The Grandness of Being

November 2019


just returned from the sublime landscapes of Arizona and the Eastern Sierra of California. The scale there is different. The geography, wide berth of sky, mile after mile of open land, red rocks, and then granite pushing high and wide—I am still processing it all.

Next to this vastness, I felt my humanness more keenly. In essence, I felt more alive.

Isn’t that what we seek—the grandness of being? It’s not felt by covering ourselves in armor, folding in, closing our fist. These are actions that debilitate. To experience the ineffable beauty of who we are, we must let go, release, remain open.

Both giving and receiving require us to be vulnerable. To give without expectation is also to receive without guilt, without a sense that we must pay back the giver. Both experiences require letting go—yet in both experiences we gain.

In the experience of giving, we gain a sense of connection, of contribution, of purpose. In receiving, we allow another to express their love, gratitude, and humanity. The exchange is mutually beneficial.

Every November, we celebrate acts of charity, honoring individuals and organizations who’ve shaped the community through their generosity. In doing so, we also highlight those who benefit from the charitable acts of others. I’m always moved by the stories of our Giving Issue, ones that are only a slice of all that happen daily around us.

In the words of philosopher Erich Fromm, “In the very act of giving, I experience my strength, my wealth, my power. I experience myself as overflowing, spending, alive, hence as joyous . . . in the act of giving lies the expression of my aliveness.”

It’s in this choice to act—to give and to receive—that we experience the grandness of who we are.


Blair Knobel
Twitter / Instagram: @LBKNOBEL