5 Ways to Give Without Buying a Thing
In the run-up to the holiday season, we get a near-constant stream of messages about gifting and giving. Though they are used interchangeably, there’s a subtle difference between those two words. 'Gifting' strongly implies the presentation of a thing (the gift), while 'giving' is a lot more open-ended. Liforme is in the business of making things, so we can’t get too sanctimonious about gifting. We’re actually big fans of gifting thoughtful, life-improving, responsibly-made, eco-friendly things from ethical companies.
But we’re also huge fans of giving. While it’s lovely to exchange gifts with your nearest and dearest, it also feels really nice to expand the giving outside your immediate circle and make a difference in the lives of others. Yes, we said it: giving isn’t completely selfless. It’s ok to feel good about doing a good thing.
If you’re not sure how to translate an urge to give into the action of giving, we have some ideas for you. A few are quite obvious, others you may not have thought of. Some require your time, others your chequebook, still others your open heart and attention. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this, but if there is any abundance in your life, we hope will be inspired to give a little of what you have to someone who needs it.
1. Give Money or Time
Probably the most traditional way to give back is to donate your money or time to a worthy organisation. Though opportunities abound during this season, remember that these needs persist year round. If you have money, make a donation. If you have time, volunteer. Find a non-profit whose mission resonates with you and your contribution will be all the more fulfilling.
If you prefer to do something closer to home, how about making a meal or walking the dog for a friend who has a new baby or an ill relative? Participate in a toy or food drive at your child’s school or your church to help families in your community celebrate the holidays.
2. Give Yoga
Once yoga has changed your life, you probably want to share it with the whole world. Take a newbie to class with you to help them get over those beginner’s jitters. If you have found some success as a teacher, could you afford to offer a free or donation class once a week (or once a month) to help give access to a more diverse population? Could you take it one step further by working with a group that is less likely to make it in to a yoga studio on their own?
3. Pay it Backward
Ok, let’s assume for a moment that occasionally when you are driving to your volunteer gig (only because it’s too far to cycle), you pull your electric car up to a drive-through window. Undoubtedly, it’s your local smoothie shop or organic farm stand. Wherever it is (ahem, Starbucks), pay it backward by telling the cashier that you’ll cover the cost of the order behind you. (If you’re worried that they’ve ordered lattes for the whole office, limit your contribution to whatever you can afford.) Often, this will start a chain reaction of backward paying, bringing good cheer to the whole queue, and you get the nice feeling of having made a stranger’s day.
4. Give Kindness and Patience
That’s not such a tall order, is it? It’s crazy what can happen when you’re nice to other people! Oftentimes, kindness is closely related to patience, which actually circles back to giving time. Don’t be in such a rush to get wherever you’re going that it turns you into a rude and angry person. Make a practice of waiting for pedestrians to cross the street before you edge out into the intersection and waving other cars ahead of you into that tricky merge.
Turn every interaction with a customer service rep, retail clerk, or waiter into an opportunity to be as lovely as you possibly can. Behind words like ‘supply chain’, ‘store policy’, and ‘we’re out of the chocolate cake’, these people are just people. Treat them with kindness and respect.5. Give Love
This is really what we’ve been talking about all along, isn’t it? Love encompasses everything we’ve mentioned above. Love is the ultimate renewable resource. When you share it, it makes more of itself. Who could use the gift of your love? Maybe it’s your partner or friend or relative or pet or someone you don’t even know. Maybe it’s even yourself. The love we’re talking about isn’t necessarily romantic. It’s love that stands against hate, allowing for progress, growth, and understanding. It says that it’s ok for you to be you and me to be me. It’s compassionate, accepting and respectful. It sounds pretty basic, but it’s hard to find enough of it out in the world. Yoga helps foster love, so it’s not too far-fetched to believe that the spread of yoga will be closely followed by the spread of universal love. Make sure to do your bit.
Featured Yogini: @zeinayoga