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On to the next 30 Days!

11 Mar

Help the youngest victims of today's earthquake in Japan

I’ve just completed by second 30-Day experiment – the Giving Project has come to an end, and I am ready to embark on my next experiment: 30 Days of Meditation. This experiment experiment will consist of a disciplined meditation, 15-20 minutes in length, EVERY single day. Before we get to that, though, I’ll recap briefly the last days of the Giving Project. Continue reading

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Can Giving Make you a Better Person?

8 Mar

One of the most valuable aspects of this “30 Days of Giving” experiment that I can share is this: Forcing myself to think of something to give, every day – even when it’s hard, some days more of an effort than others – forces me to think of something outside myself. Every single day. We all get wrapped up in our lives, and mostly I don’t think it’s because we’re selfish. We have jobs, families, responsibilities – we all have a lot going on. But the most impactful aspect of this project, to me, has been that focusing on something other than myself. Many days, when I have been stressed or maybe not had the best day, my giving seems to be the thing that centers me and makes my day good again. Looking outside ourselves and our own lives and problems is a very valuable lesson. Continue reading

You can Incorporate Giving into your Everyday Life

2 Mar

Some rights reserved by jesse.millan

Although sometimes it’s a chore to have to think about what and where to give every single day, for the most part this experiment has demonstrated to me how easy it is to give, in small ways, in our everyday life. To grab a few extra cans of food when you’re grocery shopping to drop in the food pantry box; to add that extra dollar to the animal shelter at the pet store check-out. When we’re not “saving ourselves up” for the big gives or volunteer days, it’s not that difficult to find easy ways to give on a regular basis, that make a big difference when added up. I encourage you to look for the little things you can do, easily, while you go about your daily work and errands. You might be surprised – and I promise that giving will make your day. Continue reading

If the Unemployed can give $10 a day, can you?

26 Feb

Reed Sandridge lost his job last year and took up a new hobby. He gives away $10 every day to someone who looks as if they could use it, a different person each day. And Sandridge expects nothing in return but a good feeling.

Now I can’t help but wonder, if he can do it, why can’t we? It doesn’t have to be $10, or even money, but I have read – and experienced – a lot of the phenomenon that people who have the least give the most – the New York Times calls it the “compassion deficit.” Continue reading

Giving Time means more than Giving Money

21 Feb

Some rights reserved by epSos.de

I’m about halfway through my 30 Days of Giving project, and having done some sort of giving each day – from volunteer time to monetary and goods donations – I can tell you that it’s a lot easier to give your money than it is to give your time. This premise applies to many things, not just charitable giving; in fact, parenting comes to mind, when sometimes parents find it easier to just buy their kids lots of stuff than actually spend time with them, which is far more valuable.

But I digress. Some may take issue with the title of this post, because let’s face it: Nonprofit organizations depend on money. Big money endowments. And I am not in any way belittling the value of that. In fact, in my experience the people who have huge amounts of money to donate, are often very involved in the nonprofits they support, often serving as board members and in other capacities. Money is the lifeblood that keeps nonprofits going. But for individuals, from the giver’s perspective – writing a check is a lot easier than giving your time to a cause. When you give your time, to anything, it says “I value this; it is important enough to me to give of myself.” Food for thought. Continue reading

Back to Basics: School, Medical Care and Food

17 Feb

Over the past three days, my giving has centered around basic human needs – not by design, that just happened to be the gives I made.

Monday, Feb 14: I received a message from Horac Nepal, a home for children who have lost one or both parents and which I have supported in the past. The message was that the new school term in Nepal is about to begin, and the children at Horac are in desperate need of school supplies. I was happy to donate some money to go toward this for today’s give. On a completely random sidenote, I love their Volunteers page. Obviously they have had many volunteers from The Netherlands – but they go on to identify all other volunteers as “from the Finland,” “from the Canada” and so on. Cute! Continue reading

Donation drive for Kenyan Orphanage (& other gives)

14 Feb

Rocky with the girls of St. Monica's

Before I get started on a recap of what my last few days of giving were, I’d like to say that if you would like to participate, even just this week to honor the Day of Love (who said it had to be limited to romantic love?) – the Random Acts of Kindness people have issued an Extreme Kindness Challenge. From February 14-20, perform an act of kindness each day. Who’s in? Continue reading