“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” ― Winston S. Churchill
The old woman looked into my eyes.
She was skinny, a bit desperate, and obviously hungry as she asked me for food. I had a bag with some nuts, crackers, and bananas. Since I was going on a bus for many hours, traveling from the Himalayas to New Delhi, I didn’t know next time I’d be able to eat. So, I didn’t give her anything.
To be honest, I was also a bit scared. If I gave to her, how much more people would come? People had told me to be careful. Especially, since I was traveling alone as a woman in India.
Then a little boy approached me. He was around 7-years old and also asked me for food. This time I couldn’t resist. How could I keep my food (although it wasn’t much) for myself, when a young boy was hungry? So I gave him a banana.
Then something unexpected happened. He gave the old woman half of the banana! Without a shadow of a doubt, he split his banana in two and gave her one half. He was broke, hungry and only a child – yet he knew one of the most important things in life: to share.
At that point, I felt ashamed. To ease my guilt, I gave both of them one more banana.
Mind you, I don’t think we should give when we’re not in a position to give (that only feeds resentment). But when we are, as I actually was, we ought to share. Doesn’t matter if it’s time, money or attention – sharing is at the core of what connects us humans.
Often, the people who are most privileged in this world are most afraid of sharing. We’re afraid of sharing because we believe that it will take away from ourselves. But if we don’t share, privileged as most of us actually are, then who will?
There I was, a Westerner in India who has everything she needs – and not being willing to share a banana. Then he shows up, a boy who clearly doesn’t have everything he needs – yet is willing to share what he receives.
Objectively, I had more than him. But at this moment, he was living in more abundance than I was. I was the one projecting scarcity. Like Wayne Dyer said, “Abundance isn’t something we acquire, it’s something we tune into.”
Someone once told me that you can’t expect to receive if you’re holding too tight to something. Like money, if you’re holding it too tight, your hand is closed, not just to giving, but also to receiving.
By giving what you desire (provided you feel good when doing it) you demonstrate to yourself that you live in abundance. You step away from fear and scarcity and instead open up to a flow of giving and getting.
So, share. Share your time, energy and love with others. Share for the pleasure of sharing. Share knowing that whatever you put out will come back to you.
Simply, be willing to share your banana. (Yes, still talking about the fruit 😉 )
Photo cred: Sofie Stenmark, Model: My Charlotte Lestander