This is something I have struggled with, as do many of you now. I find myself often getting caught up in merely existing … just going through the steps and activities every day that I know I must do in order to survive and pay my bills, feed my family, and maintain my physical independence. And it is a passionless, de-humanizing experience. A slippery slope that can be difficult to avoid falling into when you lose touch with your enthusiasm for life. And whose fault is it when you find yourself beginning that downward sliding spiral? What instigates it? Speaking for myself, I found it happening when I gave too much of myself to others. That is when I began to feel there is no energy or passion left to enjoy being me. In those times, I had to remind myself that the distribution of my energy and my funds was my choice and no other’s. That if I chose to give until I had nothing left, it was my own fault … a negative consequence of my own exaggerated benevolence. So what was it in me or my history that prompted me to “over give” in the first place? Not always, but there was a significant number of “giving choices” I made that were directly related to GUILT of some kind. I would see a child selling stale candy on a train platform and I would feel guilty that I never had to resort to that to survive. And so I would give the child the cash in my pocket and refuse her wares so that she may sell them to the next person. I saw my own adult offspring struggling and I would give to them before they even asked because I felt guilty that they struggled at all. I would continue to find numerous causes and people to help in this way until I began to feel frightened that I may not be able to recover. So I would work harder to recoup my funds and my freedom. And once they were regained, I would begin the cycle again. I am now a recovering “over-giver,” and I work every day challenging those feelings that I do not deserve to have enough … for I have come to believe that thought is the genesis of my guilt. And I think there are many in the world who battle with it as I do. My advice to you? Determine what level of energy and funds you need to maintain your passion for life, and work hard to achieve and retain that. Thereafter, any surplus is yours to give away as you wish … confidently so. When you finally come to believe that you DO DESERVE to be happy, healthy, and loved, you will have the clarity to tell the difference between “guilt giving” and true generosity. You will ensure that you have enough shelter, clothing, food, and love to fuel your passion for life. And from that point on, merely existing will no longer be an option.