There is a homeless (I think) woman whom I walk past most everyday on my way to the gym. I don’t know her age. I don’t know her story. I don’t even know her name. All I know is that she’s not afraid to ask for things be it money or objects that one is carrying. Honestly, at first I found her to be obtrusive into personal space and admittedly, I found myself looking the other way when I passed her by.. which is not normal for me. I usually view giving spare change as a brilliant opportunity to give, empower and love. And even if I have nothing to give I don’t mind smiling and saying, “Sorry no I can’t.. but good luck.” However, she is very loud and I felt uncomfortable when I walked past her. One time I did make eye contact so that I could pass on a smile and immediately she loudly said, “Hey baby, can you spare some change?” I honestly could not as I don’t carry any cash on me when going to exercise or shower. I told her no. She smiled and said, “Okay, maybe next time.”
A few times later when I walked past on a rainy cold day, I was carrying some clothing garments on the way out of the gym and she said something to me. I smiled and continued to walk past her, but realized I didn’t hear the word ‘baby’ or ‘change’, so I turned around and said, “What?” She commented on the muted pink sweatshirt I was carrying, how it was such a pretty color. I thanked her and she quickly said, “Can I have it?”… I stood there for a minute kind of confused. No one had ever just randomly asked to have something of mine before (well at least since I was five).
I checked to make sure I heard her right, “Did you just ask if I would give you my sweatshirt?” Indeed she did. Part of me (I assume my ego) was dead set against it…”Who the heck does she think she is? First of all, it belongs to ME and this sweatshirt is awesome.. perfect color, broken in, sherpa lined, excellent quality, it was expensive… homeless people don’t need or deserve things like this…” (yes, I actually thought that). Luckily, the real me stepped in and gave the good old ego the loving boot. “Don’t worry, you’ll get a new one at some point. You have tons of warm clothing. This won’t hurt you and I bet it will make her day.. and YES she does deserve it… we ALL deserve to have nice things.”
So, I handed it over with absolutely no remorse. Naturally the valet guys who know her were grinning ear to ear as were other passersby. I love how just being near random acts of kindness makes people happy. The valet guys thanked me and everyone was left feeling a little happier and most important, a little more connected.
Anyway, a few weeks or months have passed and I had forgotten about the whole ordeal until today when I walked past her and smiled a “hello” while walking to my car as usual and again she said something I could not understand, so again I turned around and asked her to repeat herself. She said with her eyes huge and radiating the joy of a child, “Look! Here it is! I’m wearing it!!!” I had no idea what she was talking about and then I saw it. The pink sweatshirt and it looked so nice on her too… her smile looked even more beautiful.
I cannot even explain how happy she was and how happy I felt just soaking in her joy as she wore this warm and cozy sweatshirt on a chilly morning.
You know, I never share this for fear of judgment… but on a Spiritual level I am so grateful for the souls who choose to come into this existence in order to experience homelessness or any other “unfavorable” role because without them, we wouldn’t have the opportunities to authentically give, be it a smile, a hug, some abundance, emergency relief, conversation or any empowerment which ultimately leads to building more connection and conscious acknowledgment that we are all one and if we open our eyes and our hearts, we will see that we all have the power to empower others to see themselves as worthy of their hearts desires. And if people are treated as worthy, I believe that encourages them to pass on or pay forward the kindness which creates a domino effect of kindness and love which effects people and the environment.. because I believe that if we feel we live in a kind world, we are more apt to treat the world with kindness.
I’m not saying that giving someone a sweatshirt magically encourages one to dramatically change their mental processes and life direction, but I am saying each time we give, we plant a positive seed in the receivers subconscious mind which allows them to gradually make an empowering shift in their consciousness and the more unconditional kindness they experience, the more that seed is watered and nurtured until it grows into a beautiful strong tree. And in the process, they come to see themselves as they really are: A beautiful person who is most certainly worthy of anything they desire which helps them to live in accordance with their own unique greatness. And once they truly understand who they really are, the more willing they are to go out and make it happen. I know that has certainly been the case with me over the past few years.
Lately when I give, I notice I say thank you before the receiver does… and I mean it. I don’t know if they understand, but I am just so grateful that they are giving me these opportunities to help them which of course in turn is helping me to understand what a great gift it is to both give and receive unconditionally.