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Corona Week 8: Generosity

It’s 8am. I’ve just finished my usual routine of walking the dogs and then making my butternut squash pancakes (sugar and gluten free) and drinking my very favorite steaming hot mug of turmeric chai. I usually listen to music to get the mood for my day right and today, it’s Octopizzo… an artist from Kenya. It’s beachy and soulful and rap all mixed into one and I find myself swaying side to side to the music… lost in the rhythm… thinking about my friends in Africa. Recently, I’ve been “going” to Global Healthy Happy Hour on Friday nights with Africa Yoga Project over Zoom… we meet, learn about the work they are doing, and then we yoga slash dance to a live DJ. I’ve never had so much fun dancing alone in our office, and yet not feeling alone at all… knowing there are hundreds of us doing this across the globe.. Connecting the only way we know how right now. It’s a strange time really, of feeling more connected than ever to so many.

My stimulus check arrived Friday. We used it to pay off the last of our credit card debt (what a blessing). We split my husband's check between us both for fun money. It was a relief and I felt so grateful to be out of debt and on the other side. I also feel the weight of just how much we have compared to so many in this time. Sure, we live in a tiny house and we still don't have a real, flushing toilet and plumbing and our door blows open when it gets really windy sometimes and… we have so much more than so many. A roof over our head. An abundance of food. The ability to keep supporting our gym by paying membership fees even though we can’t be there. I’m reminded of how easily my perspective can move to what I don’t have… and then I remember just how much I do have.

I’ve felt really strongly, in my bones, in my heart, during this time… the urge to give, even the little that I do have. To give back and support and uplift people. For me that is for sure local… it’s also global… because some of the folks in Africa are my local people. In Africa, many aren’t able to save like we are. Many aren’t able to live more than day to day. May can’t social distance because they are packed into houses in the slums. Many are dying. Starving. For $6, Africa Yoga Project can buy a kit of food that feeds a family of 4 for a week. $6! I heard that and thought, “Wow. I think everybody has $6. Imagine if 100 people donated $6. We could feed 100 families for a week.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about generosity lately. How it’s so easy in this weird strange time to want to hoard and hang onto things… how I’ll be at the grocery store and see one more can of Clorox wipes and feel the urge to buy it even though I don't need it, because it’s the last one on the shelf. How I’ll feel the urge to stock up on frozen food. “Just in case.” It’s been humbling to see this and to really try and stick to going to the store only once a week. I see how much I buy in excess… how much I spend that I don’t actually need.

What if that excess could go somewhere? To local businesses? To people in need? To tipping my delivery person? To mailing a book or a present to a friend? To making care packages for our neighbors? To starving people in Africa? To our local bakery? To our friends yoga studio? Imagine the difference even just 5 or 10 dollars of excess could make.

I fully believe that money is currency and currency is energy. That the more we let it flow out… the more it comes in. And so I’ve been stretching myself. Saying yes to that button on the grocery checkout that asks if you want to donate $5 to whatever cause they are supporting. Donating $5 more than I might normally for a yoga class. Tipping generously. It’s a practice of noticing when my mind says, “No. keep it. You need it for yourself.” and gently reminding said self that I won’t die if this $5 goes elsewhere. It’s also made me feel more open and connected.

I would challenge you to think about your own life and how you can be generous. And do it in a way that feels good in your heart. For me right now, that is giving money. For some of you, that could be giving your time. Your creativity. Your yoga classes. Try on practicing generosity for the sake of generosity for a week and see what happens. See how you feel. See what impact it can make in your community and world. Now is the time to be generous, rather than stingy. With our money, our time, our selves. Now is the time to stand for and support each other however we can. Because we really are all in this together, and to get through it together, we’ve got to be for each other.

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