Giving from the fullness of our radiance

Yesterday, I went to the university to teach my African dance classes and, as per my usual practice, I put out a tray of pastries and cookies for the students to enjoy as I have been doing for the past couple of months. One of the students said, “Nii Armah, thank you so much for sharing. But, you should be careful, because very soon people will be expecting you to continue providing these treats for them.” I replied, “Of course, they should expect that of me. They should expect that I will share as long as it is possible for me. People should expect that I will do my part, because this is something I can do. But, more than that, I expect that people will expect of themselves as well, that which they can provide for the common good.” The student was visibly taken aback and said, “Wow, Nii Armah, that is quite a perspective! That would never have occurred to me. I am so glad I asked you.” So I just took a moment to explain to her fully what I meant.

I explained that this is fundamentally natural, and one can think of it in metaphorical or symbolic terms. Just as the human body has parts, with each part playing its role. Each organ functions, for the good of the entire body, without holding back. So I expect my eyes to see the best they can. I expect my lungs to function the best they can. And all the parts of my body work together to keep me alive, to keep me functioning. None of my body parts consider their work a favor to the other; it’s just what they do. sunshine

I believe that every human being has something to offer society. Whether in their family, in the workplace, at school, or wherever we are, we as human beings, individually, have something to offer. And the health of our community is a reflection of how well we play our parts. In another sense, the sun shines all the time. And even when there are clouds the sun is still shining. And anytime the sun has an opportunity, even if it’s the smallest break in the clouds, the sun comes out screaming, “I am here!” And every plant screams toward the light of the sun, no matter where they are, they turn and shoot for the sun.

As human beings I believe we each have light, we each have radiance that is yearning to be expressed, to be shared, and each of us has an attraction to the radiance in others. Now, when we take ourselves seriously in terms of what we have to offer and express the fullness of our radiance on a daily basis we each become a blessing to our society. Now, imagine a world where we all give our best, creating a culture where the norm is that of giving. When we each tap into our higher selves by giving to the fullest of our abilities, it is no favor, it is just being. When we have fear and doubt we begin to withhold the fullness of our radiance. This perspective may seem utopian and unrealistic, but I like to think that this is an overriding principle in the larger scheme of our existence.

  • Call it what you like: the philosophy of giving back; just doing
    your part to make the world go round; helping to make the world a better place;
    or just doing what naturally feels right to do….and when, similarly, I play
    what naturally comes across as my part in any human endeavour to fit these
    paradigms I cannot fathom why others touched by that gesture feel it’s a
    generosity or deed beyond their expectation in the world we live in today.
    Some, just as your student said, will tell you to watch out for schemers who
    would come to take for granted what just naturally feels right to you, as an
    entitlement due them and therefore constantly be at the receiving end expecting
    more. Well, to these critics, I always say “to everything there is a season”
    perhaps someday, their turn will come and I would see them play their part in
    one way or the other for the benefit of humanity. If they choose not to, just
    you continue with your good deeds sowing the good seeds without looking back
    expecting any immediate reward until the harvest is nigh. As long as the law of
    gravity exists sending back down to us anything we throw up, so would whatever
    we cast upon the waters today return….Forza, We to go Nii Amarh…keep it up!!!

  • Beautiful. Thank you so much for not hording your gifts, your light, your goodness!!! I catch myself withholding, well, frequently. And, it hurts me and everyone else. My culture, my family, etc, have taught this way to me. And, I am so inspired to see others in the world not withholding. We are believing the illusion of separateness when we withhold and horde our gifts. Give, give, give. And, like Dominique said, everything we send out is thrown back at us. Because, after all, we are One. Thank you Nii Armah for your wisdom and light, and for not hording it.