Years ago, I volunteered as a Christmas elf, visiting elders in care facilities. We were given a button to wear stating “I Am the Gift,” and I thought “yes, this is how I wish to be in the world.” As I began practicing Buddhism as my faith tradition, I learned the concept of “dana,” loosely translated as “generosity.” Initially, it seemed to be about the Gift of Giving… which it is. And, it is also much more than that. As I grew deeper into my Buddhist practices, the experience behind “I Am the Gift,” and its foundation of generosity, became more nuanced, more compelling, more rooted… more embedded in my awareness of Interdependence: nothing is without connection or self-sufficient. Whatever we do has an effect wider and deeper than our individuality; I Am Because We Are. Gift–Giving–Generosity becomes a spectrum of ways of being human within the greater expanse of being-alive-with/within. Generosity becomes like breathing, essential to the integrity of Who I Am. Beyond being generous, I am Living Generosity. I aspire to express Generosity with everything I do; its form shows up as a response to what is needed.
Here’s how Living Generosity can look in my life: sometimes it shows up as financial; sometimes it is acts of service; sometimes it is pastoral; and sometimes it is just showing up, being present. Rather than an exchange, Living Generosity is living from and into the covenant that we are in this together, and it matters that our deepest values as caring and engaged humans are kept vital and sustainable. I Am Because We Are is also We Continue to Be as I Make Sure We Are.
PSR matters in this way: ongoingly engaged living from and into its commitment to educating transformational leaders, providing an education that informs compassionate actions based in a perspective that can witness the world both As it is now and As it can be. The generosity that PSR receives will be transformed into even more generosity by giving the world transformational leaders who can bring their talents and generosity to the world’s needs. As an alum, staff person, and financial contributor, thank you for your generosity to PSR.
Grace Gilliam ’10
Associate Director of Community Engaged Learning
After more than a decade working in the fields of telecommunications and information technology as a communications tech, systems analyst, and trainer, Grace Gilliam realized that just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean that’s what you’re meant to do. This led her to an exploration into what vocation would engage the Buddhist principle of “work to alleviate the suffering in the world.” After studying Contemplative Psychology at Naropa University in Boulder, she completed her Master of Theology at PSR, with an emphasis in Psychology and Religion, in 2010. Grace joined the staff at PSR as Associate Director of Field Education and Contextual Learning in 2012. She now serves as Associate Director of Community Engaged Learning.