How to be generous.

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Photo Credit: Catherine Just

Don’t keep score. If you bring “obligation” into the equation, it makes everything janky. We all do favours (personally, I’m leery of favours) for each other and hope that it will be reciprocated – reciprocity is such a beautiful part of being human…together.

But…really really really it doesn’t matter what you did for anyone yesterday. Really it doesn’t. Don’t let it. You gave it. Let it go. No one owes you anything.

Remembah! (this requires a Yonkers accent): Ya can’t do nuthin’ by yerself. Everyone needs someone to pull it awff. So just give your love freely, with zero resentment. We need each other.

PLAN to give. Plan your giving like you’d plan a vacation every year or a home reno – for real, and with a schedule and a budget. Create a triple bottom line in your business – profits for charity, trees planted for every book sold. At the start of the new year, map out a birthday plan for your beloveds. You don’t need to shop months in advance, this isn’t about being nutty organized. But planning to give has you always listening and looking for how to best give.

Let go of things you think you cherish. A waitress at dinner complimented my friend on her earrings. My very cool friend left the earrings with the tab. I bet that small act rocked the waitress’ world. How much do you really need your stuff? Sometimes we hold onto things for the “principle”. Like say, your bestie loves all things owls but you’re holding on to that owl-embroidered smock that you never wear because your aunt made it. Give it.

Go ahead, be impulsive. For about a year and a half I’ve been saying to Team D, “We’ve really got to up our philanthropic game.” I said it on three different occasions. (Repeat yourself three times and you’re declaring your intentions. Say it a fourth time and you’re droning.) I was about to say it a fourth time to myself and instead, impulsively, I emailed one of my activist heroines that very minute. “Look, I want to help more. How can we help? We gotta help.” Within 48 hours I got Team D involved in what I hope will be the giving campaign of my life. (Stay tuned.)

Be wildly, precisely, obsessively grateful.
 When you treasure how much you have – from your good health, free evenings, expertise, a loving soul, a bit of cash – you KNOW you have so much to give. If you’re not feeling generous, try harder to feel grateful.

Give what you want(ed) to get. Lots of great charity comes from someone’s early deprivation. Growing up poor, Tony Robbins’ family was gifted Thanksgiving dinner by a stranger one holiday. Now Tony’s International Basket Brigade feeds two million people a year.

Believe in an abundant universe. Life is proliferating life. It’s a scientific fact that there’s more where that came from. More love, more genius, more time, more you.


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