It’s Sunday. It’s snowing/sleeting outside. It’s St Patrick’s weekend. And – it’s Mothers Day here in Ireland.
About 10 minutes ago I was washing my dishes and looking out the window into the small yard as the snow fell. My mind wandered around from ‘It’s cold outside and it’s been grey for sooo long and I have soooo much work to do and when will my clients pay me and what’s my life all about …’.
I could feel the internal blah blah moving to a downward swoop.
So I switched the track and started thinking about how great it was to be inside and warm… about all the new work with great clients I had just won …that it was a quiet Sunday and last weekend I’d been having a different kind of great time in Belfast with wonderful friends. I thought about all the damn fine blessings in my life.
I watched a bit of tv this weekend and one of the major events was Red Nose day in Britain. It’s a day where money is raised for children all over the world – including the UK. I saw how £90 bought a shower and toilet for an African village; £1.50 bought a mosquito net that protected whole families from malaria; £15 bought a day out for UK children who were fulltime carers of a parent or sibling. And the list went on.
This morning I was watching one of those shows where people sell off some of their possessions to build an extension or go on a holiday. Todays family wanted to raise over £1000 to build a toilet block and provide science equipment to a school. A lot of synchronous examples of giving seemed to be before me all weekend.
As I played with the washing suds (every moment has a little zen play in it) I thought about the game we often play ‘when I win the lottery’. I used to say that after I’d had a great big party and given money to family and friends and built my eco home – I wanted to set up a foundation that invested in people’s dreams.
About 3 years ago I realised that I didn’t have to win the lottery to make that dream come true. Every year I give money to an artist or artists to give them space to create. I also sponsor a theater company called Doppelgang – a group of 20 to early 30 year old drag kings and queens who are pushing the boundaries of their own artform. They are also incredibly professional and could teach older company’s a thing or two about getting sponsorship and working to each others strengths.
Now this is not about how fab I am. It’s about how any of us can invest in other people’s dreams as well as our own. A little money, a little time, a word of encouragement (my doppelgangers appreciate the money I provide but I think the time and encouragement I give – my belief in them – means more to them.) – that’s all you or I need to do in this moment. And then – in another moment we find a little more money, time or word of support.
I chose not to wait until I won a million euros to set up my Investment in People’s Dreams. I do it a couple of hundred euros at a time – a few hours here or there – take the Doppelgang crew for a ‘your wonderful’ drink before the production starts. And yeh, I could have used the money to buy my home and I chose not to. I’ll get my home one day – and if I don’t, I’ll rent. Big deal.
And as I finished the dishes (and there is something very satisfying about getting a small task done) I wandered into the lounge room to check my emails. A few hours before I had tried to ring my Ma and wish her an Irish Happy Mothers day and got her answering machine.
I opened my emails to a message from my 71 year old mother – Molly.
As part of a fundraising event for the Leukemia Foundation Mum had shaved off her hair.
She looks gorgeous and I was sooo proud of her. My Ma has always had guts and never was that interested in following the pack (like mother like daughter). She has a gift for connecting to people of all ages and a kindness and generosity that embraces the world. She and my Dad both taught me about giving, about being kind and above all – about making our own choices and accepting the consequences of our actions.
I looked at the photos of my Ma and saw a beauty that I hope I have some day – that glimmer of mischief in her eyes – love it. I have the coolest Ma on the planet.
So – not sure where all this came from or is going.
It coalesced at the kitchen sink and kind of gathered together a lot of thoughts I’d been having about giving and choices. That we have the power to make all sorts of choices about who we want to be and the kind of world we want to be part of creating. That we can do it on any scale we choose – from the personal to the global.
I believe that we all make a difference just by existing. I learnt at a very early age from 2 exceptional people (I did something right in a past life to be given my Mum and Dad) that giving beyond ourselves is part of our purpose and that we build our own inner power when we give. And I just get a buzz out of knowing that a little of my time and money is part of making a difference.
How would you invest in other people’s dreams?