I have noticed with this blog that some days that are really good because they are full of activities and people aren’t always the best days for my Giveaway. Today began with an enjoyable chat over coffee and then my first successful yoga class in a couple of months (I could almost breathe normally again). I wrote an article and then managed lunch with my best friend Lynn, after which I headed to Theo’s schools to sort out some business with his teacher, came home to go through emails and then picked him up at karate. Not my most impressive day professionally, but a full one nonetheless. At no point during that day did I manage a Giveaway, mostly because I had already given things to the people I was with and didn’t want to repeat. However, by the evening I was running out of options, so I turned to the garden.
We have a rather large jade plant, also known as a money tree or a friendship tree in an odd spot at the top of our back yard. When we were growing up in Scotland, we always thought this plant was rather exotic and tropical, but here in Southern California, they seem almost ordinary. I realized the other day that I could make cuttings from our jade plant, transplant them in cute little pots and give them to people as cute little gifts representing friendship or fortune. This evening, lacking in inspiration, I chose to keep things simple. I walked down the street and left a jade plant in a cute little blue glass pot on top of a bright yellow fire hydrant with a note saying “Free Jade Plant.” Hopefully by now it’s adding a touch of the exotic and symbolic to an otherwise ordinary kitchen table.
Today, I practiced an act of guerilla giving. I wished I’d coined this term, but when I googled it to check, I found 617,000 links. One was to a terrific foundation based in Kauai (http://guerillagiving.org) based on the idea that happiness is discovered through the experience and act of giving, receiving and observing love. As I explored their site, I found an invaluable piece of information that explains why, although I have by no means solved all my problems with this giveaway project, I’ve been shopping less often this year and consuming less chocolate! Apparently, a quantum physics researcher, Paul Persall, conducted a study showing the physiological effects of giving on the brain and found the following:
“Through studying brain activity it was proven that when a person extends kindness to another it naturally increases the production of endorphins in the “giver’s” brain. Furthermore, it was proven that it also increases the endorphins in the brain of the “receiver.” Most surprisingly, however, was that one act of generosity even extended to increase endorphins in the brain of a third party “observer” as well.”
What a discovery! My act of guerilla giving today (I plan to do it again now that I’ve learned this) was a small gift, some goodies that I took from our kitchen cabinets and snuck into the kitchen at my son’s school – some tea bags, jars of honey and Nutella, hot chocolate packets and a few condiments. I remember when I worked at Pacific Asia Museum wandering into the kitchen hoping that someone might have left some treats there. A bowl of tangerines or a plate of cookies sitting on the table had the power to turn my day around. Hopefully a nice cup of tea or some chocolate and hazelnut spread on toast will be just the trick to pick up a teacher’s mood and send her back into their classroom full of kids with a smile on her face.