Givers Gain - When Least Expected

"When I have more, I'll give more."

It's a common misconception. One that I have personally suffered from multiple times in my life.

The Truth is, giving is a habit. Like all habits, they require conditioning. Conditioning requires repetition. Repetition is not a conditional option, it is something that you do consistently. 

In the ebb-and-flow of being self-employed, this means that amounts may vary, often and sometimes dramatically. Important to remember, that In those "ebb" experiences, that you don't need money to tithe. Giving of your time, talent OR treasure to a worthy cause, or source of your Spiritual enlightenment produces the same fuzzy-pang vibes that make you a magnet to the money-moving circuit.

In the recession of 2001, I was in my 5th year of business and still increased by 25%.

While I was never what you'd call a "tither", I was freely giving of my time with no awareness of it contributing to my continued success.

In 2008, I stopped giving in any form and voila!, money stopped moving through my hands. Yes, the recession was my fault! (at least my experience of it had room for improvement)

If my parents tithed, it was not evident to me as a child. I grew up with no clue about the Spiritual effect of giving 1/10th of my earnings. I should also add, that to tithe is more than just by wallet.

When starting my business, I barely made enough to feed my own family. While I cannot prove anything miraculous about giving "treasure" anyway, I can say that it was the donation of my photography services that allowed me to appease my desire of giving. The result was an increase in my earnings. Forgetting to keep that cycle going by giving of my money proved constrictive of my resources.

That there was a finite flow to me, so there was little I could give. I was living in a scarcity (scare-city) mindset of lack and limitation.

If we are not willing to share ten cents of a dollar, why would the Universe shift millions your way for the bigger giving we claim as the catalyst to our giving?

The shift occurred during a lecture in the early 2000's when I heard it stated - "Don't agonize over giving up 10% of your money, be grateful for the 90% you're using for yourself."

Twice in my life I began this practice, and in both cases my life was transformed in gigantic ways! One of those was just prior to a photo assignment in Chwele Kenya.

My was sent to create "images for appeal" to help a small village in Kenya. Instead it turned out to be an education in unconditional giving. Not attaching to what money I held, rather accepting that I was a mere conduit of Flow. That by moving it away from me, I also created a current behind it that pulled even more toward me.

Part of my assignment was to photograph the ribbon cutting of a two-story community center and document the progress of the incredible giving that continues through these Saintly Chwele-native-Portlanders called Paul and Grace Kuto.

I had been trying to sell my home on and off for seven years, beginning as the real estate bubble burst in 2006. Where there was once $100,000 in equity, I found myself grateful to break even on the sale after a renter "depreciated it" by $69,000. atop the $30K loss from market adjustments.

That house sold thee day that I chose to stop trying, and to "Trust the Process" which is a less religious way of stating to pray and have faith. The transaction required me to pull $1000 of my saved safari money for Kenya. What I really believed was my greater purpose of going. After all, it was on my Bucket List for more than three decades!

I had only $500 extra set aside for what would obviously be a very skewed, four-hour safari vs. the overnighter I had planned.

On arrival, I discovered that the Community Centre was extremely behind schedule because of resources. I met with the engineer Eddie to see about how to triage the situation so that I could still deliver some effective ribbon-cutting photos when the Kenyan Governor arrived in four days.

He said "The veranda. It's the most visible and important part for the visiting volunteers to enjoy while they are here to serve."

"Cool, so let's just put our attention on that, and we'll just tidy up the rest." Was my Pollyanna logic. "How much would it cost to purchase the remaining tiles?" We worked out a number, and I pulled out my safari money with absolutely no attachment to it. Surprised as he was, I was doubly so. It just happened, and it felt GREAT!

Upon completion, we moved on to the need for shower heads in the guest bathrooms. Again, out came my once-coveted cash, and we purchased showers and other needed accessories.

That night, as I sat on the newly-completed veranda, I got a call from my wife. "Are you sitting?.. You overpaid at closing, and have another $2000. Want me to book your safari?"

As great as I felt about what I had done, there was still more to do. I declined, and said no, let's give it to Mark. Our real estate attorney just spent nearly four years without asking for more than the petty retainer I paid him to represent this friend in dire need. "I can come back, but I think I'm on another kind of safari."

That trip evolved into greater meaning for me than just another photo assignment, I came back wanting to do more - EVERYWHERE in my life.

I was invited into Lake Oswego Rotary in 2013 after a Rotarian heard my heart-opening experience while on that project. I left with a Rotary application in my hand, and have thoroughly enjoyed my new life as a Rotarian. (now Paul Harris Fellow Plus-two, thanks to some anonymous givers)

Grace too joined a local chapter in Rotary Club of Tigard, who is now embracing the ongoing needs for an ambulance to serve this small village located 30 miles from Chweleto Lugulu Hospital which provides dependable care.

I hope you will join me in contributing to this great cause! and to experience for yourself, the incredible feeling of giving to a cause that improves the lives of others.

To pull this back to cause-related marketing - it's not! (at least not intentionally). It is not my strategy, it just happens to be what I feel called to do. If that somehow increases my business, then "cause-related marketing" will have less to do with it, than giving without attachment to the result. In sum, it is my invitation for you to tithe.

God (Allah, Buddah, Yaway, Jehovah or however you identify your Source) BLESS YOU for doing all that you can to help this worthy cause.

Brian GerathsComment