Many years ago when books on tape first started hitting the market, I purchased one from the Queen of beautiful voices, Maya Angelou. Some writers are meant to be their own voice for reading their books aloud and Maya Angelou is probably one of the great examples of this. I can’t remember which book in particular I was listening to, but there were a few lines that have been with me ever since. One was this notion of taking a creative day, basically a date with yourself regularly. Maya Angelou did this and was recommending this to her hungry listeners; I have certainly tried to do this for most of my last thirty plus years after fortunately hearing this suggestion in my early twenties.
The other was her comment, “I like charitable people.” I remember thinking, I want to be that person. I loved how it sounded coming out of Maya Angelou’s mouth. It gave me a deep sense of peace hearing it and I have spent the last thirty years trying to quietly live up to this idea.
What Defines Charitable People?
The ability to be charitable is layered in belief systems and it is not always about writing a check. It can be about giving time, offering a lending hand to someone by taking them shopping or simply checking in on a neighbor. Being charitable is about being of service.
I have found it easy to be charitable over the years. It is just becoming conscious that others have needs. If there is something I can do from my little corner of the world to help improve a life and create more happiness in another human's corner of the world, then this is what I call being charitable.
Levels of Charity
In Judaism there is something called Tzedakah, a moral obligation for charitable giving. Many religions have these tithing suggestions, perhaps to keep humanity on track so that we don’t become complete self-inflated nit wits. Judaism takes it one step further though in having a more concise ladder of sorts to determine the level, almost like a ranking system on the intentions.
Write a check and insist your name be in lights so everyone knows who and how much ranks lower on the ladder than donating anonymously. Though both accomplish the task, anonymous donations remove that layer of ego and personal recognition.
It took me many years to be able to make anonymous donations and there has been a great personal shift. Anonymous giving feels different then when I write a check and my name gets called out. I can’t explain it, but apparently Maimonides was on to something when he created the ladder of Tzedakah.
Book Proceeds Donations
There are times however, when having your name associated with a donation is an important aspect of the contribution. For example, in saying that five dollars from every signed copy of my new book, Life Cycling is going to East Bay Food Pantry. I didn’t want to assume that people would just believe that I am making the donation, I wanted to have a paper trail so my donation would be visible.
In this case, I do think it is important for my name to be attached to the donation and this is why I wanted to share this blog with you.
I just wrote a check for $600.00. Six Hundred Dollars! From only the first two weeks of my book launch.
I am really proud of this and as proud of having clients willing to pay $5.00 extra dollars for a signed copy of my book to go towards a worthy and important cause so close to my heart.
I know the EAST BAY FOOD PANTRY is so grateful for this small yet mighty donation and I am so proud to facilitate this as the bridge between my generous clients and the Food Pantry's needs.
This makes me so proud. What makes you proud?