Last summer, I decided to heal my relationship to money. I had always held onto it so tightly, adding up the numbers in my bank account with such anxiety. Even when I gave to other people or causes, it always felt a little bit painful. But by being anxious about money, I was actually blocking the flow of abundance. Because if I truly believe that I’m always provided for (and I do), then I can trust that any money I spend wisely is actually for my highest good.
So I gave myself permission to be as generous as I wanted with other people in my life without worrying about the balance in my checking account. That's when my sister Becky taught me everything I ever needed to know about karma.
I'd been watching her stress levels rise as she struggled with challenges from work and life in general. I reminded her to make room for self-care, and massages (which she loves) were a great start. She agreed, but something about the tone of her voice told me she wouldn’t actually do it.
Here’s the thing: Becky is a giver. She gives freely, and not just material gifts but thoughtful, hand-written cards telling you how special and amazing you are. For someone as loving as she is, giving is no sweat. But for me that summer, I was taking my first baby steps.
So instead of bugging her more about self-care, I decided to put my money where my mouth was. I bought her a gift certificate for two massages in her area. I hoped it would be habit-forming so she could keep taking care of herself even after she used them up.
Later, I learned that around the time Becky received my gift, she had sent out spa gift certificates and nice cards to two friends who had been struggling even more than her that summer. Even for a number-challenged person like me, the math is easy to do. She got back exactly what she gave.
That was the real importance of my gift to Becky: it allowed this human Giving Tree to have the equal experience of getting. It enabled her to complete an energetic cycle, and to rest assured that the people in her life will always lavish her with love just like she does with us.
What else is karma unless we ourselves are the machinery of others’ manifestations? For some of us, the word karma means higher power. How can that higher power keep raining down blessings unless we ourselves are its earthly agents? Because we are all so deeply connected, we ourselves must be the bearers of those blessings.
The next time you're called to do a random act of kindness, remember that you are someone else's good karma coming back to them. Chances are, the person who will benefit is someone like Becky. And if so, it’s a long time coming.
"Serve the needs of others, and all your own needs will be fulfilled." – Lao-tzu
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