I have pondered a word for the upcoming year, a word that will stick with me, to me, and travel with me every day and night; a word that will stand in my path and stop me cold; one that will massage my back at the day’s end; one that will be a mentor of sorts.
The word has been following me around for about 10 days now, so I think I am ready to adopt it.
I did need to do a bit of research on this word, however, and here is what I discovered:
generous (adj.) 1580s, “of noble birth,” from Middle French généreux, from Latin generosus “of noble birth,” figuratively “magnanimous, generous,” from genus (genitive generis) “race, stock” (see genus). Secondary senses of “unselfish” (1690s) and “plentiful” (1610s) were present in French and in Latin. Related: Generously; generousness.
genus (n.) (plural genera), 1550s as a term of logic, “kind or class of things” (biological sense dates from c.1600), from Latin genus (genitive generis) “race, stock, kind; family, birth, descent, origin,” cognate with Greek genos”race, kind,” and gonos “birth, offspring, stock,” from PIE root *gen(e)- “produce, beget, be born” (cf. Sanskrit janati “begets, bears,” janah “race,” janman- “birth, origin,” jatah “born;” Avestan zizanenti “they bear;” Greek gignesthai “to become, happen;” Latin gignere “to beget,” gnasci “to be born,” genius “procreative divinity, inborn tutelary spirit, innate quality,” ingenium “inborn character,” germen “shoot, bud, embryo, germ;” Lithuanian gentis “kinsmen;” Gothic kuni “race;” Old English cennan “beget, create;” Old High German kind “child;” Old Irish ro-genar “I was born;” Welsh geni “to be born;” Armenian chanim “I bear, I am born”).
(dictionary.com provided the above definitions).
Beyond the usual understanding–such as unselfish, magnanimous, giving–I find it interesting that generous springs from genus (which also appears to be at the root of generative). Some of those definitive words jump off the page and into my heart–shoot, bud, to become, produce…and my favorite: procreative divinity, inborn tutelary spirit, innate quality.
Wow! the word itself is generous!
[FYI–another source indicated that generous means liberal–I really like that!]
Great–I know a bit more about the word–and, if you are still reading this post, so do you ♥
The ultimate question for me is this: what does this word, this mentor of sorts, mean in my life?
That is yet to be determined, of course, but let me suggest the following categories that might be transformed by the meaning of this word:
Clothing (of course!)–Will I be generous in wearing what I already own? In purchasing fair trade (and encouraging this practice?) In giving away what I really don’t need or wear? In utilizing my fabric cache to create in a generous spirit of design and quality?
Quiet–How? Am I willing to offer a spirit of largess in silence or will I fill my senses generously?
Food–Organic? Home-grown? Can I foster greater awareness of local and world hunger? Will I be generous in helping to stock various pantries? Am I up for the challenge to creatively cook with what is already in the freezer?
Relationships–-In lieu of rest, might I make “catching up time” for friends and family? What is the most generous option here?
Creativity–-In the pursuit of personal growth, can I find the courage and energy to open and prioritize my calendar for matters of the creative heart?
Prayer–Is it possible for me to learn to surrender my noisy spirit just a bit to listen and grow spiritually?
These are a few areas I suspect I shall explore over the next twelve months. Other opportunities will undoubtedly make themselves known.
I believe I have generated enough food for thought for the present moment…