The gifts of giving
This is a follow-up to my last post, regarding my intention to give away 365 things this year, one every day. I’m almost two months into it, and I wanted to share how the experience has been so far.
In a word: wonderful.
There have been more benefits than I had initially expected. My main goal was to lighten my load, physically and psychically. That has been happening, and I love it. But there have been other benefits, too.
For one thing, it has been a pleasure to see how happy people have been to receive these items. One of the first things I gifted was an essential oil diffusing candle set. (I had always thought it was a lovely thing to have, but after two years I still hadn’t used it, so it was clear to me that someone else should be enjoying it instead.) After the recipient came to pick it up, within a few hours he posted on Facebook to all his friends that he was having a lovely relaxing evening with therapeutic scented oils in his new diffuser. What a pleasure to know that someone’s life had been enhanced by this transaction, at the same time that my life was being simplified.
Another gift was a vegan book about health, and a friend of mine claimed it and came to pick it up at my workplace. When she did, she met my vegan coworker, and the two of them started chatting about food and health and being vegan in Portland. Spontaneous community building!
Another surprising benefit involved my own receiving. It wasn’t my intention to receive anything in return for any of these items (after all, the whole point was to reduce my possessions) but a few cool things have come my way nonetheless, and they have been fun surprises. When I gave away a green velvet tunic, the recipient said he wouldn’t be home when I dropped it off at his house, but I could leave it on the porch. He invited me to bring along a container to fill with grapes from the arbor at his house. I did, and they were delicious.
On that occasion, I also used the gifting opportunity to go for a beautiful bike ride to his house, which was about 25 minutes away from mine by bicycle. I enjoyed the warm sunshine and fall foliage. When gifting other items, I’ve taken more bike rides, traveling to sometimes unfamiliar parts of town, and appreciating new-to-me bicycle infrastructure and beautiful views, including a rainbow on a cloud over the river near sunset. In some cases, I have stopped at restaurants or gone to parks in parts of town I don’t generally visit, because dropping off these items (by bike or car) has taken me out of my way. What a gift! On the other hand, I have also met close-by neighbors I never knew I had.
Meanwhile, one of my hopes had been to metaphorically “clear space” for my businesses (Dream Into Change and Happy to Listen) to grow with new clients. I was pleasantly surprised when two new clients contacted me within six days of my beginning this gifting venture. Coincidence? I don’t know, but I’m happy to receive it as a part of the whole intention.
I’ve got ten more months to go (assuming I can continue to find that many more things to give!) I look forward to more magical unfoldings as the year progresses.
How about my readers? Have any of you ever undertaken such a project? If so, what benefits – expected or unexpected – did you find?