Tag Archives: pay it forward

Have a Potlatch

This is a blog written by Lee Gale Gruen aimed at helping Baby Boomers and seniors find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life. Her memoir, available on Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class (click here for website: AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com)

NEWS:  I will be giving a free lecture titled “Reinventing Yourself in Your Senior Years” on December 9, 2014, 10:00am, at the SCAN Senior Resource Center, 6633 Telephone Rd, Suite 100 – Room 108, Ventura, CA 93003

Now, onto my blog:

PotlatchA potlatch, practiced by some Native Americans, is a tribal ceremony highlighted by the giving away of material and non-material (ex: titles) things. Status is achieved not by who has the most “stuff” but by who gives away the most.  Yes, the Native Americans sometimes took it to extremes with the giving-away part turning into a competition or by expecting a similar payback. However, let’s not throw out the concept of potlatch with the bath water. Maybe we can take the good parts.

We need to give away some of our stuff. We accumulate and hoard too much. Must we have more and more possessions, toys, money? When is it time to divest rather than invest? As the saying goes, “You can’t take it with you.” Of course, as a teenager who thought she knew everything, I’d point that out to my father, and he would respond, “Then I’m not going.”
Dad did, however, become more generous as he aged.

If you don’t have “stuff” you can give away, then give away intangibles such as compliments, attention, help, advice (sparingly on that one). Giving away feels good to the giver as well as the receiver.

Are you familiar with the idea of helping others when you can’t repay the benefactor of kind acts done in your behalf? I’ve posted before about this concept. (See my blog of June 6, 2014: Dealing with Regrets.) The potlatch I’m suggesting is a version of that. Sometime in your life, someone probably gave to you. The way to reciprocate is to give to someone else. The winner in that competition will be you.

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