My favorite magic, is the amazing power of generosity. "But.... generosity isn't magic, it's a virtue!" You say. I disagree, I think generosity is a powerful magic that has the ability to shape our world. It spreads like wildfire as it opens hearts and minds. It is one of the few things in life that has the ability to fill your cup, as you fill someone else's. It's amazing.   

I often worry that humans (particularly the western variety) are too concerned with what is in their cup, and not at all concerned with what is in their neighbor's. If your neighbor has to starve to fill your cup, who cares, you need your cup full, he needs to go figure out how to fill his on his own like you did! Like many families these days, I often come up short each month when it comes to paying the bills, which makes me prone to that same instinctual sensation of needing to do what it takes to make sure I can take care of my family. It gives me tunnel vision and I lose sight of the greater scheme of things. It chips away at my compassion and empathy. 

Last fall I decided to try to loosen my grip on my worries about money, by focusing on generosity instead. I LOVE gift giving. True gift giving... where I give someone something I think they will like, without any expectations of something in return. The pleasure of knowing I brought someone else pleasure warms my heart and makes me happy. I don't need gratitude or a favor in return to feel immense satisfaction when I give a gift. In fact as a shy person I prefer to mail gifts so the other person feels no obligation to put on a display of gratitude. I make a gift, and mail it out, and I let it go. The universe and the recipient can do with it what they will. 

   But again, being generous is one of the first things we tell ourselves we can't do when we are broke. We see it as threatening or depletive. "I gotta take care of my family first! I need to be responsible and gifts are frivolous! I can't donate to that charity! MEEEEEEE!” We lock down our generosity and protect it as we enter survival mode. Even with handmade gifts, I had those whispers in my head as I made this decision to be generous with my work... because I run my own handmade business, and every minute I spend making a gift is technically a minute I should be spending working to pay the rent!  I decided to completely ignore that impulse, and before I knew it, I had made space in my life to make gifts and I was shipping them out like crazy. Some big and some small, but gifts none the less.  

I've noticed something truly remarkable about that practice over the last several months though! The more I give, even if I can only give a little, the more generosity comes back to ME when I least expect it, like some kind of goodwill boomerang. So many amazing acts of kindness have rained down on me, and that just makes me more grateful and increases my desire to be generous. To me, that is magic. Sometimes it's so coincidental and magical that it boarders on ridiculous and my spiritual side has been reignited by it all.... Like just recently, I used a gift card I'd received for my birthday to buy gifts for friends. I was about to spend it on girly natural makeup products for myself, when I decided at the last minute it would be more fun to get some gifts for people that I couldn't afford to buy for otherwise. Happy friends sounded like an awesome birthday present! The NEXT DAY, my next door neighbor I don't even know, who apparently works in a warehouse for natural body care products, showed up at my door with a free box FULL of makeup stuff nicer than what I would have bought. She said she got to keep anything damaged at work and had more than she could use herself. WOW! That would be the craziest coincidence ever, only that story is one of half a dozen I've experienced in the last 3 or 4 months. Some much more generous than that… People just keep shocking me with their kindness and generosity. Last month my fairy godmother sent me the fabric I needed to launch my new line of cloaks. There's just so much kindness and generosity in my life, and I am so grateful for every bit of it.  

How is any of that magic? Well frankly, I think that when we give a true gift with loving intentions, or donate money, or support someone's small business, or shovel our neighbors driveway for them, we are creating loads of positive energy and attitude. First by cultivating our own sense of joy at the idea of someone else feeling happy or supported. When we are happy, the people around us tend to get infected. We become a positive part of our community. Then of course when we've felt the joy of generosity once, it quickly becomes a habit. Lastly, the recipients of generosity are often inspired to be generous themselves, so they pay it forward, and someone else gets to catch some joy too. It sets an exponential wheel in motion that makes the world a better place. All we have to do is let go of our fear of being generous, and GIVE.