We are taking a break from our regularly scheduled programming in order to recap May’s Monthly Mantra & Giving Challenge, and pass along the Monthly Mantra love to June!
I feel like a little kid on my birthday…May’s Monthly Mantra & Challenge was an experience I’ve just been bursting to share.
Never heard of a Monthly Mantra before? Check out this article to learn the ins and outs.
May’s Monthly Mantra was “I give you my heart & soul, so that Universal compassion might heal us both”, but the Challenge was the real kicker: “Set a giving goal for the Month of May. Keep track of every time you give and share your results at the end of the month.” So here goes nothing…
First, I just want to thank everyone who decided to accept the May Giving Challenge. It was truly wonderful to hear about all the giving pledges occurring around the world. My boyfriend even decided to accept the pledge as well… by giving more to me this month! (ha -I swear I did not know this would be a perk of creating the Challenge!) I got lots of to-die-for back massages this month, so I think the Challenge was a success!
My personal goal was to give $100 to the homeless in New York City this month.
(To find out more about how I came to this goal, and how you can set your own giving goal, check out this post )
And I’m happy to say – I achieved my goal!
Here is the breakdown of how I gave this month:
5/1 – 5/27 – Distributed $20 worth of $1 bills to the homeless of New York City.
5/27 – Donated $80 to NYC’s DOE Fund . It’s a program that helps the homeless find jobs, develop work-related skills, and transition into the workforce. The program supports its participants while they are enrolled, plus continues to support and guide them upon completion. Not only does it cover the immediate needs of the formerly homeless (like shelter, food, clothing, etc.), but it helps create a space to break the cycle. And that’s why I loved it so much – because if you are managing to barely stay afloat, it is nearly impossible to break the cycle and get to where you want to be. This can be true about anything you encounter in life. Only with progress and action can you see true change!
You Get What You Give:
It was such a phenomenal month, and I feel like I tapped into a portal of compassion I didn’t even realize I had within me. Of course, it didn’t come without its hurdles and a few funny stories. Here are some of the lessons I experienced this month…
- Not going to lie, at first I had some major resistance to giving. I was mortified by this reaction. Why?! Here I am, creating and tackling this Month’s Challenge, and straight off the bat, I’m having a tough time. What could be so hard?
I realized that I was uncomfortable because I kept thinking, “Am I really helping?” I doubted the impact I could make. I wanted to know what I could do to help the MOST, and I just couldn’t figure out what I could do to fulfill that need.
I couldn’t get myself to give at first. Was that man sleeping on the sidewalk even conscious? Was someone going to steal the money while he was sleeping? I found myself making excuses, like ‘I’m in a huge rush for an appointment…I’ll give next time’. Living in New York City for the past 6 years has really desensitized me. I was afraid of getting swindled, of my kindness and compassion being taken for granted.
But I realized that this is a risk that you take with anything that you do in life.
You don’t give for the validation. Because, as I quickly learned, you might not get any. And I’m not going to lie, that was hard to get used to! You might not know if your money actually helped or if it was abused, no matter where you give. But you have to give because then there is a chance it might actually help. That’s why we fall in love, right? We take the risk getting hurt, but we do it for the chance that we might not. Because the risk is worth it. You have to get over a lot of “you” shit to get to a place where you can give to others.
This whole month gave me a new appreciation for charities and non-profit organizations. They make it their business to learn and implement the most beneficial ways to help others, and I’m just in awe of all that they do.
It can be scary to come in contact with someone who is experiencing life without a sense of abundance. I felt powerless; What could I possibly do to help break the cycle? This month was all about answering that question.
- I really tried to make an effort to make eye contact and smile when I was giving away money. Because you can give more than just money. Especially in NYC, smiles from strangers are few and far between. You can give hope, you can give kindness and you can give compassion to anyone. And it’s free!
- I found it empowering to have dollar bills in my hand and to physically be able to give them away. It gave me a sense of abundance like none another, because I could SEE it happening. Debit cards make money a very abstract thing, you know? You don’t feel it when it’s there or when it’s gone (which can be a problem)! It felt really great to see the transfer of abundance firsthand!
- It felt the best when I could find ways to immediately help people, even with the little things.
I was in line at the Post Office and I overheard two ladies behind me talking about how they wanted to buy stamps. They had been waiting for awhile, so they decided to ditch the line and buy some at the automatic kiosk. From my recent, somewhat unfortunate, experience – I knew the kiosks only sold stamps with Spiderman on them and they were NON-refundable. (Gotta love the US Post office! – ugh!) So I got one of the ladies attention and I said, “Oh, I just wanted to let you know, the kiosk only prints Spiderman Stamps” and she turned to me and said, “Really?! Thank you for letting me know! We were just about to buy 200 stamps for my wedding invitations!” Ha! Unless you are having a comic book themed wedding, Spiderman stamps might not be your first choice! They were very grateful that I brought it to their attention and saved them from wasting all that money. So remember, your experience can help others too, and all you have to do is speak up and share!
- Why did I think that my outlook on giving money was going to be any different than how I feel about spending money ? When I spend money, it all comes down to value – making my money go as far as I can. That’s my belief about money, and I found that it still applied with giving. With giving, I wanted to maximize the amount of help that I could with each dollar. And I came to the conclusion that donating to charity does that much more than individual contributions. It was fascinating to realize that the ingrained beliefs you have about money stick , despite what you spend it on.
I just wanted my help to do something. And the more I think about it, moving forward, volunteering might fulfill that need even more than donating money – I can actually feel the impact of my personal actions.
- I now feel a greater sense of appreciation when people give to me! Like when UPS (NOT to be confused with the United States Postal Service, mind you!) gave me a credit for a mistake that I made when shipping a package – thank you, thank you, thank you!
- Sometimes you bend down to put a dollar in a homeless man’s cup, and you realize your nose is 2 inches away from a rat sitting on his shoulder! AHHH!
- Not a single person asked me for money on the subway during the challenge! Can you believe it?! That’s nearly unheard of in the city!
- I have a much greater appreciation for the people who dedicate their lives to helping others. THANK YOU FOR ALL THAT YOU DO!
- If I gave just $1 to every homeless person I came in contact with during the ENTIRE month, it would have only cost me $25 total. Isn’t that nuts? I would have thought it would cost much more! I challenge you to think of some easy ways to cut out $25 a month. Maybe it’s skipping one or two meals out at a restaurant per month, or cutting back on a drink or two when you are out with friends.
The Gift I Was Given This Month?
Ultimately, I learned that with giving it’s best to be clear with what you want to accomplish. What EXACTLY do you want to do? Do you want to help the environment? Do you want to make higher education more accessible to our youth?
After that, you need to analyze the best course of action; how can you make it happen? Is donating money the best way? Or maybe it’s volunteering or spreading awareness. And only then will you feel good with your choice. If it feels right to you, then you have made the perfect decision.
People might try to convince you to give in other ways, but the most love happens when you give in ways that resonate with your individual soul and specific intention.
Believe it or not, the hardest part of the challenge was keeping money in my purse!
I decided that in regards to giving to the homeless moving forward, if I have it on me – I will give it. Other than that, I’ll make a greater effort to think through my best options, in order to maximize their impact on the issues that sit closest to my heart.
Did you accept the May Monthly Mantra Challenge? If so, please share your results in the comments below!
June 2014 Monthly Mantra:
Alright, now it is time to move on to bigger and better things! This month’s Monthly Mantra is going to be an activity as well…a Soultiply book club! Now you have an excuse to improve yourself while lounging on the beach! This month, we are going to read Anita Moorjani’s book “ Dying to Be Me ”.
I first heard of this book when I witnessed Wayne Dyer speak at the I Can Do It Conference in October of last year.
Anita’s battle with cancer and subsequent near-death-experience taught her about unconditional love and how to make the most of our time here on earth. In fact, she healed herself of the disease merely WEEKS after the life-altering experience. I’m excited to read her story and to gain some insight from what she has learned.
Whenever you use a book as a Monthly Mantra, trust that the messages and lessons you absorb will be exactly what you need to hear this month, and know that you’ll be able to use each bit of inspiration in your own, unique way.
Let me know if you plan on reading Anita’s book, and I can’t wait to share our insights together in July!