“Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth, ‘You owe me’.  Look what happens with a love like that – it lights the whole sky.”  – Hafiz of Persia 

Lily and her canine colleagues are all masters of the art of unconditional giving – and of receiving. Lily will happily spend long periods of time patiently cleaning Poppy’s eyes, or Theo’s ears – and they, in their turn, will happily let her. As a puppy, when teething, Theo would chew enthusiastically on his mother, Lily’s, ears, while she lay patiently, not seeming to mind the soggy outcome, or the subsequent crispiness of dried, licked fur.

What happens when we give somebody a gift, or an offer of help…  Do we expect something in return?  Are we offended if the person receiving it doesn’t like our gift, or chooses to give it away again to somebody else?  The Aborigines would say, if we have that sort of attachment to a gift, then it is not a gift at all, it is something else.  If it is a true gift then it is given unconditionally; we should not mind at all what the other person chooses to do with it, and certainly have no expectation of receiving anything in exchange.

And when somebody offers us a gift, do we receive it graciously and with gratitude – or do we feel beholden to the giver and consider that we have to reciprocate in some way?  When we accept a gift with genuine gratitude we are already giving something back to the giver – the gift of true appreciation.

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