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Being Generous

The Art of Right Living

By , (Author)

Paperback published by Vintage Canada (Knopf Canada)

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About This Book
This extraordinary little book has the power to heal and foster relationships, console and empower individuals, create community and help save the world by providing a spiritual ecology for our daily lives.

Think that’s a bold claim? It is, but it’s also true. We can all be generous with our money when an occasion like Christmas rolls around, or when disaster strikes as it did with the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004. But Lucinda Vardey and John Dalla Costa say that this kind of giving segregates generosity, and makes it a special activity only for special times. If we’re truly going to help this troubled world, as individuals we must investigate other possibilities for being generous as well, by helping those we interact with every day: our children, colleagues, parents, friends and the homeless men and women we encounter when out and about in our cities. We learn that the four most generous words in the English language are “I’m sorry” and “Thank you.” We learn that if we ask, “What do you need?” we may be surprised how readily we can provide assistance, and how a single generous act may turn into something that circulates to include many.

Lucinda and John are a married couple who have committed–they say “humbly and imperfectly”–to making generosity a central practice in their daily lives. What they refer to as their art of right living, within family, work and community, is both a mode of being and a value that infiltrates all others. Generosity inspires and guides them, and continually tests and teaches them. This book is filled with true stories they’ve collected about generosity in action. Being Generous is their gift to readers, written to enable and encourage us to follow the generous way.

She was famous for her work with the poor in the streets of Calcutta. One day a beggar by the road ran up to her with a small coin–financially worthless to anyone but him. It was his day’s take on a long, hot and humid day, and he wanted to give it to her. She pondered what to do. If she took the money then he would have nothing at all, but if she rejected him, it would not only hurt him but insult his generosity. She stretched out her hand–he, who never had the chance to give, could give to Mother Teresa. The joy on his face said everything to her.

The Lesson: Saying no to another’s offer denies them the joy of giving. Accepting what they wish to give–even if you don’t need it–is what practising true generosity is about.
—from Being Generous



From the Hardcover edition.
Show less
This extraordinary little book has the power to heal and foster relationships, console and empower individuals, create community and help save the world by providing a spiritual ecology for our daily lives.

Think that’s a bold claim? It is, but it’s also true. We can all be generous with our money when an occasion like Christmas rolls around, or when disaster strikes as it did with the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004. But Lucinda Vardey and John Dalla Costa say that this kind of giving segregates generosity, and makes it a special activity only for special times. If we’re truly going to help this troubled world, as individuals we must investigate other possibilities for being generous as well, by helping those we interact with every day: our children, colleagues, parents, friends and the homeless men and women we encounter when out and about in our cities. We learn that the four most generous words in the English language are “I’m sorry” and “Thank you.” We learn that if we ask, “What do you need?” we may be surprised how readily we can provide assistance, and how a single generous act may turn into something that circulates to include many.

Lucinda and John are a married couple who have committed–they say “humbly and imperfectly”–to making generosity a central practice in their daily lives. What they refer to as their art of right living, within family, work and community, is both a mode of being and a value that infiltrates all others. Generosity inspires and guides them, and continually tests and teaches them. This book is filled with true stories they’ve collected about generosity in action. Being Generous is their gift to readers, written to enable and encourage us to follow the generous way.

She was famous for her work with the poor in the streets of Calcutta. One day a beggar by the road ran up to her with a small coin–financially worthless to anyone but him. It was his day’s take on a long, hot and humid day, and he wanted to give it to her. She pondered what to do. If she took the money then he would have nothing at all, but if she rejected him, it would not only hurt him but insult his generosity. She stretched out her hand–he, who never had the chance to give, could give to Mother Teresa. The joy on his face said everything to her.

The Lesson: Saying no to another’s offer denies them the joy of giving. Accepting what they wish to give–even if you don’t need it–is what practising true generosity is about.
—from Being Generous



From the Hardcover edition.
Product Details
Paperback (320 pages)
Published: September 30, 2008
Publisher: Knopf Canada
Imprint: Vintage Canada
ISBN: 9780676978841
Other books byLucinda Vardey
  • God In All Worlds

    God In All Worlds
    An Anthology of Contemporary Spiritual Writing
    Spanning fifty years and representing traditions from Christianity, Judaism, and Hinduism to Gaia worship and New Age beliefs, this bountiful anthology forms an inclusive map of the spiritual journey and its landmarks. Its twenty-two chapters describe prayer and meditation, the power of myth, the Mother goddess and the Cosmic Christ, the struggle with evil, the gifts of love and grace, and the awe-filled encounter with a divine Other that is intensely personal yet has the capacity to transform the world. God in All Worlds includes the work of some of the great religious thinkers of our century--Krishnamurti, Paul Tillich, Martin Buber, the Dalai Lama, and Mother Teresa. But among its more than one-hundred contributors are also poets (Allen Ginsberg, Maya Angelou), novelists (Flannery O'Connor), activists (Mahatma Gandhi, Vaclav Havel), psychologists (Carl Jung, Abraham Maslow), feminists (Germaine Greer, Robin Morgan), naturalists (Barry Lopez), and physicists (Albert Einstein, Fritjof Capra). The result is a book of dazzling breadth and insight that will inspire, console, enlighten, and renew readers for years to come.

    The Flowering of the Soul

    The Flowering of the Soul
    A Book of Prayers by Women
    In a book overflowing with grace, Lucinda Vardey-- compiler of the international bestseller of Mother Teresa's spiritual teachings A Simple Path-- gathers an incandescent, unprecedented selection of nearly a thousand prayers and the thoughts about them, set down through the ages by women of many faiths. St. Teresa of Ávila, Simone Weil, Emily Dickinson, Annie Dillard, Julian of Norwich, Sun Bu-er, Marianne Williamson, and hundreds of others are among the saints, teachers, poets, healers, and anonymous spiritual women whose prayers of praise and thanksgiving, mercy and courage, and surrender and holy love inspire and celebrate the soul's unfolding. This collection is unparalleled in its illustration of the unity of women's faith. Within its pages, there is spiritual sustenance to last a lifetime.

    Traveling with the Saints in Italy

    Traveling with the Saints in Italy
    Contemporary Pilgrimages on Ancient Paths
    In recognizing the genius of many of Italy's well-known--and some lesser-known--saints, Vardey offers 10 pilgrimages for one or two days or a week, in a unique format of biography of early masters such as St. Benedict, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua, and others.

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