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One for the box, one for the belly

It is officially one of my favorite times of the year in the Pacific Northwest. That time when fields are filled with bright, sweet, brilliant bounty of summer! Peaches and apricots so ripe and heavy they fall off of their branches and hit the ground with a heavy thud. Beautiful red strawberries, gently warmed in the sun and run down your chin juicy (I mean, if you would even let a drop of that sweetness escape….). So earlier this summer, I packed the littles up, invited a great friend (the same one who is helping me with the kicking the poop out of plan B), and went to one of my favorite farms to gather our delicious bounty.

As we got to the field that sunny, crisp morning, the family that owns the farm invited us to grab our berry carriers and go anywhere to start picking, as the plants were overrun with fruit. As we started our tiny trek, carriers in hand, one of farm staff called out, “Make sure you try lots of them! One for the box, one for the belly.” I had to laugh, as my dad had a similar saying, except two went to the belly.

Needless to say, not long after, we left with both full bellies and full boxes. The littles had red-stained hands, faces (including an ear?), and clothes, and in some miracle of nature, no whining occurred while we picked! Note to self: mark that on the calendar….

As I reflected on the generosity of this invitation to eat as many berries as we picked, I began to wonder what it would be like if we gave as much to ourselves as we give to others. Most of us are far more generous with what we try to give to others—our time, kindness, listening ears, help, support, grace, hugs, drop-everything-get-there-whenever-in-need, kind of generous. But when it comes to our own hearts, our own desires, the things that we need to be whole and nurtured, we are far less charitable. We beat ourselves up, overly critical of what we do, say, think or how we appear.

What if, for the next 24 hours, every time you did something for someone else you committed to (and followed through with!) doing something small for yourself, giving yourself that same act of love you showed someone else? What if you challenged every self-critical thought with a positive thought, one that affirms and brings back into focus your gifts, talents, and everything amazing you give to the world. Are you ready to take this challenge? I dare you.

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