There is no way to sugar coat it. 0 for 10 is pretty bad. Let me explain.
Inspired by Larry Stewart, I had a plan for my 70th Birthday Road Trip to California National Parks to give $20 away every day. Larry made a purposeful life by giving small amounts of cash away on a regular basis. It all began in a diner when Larry, down on his luck, was given a free meal. Years later in 1979, he saw a carhop, in need, and gave her a $20 tip when 50 cents was a big deal. Click here for his full story.
Alas, Dan is not Larry, and that’s a good thing. Dan is Dan and Larry was Larry (He died at the age 58 in 2007). But Dan has his moments. On this road trip, I just haven’t made giving $20 away a frontal lobe priority; I got caught up in our traveling, driving, hiking, pickleballing, new towns, and new people. Blah, blah, blah. What I now realize is that I needed to create a “to do” list each day with giving $20 away in bold letters. But it’s a vacation; who makes out a “to-do” list on their vacation?
On our third night in Three Rivers, California at the gateway to Sequoia National Park, Hannah and I did something cool. After hiking to the Marble Falls (Click here for the link to that hiking blog.), we chatted up Patty, the manager at the Subway in Three Rivers late in the afternoon. Her story touched us, including her upcoming marriage to the love of her life. Once home, we sent her some wedding dollars. That’s certainly a positive, but that was not technically part of my plan. Ten days into our road trip, I still had not given one single Jackson away.
Waking in Eureka and then morning pickleballing in Fortuna, CA, 20 miles to the south, on our last full day in California, Hannah and I head south on The 101 towards the Good Nite Inn in Rohnert Park, just five miles south of Santa Rosa, California. The same Santa Rosa that ten days later was devastated by wild fires wiping out whole communities and killing some 250 people.
As Hannah drives south on this section of The 101, often referred to as the Redwood Highway, from Humboldt County through Mendocino County, we make a pitstop in Laytonville.
As Hannah pulls our rented Hyundai Accent into a shaded parking spot, she doesn’t see a man with dirty-blond, shoulder length hair sitting on the curb, cooling his jets on this 93F late September Wednesday.
Seated on the passenger side, I clearly see the man with a sweatshirt that says Bamboozled, a week’s growth of beard, ragged jeans, and perhaps his worldly possessions in a bag to his side; all the time with a dog as sidekick.
Opening my passenger side door, I say, Sorry for getting so close. He smiles disarmingly and nods that’s not a problem.
Once in the Chevron Quick Mart, I realize that I can raise my .000 batting average of giving to .091 with a little timely generosity.
Grabbing a $20 bill from my wallet, I return to the car before Hannah does, wondering what to say to the man, maybe my age, to maintain his dignity.
Inspired at the last minute, I walk over to him and say, Could you find a good use for $20?
He said he could, smiled, and the moment was over that quickly. Soon, Hannah returns and we are heading south on The 101 towards our overnight just north of San Francisco.
Hitting a robust .091, I am not in line for the Hall of Fame of Giving. But I’ll give the final word to a man who likely is – Wayne Dyer. Click here for his full four-paragraph blog on giving. (Thank you Mitch Sakofs for reintroducing him into my life back in 2002).
Reduce what’s in excess in your life and then offer it where it can be utilized. Begin with your stuff: clothing, furniture, tools, equipment, radios, cameras, or anything that you have too much of. Don’t sell it; rather, give it away (if you can afford to). Don’t ask for recognition for charitable acts—simply behave in harmony with the Tao by reducing your surplus.
Look for opportunities to fill the empty spaces in other people’s lives with money; things; or loving energy in the form of kindness, compassion, joy, and forgiveness.