Many are willing help a stranger in a time of need, but will means nothing unless you follow through with action.
Beginning on the New Moon of December 13th, 2012 and going through until the Full Moon of December 28th, 2012, I'm donating $100 every day to a different non-profit organization whose mission contributes to the welfare of humanity and to the preservation of our planet, without which the beauty of the moon would go unwitnessed.
Lunar Transformation Donations
December 13th, 2012
$100 donated to BlinkNow.org (Kopila Valley Home and School)
"To create a self-sustainable living community for destitute children that provides their most basic needs and also contributes to post-war recovery and peace in the nation of Nepal."
December 14th, 2012
$100 donated to Charity: Water
"90% of the 30,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and unhygienic living conditions are children under five years old. Many of these diseases are preventable. The WHO reports that over 3.6% of the global disease burden can be prevented simply by improving water supply, sanitation, and hygiene."
December 15th, 2012
$100 donated to Alternative House
"The mission of Alternative House is to facilitate the creation of a society in which violence against women will no longer exist."
December 16th, 2012
$100 donated to The Philippine Community Fund
"Our goal is to permanently improve the quality of life for the poorest of the poor Filipino families who deserve a better chance."
December 17th, 2012
$100 donated to Skyla Knight Benefit Fund
"Skyla was diagnoised with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma at the age of 15 months, she has been in treatments since then and she just turned 3 years old. She is now starting MIBG therapy."
December 18th, 2012
$100 donated to Adventure for Good
"Using Adventure for Good in the favelas of Brazil to build the first-ever climbing wall for a marginalized community. Youth in these underprivileged communities are faced with an array of difficulties and negative influences like drugs, violence and gang life. Climbing can offer these youth a positive alternative to their daily struggles and the construction of a modern climbing wall will provide them with this opportunity."
December 19th, 2012
$100 donated to Nepal FREED
"Make[ing] education more accessible for the children of Nepal [...], maintaining a learning environment where traditional Nepalese cultural values can flourish [... and], aid[ing] the local health post in widening the scope of its care."
December 20th, 2012
$100 donated to the Appalachian Mountain Club
"Promoting the protection, enjoyment, and understanding of the mountains, forests, waters, and trails of the Appalachian region."
December 21st, 2012
$100 donated to the The Umbrella Foundation
"Seeking to relieve the impact of poverty and war on the children of Nepal through projects which promote education, vocational training, and community enrichment, so that they may grow up to become responsible, contributing citizens of Nepal."
December 22nd, 2012
$100 donated to the The Street Culture Project
"Mentoring and supporting under-serviced youth. Using social entrepreneurialism and positive adult role models, we connect with youth to help them work through changing their lives."
December 23rd, 2012
$100 donated to the World Wildlife Fund
"building a future in which people live in harmony with nature"
December 24th, 2012
$100 donated to Anna Kham's Orphanage
"giving orphaned children a home"
December 25th, 2012
$100 donated to Pencils of Promise
"supporting a world with greater educational opportunity for all"
December 26th, 2012
$100 donated to the Tarahumara Children's Hospital Fund
"helping insure the health and well being of the Tarahumara"
December 27th, 2012
$100 donated to Food for Life
"bringing about peace and prosperity in the world through the liberal distribution of pure plant-based meals prepared with loving intention; serving more than 1.5 million plant-based meals daily"
December 28th, 2012
$100 donated to Haiti Outreach
"To collaborate with the people of Haiti to build and maintain community-initiated projects that advance their development."
How all of this started
My initial intention was to donate $1,000 to Maggie Doyne's Kopila Valley Home for orphaned children and Kopila Valley Primary School in Nepal. I learned about Maggie and her work more than a year ago and I've been wanting to help support what she's doing ever since.
When my friend Matt Maderio put together a fundraiser for his 25th birthday to raise $25,000 so that the Kopila Valley Primary School could purchase a school bus and shorten the multi-hour foot commute that so many students were taking to class each day, I was inspired yet again.
As I prepared to make the $1,000 donation, I unexpectedly found myself asking why I was donating to just this one organization. Why not to some other organization? I realized that it was Maggie's story that inspired me, her passion and her commitment to making a difference in the lives of others.
But Maggie's isn't the only organization that's making a big difference in the world. There are many other organizations doing good for humanity and for the planet and for causes that I'm equally as committed to helping.
So instead of just donating one large sum of money to one organization, I've decided that I will make several smaller donations to various organizations that are doing positive things and working toward causes that I believe in.
Maggie Doyne and Matt Maderio helped inspire this idea, so Maggie's orphanage and school will be the first to receive $100. I will update the list at the top of this page every day for the next sixteen days as I choose organizations and make donations. The photo of the moon will also change to reflect the current phase.
If you know a reputable non-profit organization that is doing good, please share the organization's name in the comments below.
Why am I doing this?
This is not a race. It's not a competition. I'm not looking for any attention. I'm writing about what I'm doing here so that I can share my journey, but I'm donating because I feel a planetary social responsibility.
I'm doing this because I want to give back and because I recognize that I will always have more than I need, because no matter how much I give today there will always be more waiting for me somewhere down the road.
Everything you give without expectation the universe returns to you without hesitation.
The intention behind the donation is what matters, not how much is being given. It's the act of giving without the expectation of reward that's important. Any amount is worth giving when it's given without strings attached.
I'm not rich, but I am privileged.
As of this writing, I have a $960 US dollars in my bank account. I have about twice that in savings. I'm not rich by American standards. In fact, I'm poor by American standards. But I don't feel poor. I feel privileged.
I am lucky. I am a privileged member of Earth's society, a member of the top fifteen-percent of humans who can afford to eat three meals a day. I feel a sense of responsibility to contribute to the welfare of our human family and the preservation of our home.
Why the lunar transformation?
This was all very spontaneous. It happened over the course of a few minutes. I went from being prepared to make a $1,000 donation to a single organization to deciding that I was going to make several smaller donations spread out over several days.
When I looked at my calendar and noticed that it was a New Moon, I thought that making a donation for each day of the moon's transformation into a Full Moon would be a fun way of doing it.
Moon photos by lrargerich
Yesterday I walked to the Salamanca Market in Hobart, Tasmania, a street market that opens every Saturday. Much like everything else I’ve experienced here in Tasmania, the market had ‘calmly dramatic’ feel to it, filled with three hundred stalls and bustling with thousands of people, yet not feeling one bit chaotic or rushed.
There were lots of street musicians strewn about. There was a teenage girl on the flute, a young man singing to an acoustic guitar, an older gentleman attempting to play the ukulele, and another selling CDs.
After walking around a bit, I noticed the young man with the acoustic guitar had joined another young musician. The two men, who did not seem to know each other, started playing as one, carefully watching each other as they tried to find a rhythm.
A few of these musicians seemed comfortable performing, but there were many others who made it obvious they were struggling with stage-fright. I remember seeing a young man sitting on a bench through one of the stalls, set back away from the crowds as he quietly sang to himself and tapped on his guitar. I wondered what he was thinking.
At one end of the market there was a young girl, perhaps ten or eleven, holding a violin and glancing around nervously. She found the courage to start playing just I walked past her and several people turned as they heard the music, their faces going from curious to astonished when they saw her age.
Walking down Kennedy Lane, into Salamanca Square where families gathered to relax around a water fountain, there was a young boy band playing. One boy on the drums, one on the keyboard, and two more standing up with guitars. The lead singer wasn’t more than eight, his flushed red face and closed eyes telling me he didn’t want to see all the people stopping to smile at him. His singing was horribly off pitch, but his soul made that irrelevant.
Down the other end of Kennedy Lane, down the quiet narrow end with tall stone walls on either side blocking the already diffused sunlight, there was another musician standing in the shadows. I recognized him immediately from my walks around the city earlier in the week. But I had never seen his face. Or was it a girl? I couldn’t tell. He wore a expressionless white mask, baggy jeans, and a faded blue sweatshirt with the hood pulled over. The only thing more unsettling than his ghostly appearance was the tune that he added to the scene. Picking gently at a closely clutched guitar, he played with the sound of each string ever so carefully, clearly having more experience than a casual passerby would notice. Perhaps that’s why he wore an expressionless white mask.
I walked around the market a few more times, not really knowing where I was going or what I was looking for. Around the middle of the market, at the end of a closed street, there were two men playing music and generating a crowd. Not being much for crowds myself, I stepped off to the side, a bit behind the musicians. There I noticed several guys in black suits sitting on the ground, with bags of wires and instruments and other musical equipment sitting on the street around them. As they laughed and watched the crowd, I realized they were next in line, awaiting their turn in the spotlight.
It was here, facing in the same direction as the musicians, that I noticed a man in the crowd step up and throw some money into a guitar case. He smiled and stepped back into the crowd to continue watching. There was something about his posture that told me he was standing there simply to encourage others to step up and give. Not many did.
Every single one of the musicians I had walked by, from the young girl playing the violin, to the person picking at the guitar in a white mask, had a bucket or instrument case in front of them collecting donations. But I hadn’t given anything.
As I ate breakfast this morning, I reflected on all the musicians I walked by and I felt bad for not giving anything, especially not to the children. I realized that even if I had given money to every single one of the musicians, it wouldn’t have amounted to more than a few dollars.
But how much hope and validation might I have given in the process? What if my giving something meant that one of those children felt inspired to see their dreams through? How could any amount of money be valued higher than that possibility?
Perhaps the problem lies in my relationship to money. Perhaps deep down inside there is still a lot of insecurity and scarcity that I’m not recognizing, a part of me that is reluctant to give because I’ve spent so much of my life living in fear of not having enough.
I do have enough. In fact, I have more than enough.
Next week I’m going back to the Salamanca Market. I’m going to give something to every musician that I can find. In fact, maybe I should make this a permanent habit, to always give something to street musicians. Unlike beggars, they’re clearly offering something in return. Instead of just asking, they’re creating something and hoping that you’ll find value in it.
But more likely than not, they’re also asking for you to support their dream, to show them that it’s a dream worth working towards.
All dreams are worth working towards and I believe there is no better way to invest in others than to help them achieve those dreams. What’s your dream and how are you working towards it? Let me know and I will send you something. (Please include your PayPal email address.)
For a long time I resisted kindness and assistance when it was offered to me. If someone offered to help me in some way, I turned it down. I didn’t want to be a burden. I didn’t want to be the person to inconvenience them, to take something away. I was always more willing to sacrifice my own time and comfort over taking it away from someone else.
I’m not sure when this began to change, but I do remember very clearly the idea at the heart of my decision to embrace receiving: It was the realization that the ability to give is a gift and as the receiver, I was enabling that gift by receiving it. If I take the opportunity away from someone—if I turn down their help or assistance or generosity when they offer it—I’m actually depriving them of the gift of giving.
So now instead of pulling away when someone extends a hand—when they offer to buy dinner or give me a place to stay for the night—I remember that turning down their offer would be stealing from them something that only I can give in that moment: the gift of giving. And when someone could use my help or generosity and I’m in the position to give, I remember that it doesn’t matter how little I have because giving is the gift that gives back.
This thinking has revolutionized both my ability to give and to receive. I feel good about receiving because I know that I'm actually giving even more back. And because I'm so willing to receive, I feel more willing to give.
Have you ever seen a baby get excited about a new toy and then almost immediately turn around and hold it up with bright eyes and a big smile, pleading with you to share in the excitement? The baby has no expectations, only a desire to share.
When we share without expectation, we're sharing love. When we create without expectation, we're creating with love. But if we put a condition on sharing the things that we create -- I'll share this if you give me that -- then we disconnect from the ultimate reason that we possess the power to create: to share love.
That doesn't mean we can't receive something in return for what we create. Receiving in return for creating isn't the same as creating with the intention of receiving. The latter is based in scarcity, the former in abundance.
Like the baby pleading to share in the joy of discovery, we instinctively want to share what we love. When we do something because we love it, the act of doing it becomes enough. When we create with the intention of sharing, everything we receive in return becomes a gift.
Look into her eyes. Look at the expression her mouth makes, the red marks left by tears on her cheeks, the grit underneath her nails. Now tell me that cup of coffee I was drinking is somehow more important.
Every time you buy something you don't need or spend time in the pursuit of a selfish goal, you're placing a vote that says you'd rather see people suffer than sacrifice your own wants and desires.
You can push the starving children out of your head and tell yourself that you'd do more if you could. You can remind yourself that you're a good person and that you have your own problems to deal with.
But none of that changes the fact that there are 2 billion people living on the same planet as you, sharing the same resources, breathing the same air, and yet surviving on a standard of living far below what you would consider humane.
None of that changes the fact that there are 17,000 children dying every single day from preventable causes.
There are no subtle exceptions. The coffee I'm drinking right now is a vote for poverty because I wasted $2 to satisfy my craving for caffeine instead of using that money to feed a hungry family for an entire week. Continue reading
This article was written when I was 15 years old and was originally published in a bi-monthly newsletter that my dad put together called The Light of Wisdom. I'm republishing the article here on my blog for archival purposes.
Every thing that is built needs a foundation. Houses, factories, buildings, skyscrapers, roads, highways, and even humans! When we are born, it is like we are just starting to dig into the soil where we want to build our house. Then as we grow up, the things we learn and the thoughts we think, are like adding to the house's structure. Depending on how we were brought up and what materials we used, our house will be made of bricks, and stay upright even if problems arise, or we will have a house made of cards, which could fall apart with just the smallest problem. So, as you see, how we grow up tells us what our house will be like in the future.
Well now you might say to yourself, "Well, I was not raised properly, so now I am not going to be able to have a good life. My foundation is not good, and now it's too late." Well, if you say that, then you are VERY wrong! Can you rebuild a house's foundation??? Yes, you can. Just start over again! That's right, by rebuilding your life's house, you can create a new foundation. It doesn't matter what age you are. In fact, rebuilding your foundation is so fast and simple, that it can be done every SECOND! If you could rebuild the foundation of a house every second, do you think it would ever get worn down??? No, it won't. But the reason you can't do that, as you know, is because it takes time and money. But to rebuild the foundation of your life can be done every second. And our time is VERY limited.
Think in minutes for a second. Not years, or months, or weeks, or even days or hours. Think in minutes. How many minutes do you have left??? Now you may be realizing that your time is so limited that there is not enough of it to do everything you want to accomplish in life. That's right. There isn't. That's why you have to pick out the things that you NEED to do, and not WANT to do. If you spend all your life looking for something outside of yourself to make you happy, then it's like looking for a blue sky on the ground. You will never find it.
Everything that you need in life came with this package called life. It has five tools with which we work. They are our five senses. If we misuse these tools, then we will mess up life's complex structure and we won't know how to put it back in order.
So, if we start building a new foundation right NOW, then we can become better than the last minute. But only you can do it. Can someone eat for you? No. Of course not! In the same way, you have to change. Don't worry if people don't listen to you when you try to tell them to change for the better. Remember, you can't change them. They have to change. By trying to change them, you are using those minutes doing something which is NOT helping you (or anyone). So, if you want people to listen to you, tell them using your own example. If they follow you, then they will change. If they don't, then you can't help them.
What should you do to build up your foundation of life? Well, you could start by just being happy ALL the time. And if a problem comes in your way, act like the water, go AROUND it. Don't stop your whole life just because of a little problem. Next, you could always help people who need help. Give instead of take. Use your words carefully. If you speak all the time, then your words don't have much affect. But if you only talked when needed, people would want to hear what you are going to say.
So building a strong foundation for your life is the first thing you need to do. Then, add GOOD and strong things to it, and build it up. But, remember not to put even ONE bad thing in it. For example, if you have a big garden of flowers, and you put just one seed of a thorn bush, the thorn bush will over grow the flowers and be very hard to get rid of. Even though the flower bed might be many thousands of times bigger than the thorn seed, it will soon grow and destroy the beautiful garden. So, in the same way, don't put any bad things in the structure of your house. If you do, it may one day fall down on you! So that is my good advise to you. Please reread this article if you didn't understand it fully, and remember, it is up to you to change your life!