Giving. We've heard it's better for you than receiving. It's mentioned in many spiritual practices as being advantageous for growth. Heard of Dana? The giving (service) action creates an inner peace and purity.
Let me tell you - I've just experienced the liberation!
I think we all have some degree of guilt within us about how little we really give. Particularly when (in our day and age) it can be interpreted as weak or even needy (of response). Don't we all get a bit caught up in giving to ourselves and honouring our own lives?
Here is what happened:
I got a call from Greenpeace the other week.
My first response to the voice "ugh okay.." (I'm in the middle of editing photographs but I'll listen.)
"Thanks for your past support, it was really fantastic. Now we really need you again."
I notice how poorly the girl is reading her script and I feel detached. She goes on,
"Do you know about the reef and all that's going on there?"
Yeah yeah, I know....
... and soon enough I get off the phone with my non-committal "Let me look at the site, read up on it and I'll make a donation or something"
She asks if she can call me next week. "Ok".
So over the next two weeks I see that number come up about six times and I don't answer. Why don't I answer?
Because I have an instant feeling of harassment... like someone who turns up at my door wanting a donation or comes up to my car to wash my windows... even if my windows are dirty or I believe in the cause I just instantly get my back up and am starting from a 'no' point of view or at least "NOT NOW".
Do you relate?
I have to think about it. I really do hate being sold to. It's irritating. I also don't like to be manipulated or sucked in... but what's with this issue of being sucked in to something I actually do care about? It's a shame my little reaction applies to things I would actually do by choice given a non direct approach...
I've even got some money to burn that I can definitely afford to give so what stops me from acting now?
Let's be realistic though. When do we really make that choice and give our credit card over to things we believe in? We may have intentions but we don't often just do it.
And then that little subtle guilty feeling sits and grows inside us. It's so subtle you might not know it's there... but then after you remove it - hey there is a lovely space there instead.
Here's my method of how we do it.
Decide how much, right now, you want to donate per month to anything.
What can you afford? What will really go fairly unnoticed in your life?
$20, $50, $100 / month?
(Consider that a coffee is $4 x 30 days = $120/month)
What causes do you want to prioritise?
Environmental, Human Rights, Animals, Getup, Political Parties, Forest Regeneration, Local, Global, Water, Children... yep, there is so much to choose from but just pick 1-3.
Divide up your monthly money as you like.
Go to each site and set up your monthly donation from your credit card.
Sit back, close your eyes and see how you feel. Has something changed inside?
Woohoo! You really DID something, are continuing to do something and now you can feel OK when organisations pester you (and if you decline them). Who knows maybe they won't seem so pestery. You may even make a choice to donate at another time.
So I've just set up my donation to Greenpeace. ahhhh...
I like that I can now lie on the beach and I'm still giving.
Note: This is also a fantastic way to deal with overseas trips to developing countries with lots of beggars and needy people. Come up with a figure per day, give it out how you like and remove the guilt.
[current mood] Avocado & Game of Thrones