Generosity with Self

Generosity, George Leonard’s most favorite word, is what ITP is all about for me. It’s a practice based on generosity, as I view it, starting from within. In my worldview, generosity with self is essential to grow and transform. That means allowing the time and space for personal discovery and loving care of oneself. No small feat in our accelerated, challenging world!

When I first stepped onto the ITP mat 24 years ago, I was out of balance and at cross purposes with myself. I was struggling with the demands of parenting, work life, and my fixation on being at the top of my game. It was exhausting! Something had to give. Through ITP, I learned to literally give in to address my own needs. I began to prioritize self-care in a variety of ways – in body, mind, heart, and soul – and grew to be more generous with myself. Over time, generosity for myself took on new forms.

My experience of the Kata provided a deeper awakening of the wisdom of the body. I developed a deeper connection to signals in my body and learned to pace myself. As I continued with the practice, I crafted affirmations to realize the innate capacity to relax, and I focused on my meditation practice to gain greater access to my spiritual nature. Insights and greater joy flowed from there! I benefited from the inspiration and insights of others who shared similar hopes for a greater life -- from the inside out. I learned that generosity for myself comes first and began balancing my care of others with care for myself.

Fast forward to today. My practice and my life are intimately interwoven -- one and the same for me. Generosity with self means an ever-deepening listening to what arises in each moment and a trusting of the inner guidance I’ve been cultivating from years of practice. Generosity with self includes facing the times when I don’t listen or trust my inner guidance, well knowing transformation is not a straight line. It’s in those moments when I stray from my practice that I need to remind myself of what’s right and true for me and and stay dedicated to the “long plateau of the learning curve,” as George Leonard so generously advised.