This is Wayan, a Balinese man who sells jewelry made out of shells he collects on a beach near my house.
When I first walked by Wayan the other day, he turned around suddenly and asked me if I wanted to buy some bracelets.
His head and shoulders were uncontrollably twitching back and forth making it hard to understand him. His eyes seemed glazed over with a white film making me think he could have been blind.
I assumed he was mentally disabled, and my heart dropped because I actually had no money to give him.
I went back there today and learned from a local guard that he had a stroke a couple years ago, which had affected him thusly.
When I saw him again and had a chance to talk to him, I was surprised to learn he collects all of the shells and makes all the pieces himself, selling each piece for no more than $3.50.
Wayan was so happy that I wanted to buy some of his pieces, he hugged and kissed me on the cheek twice, and said "I love you," which is very out of character for any Balinese to do.
I had to hold the tears back as I felt how happy he was, his eyes glazed, his head and shoulder twitch making it impossible for him to speak and act normally....
I'm like most people when it comes to giving charities; sometimes I do, and sometimes I don't.
Sometimes I just give because I think I should or it's convenient. And there have been times in the past where I gave considerable amounts to organizations because I felt "in abundance." But not every time I've given, has it really been from the heart.
I think when we give to charity, but not from the heart, the act of giving doesn't have a strong or lasting impact energetically, nor for the giver or the receiver.
Sometimes it's more valuable to give our time, our skills, our presence or not at all, than to give money blindly because of external cultural notions that we "should."
And in fact, I see that giving charity without a real connection to "who, what or why" can often perpetuate feelings of victimhood in the person receiving the charity and perpetuate the lack of connection with the one giving it.
Still, there is a deeper narrative of what symbolically the mentally disabled or homeless or physically disabled represents for us on a human level.
Sometimes we turn a blind eye. Sometimes we feel so deeply that just being around them evokes walloping tears of sadness and emotion.
But is it a cry to help the wounded and suffering of the world really? Or is a cry to heal our own suffering and emotional pain?
If we look close enough, we might just see that what we seek to mend in the flagrantly sick, wounded, ill, poor and disabled is exactly what is calling to be addressed in ourselves.
Their pain is our pain. Their suffering is our suffering. And in many cases, they may appear to be suffering on the outside, but they're actually happier and more fulfilled than we even are!
And the deep pain that we feel as a result of witnessing their outside appearance is actually a projection of the deep emotional pain or trauma we ourselves have not yet healed.
In that moment, they give us a chance to deeply feel what we have not felt. To heal what we have not acknowledged.
This is not to say that giving money isn't useful to them or putting them down in any way.
Healing is complex and a combination of Reflection, Acknowledgement, Being and Action.
So, the act of giving something (whether it be money, time, presence, assistance) to any human being with the connection to the Heart can be part of the exact medicine we need for our own inner healing.
Sometimes, we don't realize the people (or pets or what-have-you) we are "giving" to are actually giving us so much more.
Wayan is one of many Balinese I've noticed lately that have broken my heart open. Not coincidentally, I have also been diving into my own self healing around my Capacity to Receive Love, which is something we worked on in the last Embodied Wisdom Practice last week.
These and more recent experiences are moving me to honor and support the Balinese people by pledging 15% of my gross income for the next 2 months (until April 8), as well as time and energy where possible, to people, families and orphanages/organizations here that are in need of resources, as Covid lockdown has deleted international tourism.
Again, I don't believe in giving unless it's really connected. Otherwise, it's giving in vein. However, I share this as an offering of my own daily experience and the myriad ways life can call us home to heal our own hearts.
If you yourself feel a certain "call from within" and it's a moment in time for you to support your own deep reflection, growth and Capacity for Love, feel free to reach out and connect with me.
My Akashic Records Consultations are an exploration of what what some Souls are deeply yearning for, an upliftment into more enlightened states and an opening of opportunities not before thought possible.
What is your heart calling for?