I just came upon a holiday card I'd saved beacuse it made me laugh. THe card had a title reading "Inevitable Re-Gifting." It showed two friends exchanging gifts. One had just opened a box and was holding a boomerang above his head. He looked at his friend, and said, "Say isn't this the gift I got you last year?"
Re-gifting aside, giving can be a profound act. Whether we recognize it or not, giving is deeply tied to our human processes of self-discovery and finding a purpose for our lives, because giving is a soul action. As you consider the presentation of a gift, you are (in a large or small way) giving a piece of "you" to the recipient. You gift your affection or love for that person, your dedication to a cause or an ideal, or perhaps a shared sense of purpose for who you are and for who they are in the world. Your gift can be a silly token of shared memory, or a heart-filled desire for transformation, hope, and healing.
Educator Parker Palmer, reflecting on the aging process, writes of trying to find meaning in the midst of a strong sense of needing to strip away all the non-essential things in his life: what would he have to let go of in order to find peace? After reflection with friends, he was surprised at the sole answer which had been given to him. He found that the "big question" wasn't just, "What do I want to let go of?" It was this: "What do I want to let go of, and what do I want to give myself to?" He notes that this understanding of giving "transformed every-thing" bringing "energy, abundance, trust, and new life."
I have always loved the poet Mary Oliver's challenge: "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" Deciding to live out of the place of knowing what you want to give yourself to, and giving from that place, makes for inevitable transformation.
As you give the gift of yourself to the world, what ripples will you cause? What lives will be changed? What hopes will be seeded? Imagine the possibilities.