””It’s exciting to see how everything from a simple dance party to an open and honest dialogue on issues that help to development of the teens served, all afford us an opportunity to “”shake things up a bit”” in order to see what’s inside. Be it the artistic talent expressed through spoken word, visual art, theater and dance that honors nonprofits working to better our community to insightful commentary on topics like heart-centered leadership, self acceptance, compassion in action and diversity, it’s refreshing to know that while so many of today’s young people are being shaped by what is happening in the world around them, there are in fact those who are mindfully shaping the world around them.

I came across a quote recently, “How much you contribute to others will determine just how rich your life will be” – Sadhguru Vasudev. When I think of the things that have made my life rich; despite having received some gifts of great value, the endless and timeless gifts that have enhanced my life the most, were not in the form of a material gift that I found wrapped inside pretty packaging, but rather in the gifts placed inside of me that I committed to making a conscious decision to open, as many and as often as I could. As I firmly believe that we are the greatest gift that we can give to this world; not merely by being who we are, but by doing for others and doing what we were created for, serving as part of the PFO team is nothing more than or less than a gift. A gift that allows youth and adults alike the opportunity to get “”wrapped up”” into something that has great meaning and greater purpose and that helps to remove the layers and pre-packaging that the world often wraps us in before we even knew what our gifts were. Playing for Others not only asks two critical questions, but they help to find the answer to them as well. The work that they do, we do, with the teens served doesn’t just impact them now, but it will have a lasting effect in their lives and the world we live in. Knowing who we are first, makes the place from which we give so much more meaningful. A life with meaning and purpose, to me, is the greatest gift of all. When life is “”shaking you up”” as it sometimes will and when the physical gift we may open doesn’t quite contain what we had hoped for inside, it’s the gift on the inside that matters the most. A passage from one of my favorite written works – The Invitation by Oriah Mt Dreamer sums this up best “”It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing…It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.”

I believe that knowing who we are, and willfully giving of that is what can and will sustain us over time. So this holiday, as you are thinking of the gifts you’ll give to others, don’t forget about the gifts inside of you that the world is yet waiting for. You were born to make an impact in ways great and small, so shake things up a bit and really search for the gift inside.