We have all heard sayings about how to tell who your real friends are and yet how many of us really are put in a position to test that? My guess is, not many of us.
It is easy to be a friend to someone when they are on top of the world and winning in the game of life. What happens when they are in the wreckage of the world and losing at life? Would you give a hug to a homeless person? Think about it, if you have nothing else to give, isn’t that just what a homeless person may need? Would you drop what you are doing, go out in the cold, to help someone who had just been beaten? Would you sit with someone as they lose their battle with cancer? There is no better gift to give yourself than the gift you give to someone else.
If you have never taken a moment in your life to give to someone who can never repay you, what are you waiting for? Most of us have heard it said that if there is one piece of pie left on the table and someone else wants it, let them have it. What if someone needed more than that piece of pie? What if what they needed was everything you had?
Some of you may not know but when I found my purpose and embarked on this journey into kindness, I sold most everything I owned and gave up my apartment. Yes I do have a few personal things but no furniture, no car, no television or stereo–none of those things that you might have in your home. As a matter of fact, I don’t even have a home. I guess you could say, I am “purposefully homeless.” I didn’t have much because I have always been somewhat of a minimalist however you may still be wondering what I did with the money I made selling my possessions. Simple, what I didn’t need to survive, I gave to others. Was it easy, no, not at first. When I first started to part with all the “things” in my life I went through an emotional roller coaster ride. I never realized how attached I was to my “stuff.” It didn’t take long before I realized the freedom that this process was bringing into my life and more importantly into my heart.
As I live a very minimalistic lifestyle and I travel to speak with survivors I find myself learning much more than I teach. Maybe it is in teaching that I learn. I am not on this mission with the goal of becoming wealthy but I am experiencing richness in life. If I transition out of this life having nothing more than the knowledge that I have helped someone else have a better life than I will have accomplished my dream.
I’ve learned that living is about giving. I’ve learned that if I can let go of my fear of deprivation I am able to give and know that my own needs will still be met. I’m not perfect, and sometimes it is a battle, however, it is in those moments that I smile at my imperfections and move into a place of gratitude. I realize, in those moments, that I would not be asked to give unless more was going to be provided.
One simple example of this is my tent. As I’ve traveled with my tent in tow, the only time it has seen any daylight was at DrumStrong. If you don’t know what DrumStrong is, it is a 30 hour drum circle to raise money for cancer research.
So why has this been the only time the tent was out? Simple, the universe has always provided me with a wonderful host family and a comfortable place to stay. I have met some amazing people and I have some wonderful memories and new friends. I have always had what I need. I am truly blessed.
I’ve learned to bargain, and barter. I’ve even exchanged writing services for education. There are so many ways to experience the wonders of the world. The only obstacle we face is ourselves.
If you want to experience the richness that life has to offer, learn the value of what life brings and not the price of life’s things. Be a true friend and you will always have true friends.