Yogi on the Go
--by yogionthego, posted May 16, 2008
Before I went back to school I was living in Toronto as a waitress and yoga teacher and was making some decent money. My partner and I decided to start taking 10 per cent of our tips from waiting tables and giving it to people in need. I have numerous stories of how I saw this process of giving away larger quantities of money every month make shifts in people's lives. Although the money was a sort of "bonus" to people, it was also recognition of THEIR struggle and a reminder that someone cared - even if it was a complete stranger.
My partner and I would go downtown once a month and bring about $100 each. We would give this money to people when they asked. If they asked for coffee money, they got $5 or $10, whatever felt right. Even this small gesture often created first a look of surprise and shock and then real, genuine thanks. I never knew how much energy could be in a $5 bill. Once a man asked for coffee money and we gave him $10 and he laughed and asked if we were sure. He looked at the $10 and asked, "can I buy you a cup of coffee?"
There is one story in particular that makes me cry whenever I think about it and I will share it with you. One day it was very cold and we didn't run into many people. So, we decided to get on the subway to make our way home and give the remainder to a charity. When we got onto the platform there was a man walking around asking people for money for food. He was almost crying. I was very aware of how people just ignored the man, as if he wasn't talking at all. Do people really believe that these people starve by choice?
I nudged my partner and nodded in the direction of the man. My partner walked over to him and asked, "Sir, were you looking for some money for food?" The man was a bit taken aback and just nodded yes. My partner handed him a $20 bill. The man sat down on the bench and just stared at it. He looked up at my partner and asked if he could talk to him. We were struck by his politeness. He started telling us how thankful he was because he had only eaten a hardboiled egg that day and hadn't eaten very much lately at all. This money was going to afford him such a good meal. I started crying (yeah, I'm mush when it comes to this kind of stuff) and my partner reached in and grabbed the $80 from his pocket and gave it all to this man. The man started to sob and cry so hard that people began staring. He started going on about how he couldn't take it, it was too much, yet we insisted and he accepted.
Getting out there and actually reaching the people who need it has been a blessing to me. I'm not saying that it's the best way of helping people, but it is A way. I don't have a lot of money - but the money that I do have is hard earned and the act of giving is humbling. What's more, the love and energy that go into it are transferred to these people when they receive it. I can see that they feel it. I can see that when I hand a man $5 or $10 and I make eye contact with love that they are not just receiving the money.
I have just joined this website and I will start using the Smile Cards soon. I think that this is an amazing idea and I am very thankful to have found this site! You all have beautiful stories.
and made me feel better about my life,even if i was living in a shelter.
GOD BLESS YOU and your freind
I wanted to address one comment that suggested I not give to people who beg because it encourages it and could be for alcohol or drugs. I have to admit I used to struggle with these thoughts before too and then I decided that it's not for me to judge. The money is there for people who ask -- ANYONE - who am I to judge what they use it for? Monks beg... charities ask for money... no one judges them. I realize it's different -- but really, is it?
Thanks again to everyone!
With so much love,