I have been pondering the concept of Giving this morning and how it is a fundamental requirement of human beings to give to other human beings if you want to be happy and live a good life. It feels good to give so why do we convince ourselves so much of the time that we need to hoard our gifts (whether these are access to money, services etc) for ourselves and our immediate family rather than recognising that we are all connected and for one to have more than one needs and another to have none, affects us all.
Personally, I have noticed how I have pulled back on giving in the past few months and I shouldn't have. Our business has been affected by the credit crunch with access to funding having been difficult which really sucks when you are half way through building two big houses, go to top up to get the money to complete them and get told that the bank no longer funds construction. While we are coming to the end of this hard period now and have a funding solution that we are in the final stages of, we have had to pull tighter and tighter to get through and our personal spending has pretty much been nil.
While we lived tight in the first few years of starting our property businesses, we had a few years when money was good and we didn't have to really think about it. Our assets were growing and if we saw something we wanted, we could get it (within reason of course). For me, it was buying books as I am quite addicted to books and can easily spend a week in Borders. So we used to be fairly free about giving to various charities as well and I think we must have ended up on a database of people known to give as we get rung up pretty often.
When things started getting tight, I stopped giving. A month or so ago, I saw a man selling pens for Save the Children fund. I have always bought these pens in the past but at $20 per pen I chose not to support that. And I felt like crap! At the end of the day, even though we are going through a temporary hard patch with our business, we are still exceptionally lucky. My husband and I have a very good marriage, our children are amazing incredible creatures and we have assets, even if we don't have a great inflow of cash right now. It is so easy to get hung up on what is wrong with your life that you forget how great it really is. Maybe I should have given that $20, I could have got through without it. I think I got so used to having money in the past, that now when I take out the weekly budget of cash for our personal requirements, I like the security of having it in my purse. But to give, would have bought better returns to me than the security I felt of having it there in case I needed it for our family.
I have been doing a lot of reading recently about the law of attraction etc and while I am still working out my own feelings about those philosophies, I do firmly believe that you get what you give. And if I still give, even when I feel like hoarding for personal security, who knows what good things will come my way. There is no reason why so many people in this world do not have access to clean water, adequate food to eat and shelter in a safe environment. If we who are so lucky to live in countries where we are free to succeed and have a good life, could consider that we are all connected and for a child to die of starvation in Africa hurts all of us, then we could make this world a better place.
I think we get hung up on the concept that there are limitations and that we personally will need to give up what we have in order for others to have enough. But that is not true. There is enough water, food, shelter, money etc for everyone in this world to live a good life. It is how it is managed or hoarded that means currently some have much more than they will ever need and others have none.
Some statistics to back this up, in 2004, the global spending on weapons was $900 billion. If the USA alone froze spending on military and weapons for 18 minutes only, there would be enough money to feed, house, clothe and educate all people who die of starvation for a whole year. And in four years up to 2003, the USA, UK and France earned more income from arms exports to Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America than they provided in aid.
I have hope that our world is moving to a higher level of consciousness. I have great hopes for Obama from a global perspective and if we all just gave just a little bit more, just how great could we make all our lives?