By: Dr. Lynn Euzenas
Director of Spiritual Care & Bereavement Services
Generosity if a profoundly human action. Its practice is owned by no one person or ideal. It is practiced in all of the world’s relgious and spiritualities as a higher virtue, often paired with compassion and love as cohorts. One cannnot practice generosity without the motivations of compassion and love. Finance guru Suze Orman notes, “True generosity is an offering, given freely and out of pure love. No strings attached. No expectations. Time and love are the most valuable possession you can share.”
The main result of generosity is freedom: freedoom for the giver and freedom for the recipient. These are two different freedoms, but both are liberating and joy producing.
The generous giver is freed from want and attachment: he or she is unencumbered by the desire of holding too tightly to propery, jealous guarded wealth, time, or relations. Think of aclenched fist: the tightly held fingers are filled with tension and are ready for conflict. Think now of the open palm of the generous: there is no tension or expectation, only the readiness for receiving whatever may come, and the freedom to embrace when necessary. The gift of generosity brings openness, spaciousness, and leaves room for peace and joy.
The receiver of generosity is also granted freedom: in humility and thankfulness, the recipient is now empowered, without expectation, to utilize the gift for higher purposes. These include meeting personal needs, serving others, and creating by the very gift a cultivation of generosity which can be passed on to others.
It is this circular freedom in generosity (giver giving, recipient receiving gift, then giving again) which is why it is so central to the world’s spiritualities: for the energy of generosity is the energy of love and compassion. Generosity cannot be held in a clenched fist, and its open hand invites the way of peacefulness.
The very best of who we are as human beings is both seeded and nurtured by the cultivation of generosity.
Nurses May Not Be Angels but They Are the Next Best Thing
The Health Benefits of Community Involvement Dr. Leslee B. Cochrane
Scientific studies have shown that there are numerous health benefits of community involvement. In addition to the obvious pleasure of socializing with friends, medical research shows that individuals who are involved as community volunteers have lower mortality rates, greater functional capacity and are less likely to suffer from depresion than those who do not volunteer. According to a report from the Corporation for National and Community Service, volunteering provides adults over the age of 60 with greater health benefits than younger volunteers. These benefits include greater physical and mental health, a reduced incidence of depression and a greater sense of life satisfaction.Another significant health benefit of community involvement is the satisfaction of working together to help those in need. Such was the case in 1962 when two sisters in Sun City saw a need for someone to provide compassionate end of life care for those in need. Thank goodness they didn’t wait for the Government to solve the problem, for it would be another 20 years before Medicare began covering hospice care. Instead, they organized a group of friends and volunteers and held rummage sales to raise money to start what would later become known as Hospice of the Valleys, the only non-profit HOspice headquartered in the Temecula/Murrieta/Menifee area.
This year Hospice of the Valleys celebrates our 35th anniversary with the theme of “Giving Back and Looking Forward”. Through the ongoing support of our volunteers and donors we are able to provide comfort, care and education to those in need including those without insurance or themeans to pay for care. In 2016 Hospice of the Valleys provided hospice services to over 380 patients within our community and also provided no-cost bereavement services to more than 480 families and individuals as well as providing numerous educational events. Our nurses, social workers, chaplains, physicians, home health aids and volunteers made more than 20,000 patient visits last year and logged over 240,000 miles in patient related travel. That mounts to driving a distance roughly equivilant to a one way trip to the moon!
Hospice of the Valleys is a living example of a community working together to provide end-of-life care. We are so grateful to the many individuals and more than 200 local community businesses whose financial support helps us make a difference in the lives of the patients and families we serve.