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Natural Awakenings Richmond

Letter from Publisher

Photo credit: Kim Lee Photography

Happy 2020!

Welcome to a new year and a new decade full of many wonderful opportunities for healthy living. We all know that hindsight is said to be 20/20, well, this year you will have the opportunity for 2020 reflection each and every day—a beautiful chance to consciously and intentionally make and evaluate your choices. What choices will you make that will lead to a healthier, happier you and a healthier, happier planet? I have chosen to shift to a more plant-based diet, and we will be adding solar to our home and a beehive to our yard. I am excited about these changes. I encourage you to flip through the pages of this issue to learn about more ways you can focus on living well. And please visit the “green pages” in the back of our magazine—our Healthy Living Directory—chock full of businesses, practitioners, products and services to help you live a happier, healthier, more balanced life.

Something else I will be focusing on in this new year is generosity. To find more and better ways to “live from the heart instead of the ego”. I invite you to join me…

The Generous Heart: How Giving Transforms Us

by Cindy Ricardo

One of the ways we come into balance and connection with each other and with life is by giving from the heart. When we give to others, whether it’s an act of kindness, generosity or compassion, it helps us live from the heart instead of the ego.

Living from the ego is painful and exhausting. It’s like feeding a hungry monster that’s never satisfied. Ego craves, pursues and clings to status, approval, material wealth and control. It views the world through the eyes of fear—constantly evaluating, judging and acting in ways that are self-centered, defensive and protective. Like with Scrooge, ego closes our heart and makes us small, fearful and contracted.

By contrast, generosity requires that we open our hearts to the world and each other. We allow ourselves to be vulnerable. In doing this, we open ourselves fully to life, love and relationships. We let go of striving and pursuing things. When we stop striving, we begin to see, value and respond to what’s happening in the present moment in ways that are healthy and healing. Our priority shifts from acquiring things to appreciating what we have and being open to sharing with others.

Generosity is a quality of kindness, of living from a place of abundance. We see the world through a clear lens that isn’t clouded by fear, wanting or clinging. When we interact with others, our connection is genuine. We see people instead of judgments or labels.

Being generous arises from the heart, not the wallet. We don’t need to have material wealth in order to be generous. The only requirement is a willingness to open our hearts, to see life as it is and to interact with others from a place of compassion and love. Some examples of generous acts are:

  • Doing a household chore without being asked.
  • Setting aside what we’re doing and listening to someone in need of emotional support.
  • Telling loved ones what we appreciate about them.
  • Listening to children and trying to see the world through their eyes before offering advice.
  • Smiling at a stranger.
  • When asking, “How are you?” looking into the person’s eyes and taking time to truly listen with an attitude of curiosity and compassion.

Generosity awakens goodness in the heart, and this helps us open to life, love and relationships.

Cindy Ricardo is a Coral Springs, Florida-based psychotherapist who blogs at

Here’s to a prosperous, generous and very healthy New Year! Happy Reading!