One interesting suggestion i read for developing generosity starts off simple: try passing a beloved object from your left hand to your right. Even that tiny transfer can pull your heart if the object is very precious. From there perhaps you can build up to greater acts of generosity. Imagine giving away the most valuable thing you own! OUCH!
I gave my brother this box that my dear departed mother stipulated in her will ten years ago should go to him, but that I had been hoarding like golem. My dad made it for her. I wanted it. For three months I had practiced giving it back by emptying it of all the jewelry and placing it on a high shelf.
Appropriately, while G n R were visiting we watched an episode of Hoarders that showed people who were easy to sympathize with but who had been undone by their attachment to things. It is compelling television because every person has disturbing little corners of their homes, little piles of papers, gifts we can’t get rid of, scarves we keep forgetting to return, things that might come in useful someday. For most of us, these things aren’t piles of trash and fecal matter, but you can see how it could happen.
Another thing I’ve been holding onto is the idea that at any moment I might leave the country, meet the man or woman of my dreams and relocate to New Mexico or Old Mexico, or SF or the island of Elba. This despite the fact that in NYC I worked for the same place and lived in one neighborhood for 6 years (not, actually, the free spirit I imagine myself to be.)
My brother and his fiancee bought a two family house two years ago and it has consumed pretty much all their time and cash since then. Despite this they looked at a couple houses with me this weekend and helped me calculate a reasonable budget for housebuying. Since I can be in Brooklyn tonight if I have $25 and the use of my feet, it doesn’t feel so scary to commit to this location.