I believe in giving back a portion of whatever I receive to whoever…we’re all connected after all so it does not really matter who gets it. This habit started in tithing in Church, and young that I was, my attitude then was quite legalistic. Eventually, the habit took different forms.

My partner in crime, er, at work and I, for instance, have a ritual—we treat our team to meals whenever we get unexpected, unbudgeted income. In a meeting where I know I would be picking the brains of people, I make sure I give them what makes them happy (a cup of coffee works wonders, believe me) and I don’t charge it to office expense. My thinking is that, since I would be drawing from their resources, I should draw from my own, too, to fill (refill?) them.

Even my Chinese friends believe in a concept similar to this. They say that unless you empty your cup, the universe would not be able to fill it. I guess in some ways this is also what my late father meant whenever he reminded me that my excess is an indication that another is in need. Thus before I buy a new pair of shoes, I would give away first those that I have already gone tired of using. I also do a regular check of my closet—those stuffs, which I would not be able to use in a month from the time of my inventory and therefore would likely not use any time in the future, normally find their way out of the house.  Same thing is true with my bookshelf. No accumulation of things, no expansion of “capacity” allowed. 

Then my life coach brought this idea to another level. My life coach practices yoga and has had gurus as well. Once he shared to me, “it is the responsibility of the students to sustain the guru because if the guru goes away…. Besides, the guru gives his own energy to the students so it is only but proper to give back to him.” And this is the same person who, when I resigned from work two years ago, commented “(the boss) needs your energy but your work relationship proves unsustainable because it is a one-way thing. He does not share his energy with you.” He was correct. The result of that work relationship was a burnt-out me.

One cannot give all the time the same way that one cannot just receive all the time. There has to be a give-and-take, symbiotic relationship in practically everything to keep the system in balance. Yup, that’s what my life coach calls energy exchange. And I subscribe to that very much.

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