A Time for Giving (things away!)


This is the time of year when we have the deepest urge to reach out, help others and give to those who are less fortunate. Thanksgiving reminds us of the abundance we have and how ...

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This is the time of year when we have the deepest urge to reach out, help others and give to those who are less fortunate. Thanksgiving reminds us of the abundance we have and how much we have to share--probably even more than we realize.

But there are still many people who cannot bring themselves to give things away, even though they know they don't need, use or want them any longer. I would like to help you get over that by starting with this list of questions you can ask yourself if you are having trouble deciding:

What is the attachment I have to this particular article?
When did I last use, look at or wear this?
Do I really need or want this?
What is the likelihood I will use it again?
Can I make money from it?
Would someone else benefit from having it?
Is it so special I want a special person to have it?
Will my life change in any way if I get rid of this?
What is the absolute worst that could happen if I got rid of it?

In my life, I try to strive for the philosophy that was so eloquently stated by the author of Simple Abundance, Sarah Ban Breathnach: "All we have is all we need." Do you ever really think about all you have that you don't really need? To paraphrase a wonderful quote by Coco Chanel, once we have the basic necessities in life, everything else is a luxury. And she could not be more right. When it comes to the struggles we go through about giving things away, it may help to keep these things in mind and realize how fortunate we really are. And sharing this with people who are less fortunate will only bring more fortune your way.

There is a great charity I would like to tell you about and tell you about. It's called The Box Project (www.boxproject.org) and the concept is that you, as the donor, are matched up with an impoverished person or family, the recipient. The basic idea is for you to send them boxes of things they need: food, toiletries, clothing, etc. And, of course, you are only expected to do this within your means.

The woman that I help is located in Mississippi and we have been in contact for a few years now. We are no longer affiliated with The Box Project but I continue to help her on my own. I help to supplement her food needs, send her simple things that we take for granted every day such as toilet paper and soap. And I also send her my give away clothes and anything that I feel I no longer want or need, from candles to knick knacks to extra cooking utensils. And there are times when I send her something extra for her birthday or Christmas, such as a winter coat or providing her with an air conditioner. But this is totally up to the donor.

One day I received a promotional pen from an event I attended and I, being the organized person that I am, did not want to add it to the abundance of pens that I already have. So, I tossed it in the box I was sending to Mississippi without a second thought. Well, when the next letter arrived, thanking me for the box, my friend was absolutely beside herself, thanking me for the "ink pen" that I sent her. It was at that moment that I realized that all of the letters she had written to me were in pencil and even more humbling was the fact that something I tossed in the box as an afterthought meant so much to her. Things like this really make you stop and think and be so thankful for all we have.

The real point of this article is to get you to think. Think about all of those things you do not want to part with, which you know in your heart of hearts you don't want, need or use. What about the clothing that doesn't fit any longer? Why let it waste valuable space in your closet when it can make someone else so happy? What about books you no longer read or know you never will, the endless knick knacks that are just dust collectors. . . I'm sure there are plenty of things you know that you can part with but for some reason have not yet allowed yourself to do so.

I wish you all a happy & healthy holiday season and hope the spirit of giving moves you. It accomplishes only good things: helping others and helping yourself