Have you ever held on tightly to everything that came your way?
Maybe you held on to all your free time, never donating it to a cause other than yourself? Maybe you held on to a friendship that had run its course? Or a boyfriend that was no good? Held on to your money like it was the real source of security in your life?
I have. More often than not, I hold on to more than I give. It’s easy to do: if life feels unstable over there, I grasp onto anything that’s right here. Often, I believe holding on tightly will produce more stability or happiness or joy. Friends, that’s just not true.
But it’s so easy to believe that the true source of happiness is in having more. Having more stuff or having more control. But that’s all an illusion. An illusion, though, that is so easy to believe in. In fact, I wonder if we’re wired to respond to instability or fear in that way. Holding on tight is sort of automatic.
But we’re better than that, right? Just because it’s natural to tighten my fist doesn’t mean it’s the best course of action.
A tight fist is a belief in scarcity. It’s a sign that we look out into the world and see all the things we lack, instead of all the blessings we already have. On any given day, the world provides abundance: a sunny day, a rainy day, a delicious cup of tea, a gift that comes unexpectedly, a text from a friend.
As a way to intentionally loosen my fist and believe in abundance, I’ve made an important decision for my business. For each elopement and wedding I book in 2016, I’m donating to my favorite charity, Speak Your Silence.
Speak Your Silence is an organization launched by my childhood friend, Matt Pipkin (actually, he was the little brother of my best friend in grade school). SYS provides one-on-one counseling that is in person for anyone affected by childhood sexual abuse.
Matt Pipkin (and his team) has gathered an incredible group of therapists that provide counseling at a discounted cost. I was blown away to learn they provide an hour of counseling for $60 (instead of the $140 it often costs to see a therapist). This is more than a 50% discount these therapists are providing.
Donating $60 so that someone can receive an hour of therapy is so attainable. And yet it can literally be a lifeline for someone who is genuinely struggling.
Two weeks ago, I donated $60 to SYS for the first time. I also signed up to donate a designated amount each month. This sparked a truly life-giving idea: What if I donate an hour of counseling each time I book a wedding? That’s right: what if my business reflected who I am on an authentic level? What if I used my business to do something good in the world? What if I stopped operating my business as if it were a neutral entity—because, in reality, it’s not neutral?
If you’ve known me for a while, you know that one of my favorite stories to tell is about President Kennedy. While in office, he donated 100% of his presidential salary to charity. He told no one. He just quietly shuffled off his money to charity. That means, quite literally, he ran the country for free. Every cent of taxpayer money that was spent to compensate his time, he sent straight to charity. Quite often, someone will scoff at this story, give a snort, and brush the story off as irrelevant because “the Kennedys were rich.”
That misses the point. It dodges responsibility. It scoffs at a truly generous act.
The point, friends, is how we approach our money and time: do we have a tight fist, always wanting more? Or do we give freely? That’s the question. And it’s relevant for all of us, whether we’re “rich” or in middle class.
I’m neither a Kennedy nor a Carnegie. (Nor am I some high-powered, influential politician or a Forbes 500 woman.) But I am employed. I do get a paycheck. I have friends that love me; I have an education; I have so so so much. And from the abundance I do have, it’s time to give. To make a difference in someone else’s life. And isn’t it an amazing thought that it takes so little to make such a big impact?
If you’d like more information on Matt’s non-profit, you can find his website and story here: Speak Your Silence.
Maybe together, as fellow business owners (or clients), we can genuinely be the source of abundance for someone else.
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Speak Your Silence | Seattle Wedding Photographer