The Result of Gratitude is Generosity

If you are truly full of gratitude – for life, for your health, for your spouse or partner, for your pet, for anything at all — that gratitude will flow into a sense of wonder at life itself. It will also become spontaneous generosity if it isn’t stopped from being so.

Generosity. What’s generous? If you are a millionaire, giving away a hundred dollars means less than nothing. If you are from a working class family a hundred dollars is a lot of money. It’s not the amount, it’s what the amount means. If I am starving and I give you half of my loaf of bread, but you are a princess and give me half of a banquet, is that the same?

We speak of performers being generous. What does that imply? How can a performance be generous? Isn’t it all the same when someone gets up to act, dance or sing? After all, they’re there.

On the contrary, a performer’s generosity has to do with how much of themselves they put into what they do and how it feels to do it. If I am digging deep into my own life, into my story and sharing that with you through my music — if I am open to taking chances, doing something spontaneously that I didn’t plan — if I touch on something very personal that brings me close to my own vulnerability but also allows me to take your breath away — then my performance is spiritually generous. Those performances are the ones we remember for a lifetime. Such moments becomes seared upon our consciousness forever as we sit in the audience knowing we are in the presence of something special that may never happen again.

I might be a virtuoso who can do spectacular things with complicated musical patterns or beautiful expressive passages, but if I do this all day long like a walk in the park, it might not be so that I’m being generous. If I know that my voice might crack, if it might become less than perfect as I sing, and if I can’t depend on what my body might do while I am performing but I get up and don’t hold back at all, then my simple song delivered without adornment might be more generous than you realize.

In the end, if your heart overflows with gratitude for being able to sing, for making  music, for expressing yourself, the logical and inevitable consequence of that deep sense of thanks is profound generosity. It is a humbling to experience delivering such performances  and even more humbling to receive that gift from someone else through your eyes and ears.

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