Day 30 – Cultivating Conscious Giving

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in Money

It’s the final day of my 30 day experiment around money and I can hardly believe it! I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to make this journey and am incredibly thankful to all of you who have joined in and supported me along the way. Thank you. Thank you.

On this day, strangely enough, I am reflecting on one of the last conversations I had with my grandmother before she died. Sitting in an old farmhouse in surrounded by cornfields and hooked up to an oxygen tank, she was questioning me about giving. Of all things. I won’t bore you with the details but her parting words to me were, “you are doing it wrong.”

At the time, I was mightily pissed off. Instead of saying I love you and I know I may never see you again, she chose to lecture me. A year has passed since she has been gone and I have been considering her words in the throws of this money experiment. I think she may have been trying to impress something very important on me:  the concept of conscious giving.

My grandmother survived her teenage years in war-torn Berlin where she and her sisters managed to get by with nothing. After the war, she and my grandfather created a new life that supported not only her sisters but her own growing family. She was thrifty and saved but freely gave money and gifts to others.

In her final days, her world was reduced to a room. Aside from the bed, the only other substantial piece of furniture in there was a giant wardrobe. Instead of housing clothes, most of the wardrobe’s shelves were filled with things she had collected to give to others: tablecloths, toys, books, candles, cards, you name it. Gifts.

The lifelong habit of giving something of herself – no matter how small – was one of the few things that remained at the end of her life. As I look back on it now, I wonder where that conscious desire to give came from. If you have nothing and have to fight for everything you have, how do you emerge as generous and giving?

Perhaps because of it. Perhaps because she knew that giving was integral to receiving. Perhaps she learned that vital piece of information somewhere, somehow, through the hardships she had to endure. I don’t know. I wish I did.

Deepak Chopra, in his book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, talks about giving as one of the key spiritual laws.  He says:

“…if our only intention is to hold on to our money and hoard it – since it is life energy, we will stop its circulation back into our lives as well….The more you give, the more you will receive, because you will keep the abundance of the universe circulating in your life. In fact, anything that is of value in life only multiplies when given.”

Hhhhm. Maybe that was what my grandmother was trying to tell me. Maybe I wasn’t hearing her because I was too busy being offended.

What one thing will I be doing today to have more money come my way? Listening to my grandmother – finally. Making a start on a new habit borne out of love and honor and joy. Making a start on cultivating conscious giving.  Because in the end, you simply can’t go wrong by giving joyfully to others.

Can you make a start today?

Give joyfully. Comment. Subscribe. And stay tuned for day 31 – the day after.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Rita October 3, 2010 at

Andrea–
I cannot say that I’ve actually done any of the things you’ve written about in your 30 day experiment. (I did start the draft of a poem in response to the one about imagining what kind of soil my money grows in, but it didn’t go far…) However, I can say that reading your posts each day has caused a shift in me, and I think this final entry has helped me see what it is: I’m finally, for the first time in my life, understanding that money is not (or does not have to be) something apart from the things I value. It’s not material or spiritual. That’s a false dichotomy. I think I’ve liked to think that my disregard of money was about caring more about other, more important things.

Through the course of the past month, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what money does and doesn’t do for me–and what I do and don’t do for it. I’ve realized that I can’t get much further in my own experiment without tackling the role of money in my life. I made the first step today: I opened account at mint.com. I can see already that it is going to help me transform my relationship with money–which I think is a necessary step to better emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual health.

Thanks for sharing all of your thoughts and insights. It’s the first time I’ve read someone writing about money in a way that makes real sense to me.

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Andrea October 4, 2010 at

Rita – I’m so pleased that you have been able to take something away from the experiment! Yahoooo!!! I’ve had tremendous fun with it and thinking about money every day in a positive way has definitely changed my relationship with it. What do they say? If you do something consistently for 21 days, it becomes a habit? Just 21 days, my friend, that’s all it takes. :)

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Rita October 4, 2010 at

Well, when I did a little research on how long it takes to establish a habit (my experiment with water), I found all kinds of numbers. Most things said, it pretty much depends upon the person and the nature of the new habit. What I found with water was that I hit a real rough spot somewhere in the 3rd week (which would be just post-21 days. I kept at it anyway. It’s not feeling so hard anymore.

I’ll keep you posted on my adventures with money. Next up in my own grand experiment.
Rita recently posted..A duplex of peace and hope- Gratitude 10310

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