The Gift Decider

I have been thinking a lot about giving. Also, a lot about want and need. These thoughts have come from the season, from conversations, from struggles and arguments and from inspiring, hard-working agents of change and good. You will remember last week I talked mostly of the pressure to have a Perfect Christmas. And while this is always there, nagging me, with questions and doubts: Have I decorated enough? Should I make 12 dozen cookies? Will there be enough presents? Did I buy too many presents? Does it smell like CHRISTMAS in this house?? I  work to steer my thoughts toward giving, and giving in ways that won’t add to the over-consumption rampant in our culture. How can I give in a way that feels right?

I am enjoying putting my mind to creative ways to give this year. How can I be of service to folks in need? How can I help a friend out? What are some ways to give without increasing the burden of more possessions onto the receiver of the gift? Here is my gift to you, Dear Reader. It is my wish that this will help you in your shopping, ease your burden and allow you to truly enjoy the season- stress free. I give you the gift decider:

giftdeciderThere you go. Your choices are: buy yourself something, get them something they NEED or Do Some Good. I love the Heifer Project. There you can help end hunger in developing nations by buying a goat or a flock of chickens. The livestock creates a source of income for the recipient, giving families the means to support themselves and break the poverty cycle. When you make a donation, you pick the level of support and you get a greeting card for the family member or friend under whose name you made the contribution. They don’t have a fruitcake to smile about and you can do some real good.  Another way to do a lot of good with your holiday money is to support the Nyaka School. The Utopia Foundation is matching contributions (by 50%) to the Nyaka Aids Orphans Project. Jackson Kaguri travels back to his village in Uganda to assist a generation of children orphaned by the aids epidemic. It is his mission that each of these children have a safe home with food, water and access to education. A donation of $250 supports a child for a year a whole year: food, housing, medical care, uniform and schooling! Instead of ‘thanks for the socks’, your family can be involved in an amazing program to love and educate children in Nyaka, Uganda.

Happy shopping!

Looking for Helpers

What is it about asking for help?

I had this idea for my group of girlfriends that we would adopt a person in need for the holidays. They were easily brought on board. Yes, what can we do to help? I found a person in great need, made a flyer, let the team know what we needed to do and then…freaked out. I was wracked with self-doubt, What if I can’t accomplish this? Who am I to think I could help anyone? and the kicker, the deal breaker, the ultimate fear phrase, I am not enough to get this done. I am not enough.

I didn’t set out to cure world hunger or house all the homeless.

“We are going to help one person.” I said. A very manageable goal.

Clearly, this is not about helping or not helping. I have organized fundraisers before. I grew up with a Mom who was forever helping, strays- humans and animals alike. On more than one occasion I came home to find a new person would be ‘staying with us for a while, until they got back on their feet’. She is generous with her time and limited resources. Helping is something we do. So, why the worry? Why the fear?

It comes down to this, it’s physics. Every action has  an equal and opposite reaction, Issac Newton’s Third Law of physics to be precise. It’s science that a motion will be met with a counter force. And while it may seem a bit loosey-goosey for some to make the leap from physical mass to intention or thought, we are still talking about energy and the principle applies. It is part of the structure of nature for the opposite to be present and push back.  Steven Pressfield, calls this Resistance in The War of Art. He writes that when a person moves to progress, naturally there will be a push back, almost always presented as fear in some form. Pressfield suggests that a person acknowledge the Resistance as evidence of movement, in other words, it’s a good sign. You set out to do something, to elevate, to improve, to make this a better place and there will be road blocks, real road blocks, some of your own making, some inherent in the process, some in your own mind, give them a nod and keep moving onward.

We are all able to achieve what we set our minds to achieve. It is not my inability to get things done, to stick to something, to commit, to persevere, to accomplish great things causing this second guessing and hesitation. It is my intention, action, wish, declaration, movement being met with resistance. I have only to lean into, push back until a way opens up and I get closer to my goal. The doubt is there as part of the process but, it is a little quieter, easier to manage– knowing it comes with action. I don’t know about you but, I’m not listening to fear phrases today.

Oh, and if you would like to help us with our one person, please contact me. We can always use one more helper.

Onward.