Posted on August 6, 2007 by zoeweil
Yesterday, I loaned a woman in South America $25 to help her buy parts for her bicycle repair business. I was one of several people who helped her meet her loan goal of $295, and I can expect to be repaid the loan in full within the next 6 months. So little effort on my part, but a huge opportunity for her.
I loaned this money through Kiva.org, a non-profit that brings together people who want to help others with those who need help, in the form of non-interest paying small loans.
Charitable giving is important, and all of us who have the means to give, in my mind, should. But there is something breathtakingly simple and powerful when the tool of the Internet allows each of us to make small loans, not gifts, that carry such great benefits. Doing so doesn’t offset the call to give rather than loan, as necessary and as we are able, but we can easily and effortlessly help in this other way that empowers and creates prosperity for others.
I hope you’ll visit Kiva.org.
~ Zoe, IHE President
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Posted on August 3, 2007 by zoeweil
A few years ago, I read a book called Naikan by Gregg Krech, founder of the ToDo Institute, which had an enormous impact on me. Naikan is a Japanese form of self reflection in which we ask ourselves three questions:
1) What have I received from _________
2) I have I given _________
3) What harm have I caused ________
Simple enough, but when I tried plugging words into those blanks, I discovered something I hadn’t quite realized before. I recognized just how much I’ve received, and just how little I’ve actually given, and I began to notice the tentacles of harm that I hadn’t ‘fessed up to before. For example, when I go to bed and I ask, “What have I received today?” the list is long – sustenance, love, access to everything I need and much I want, a home, kindnesses from my family and friends, and a comfortable bed in which to contemplate all this. I may have given some, too, but in comparison to what I’ve often received, it’s relatively little. And when I look carefully at the harm I’ve caused, through misspoken words or excess and unnecessary use of fossil fuels, I realize that, although I try to do the MOGO (most good), I cause harm every day.
This may not sound like a fun form of self reflection, but the overall feelings that I’m left with after considering the Naikan questions are gratitude, humility, and an eagerness to do better. Any sense of being a victim, of blaming others, of feeling angry at what others do to me or the environment or animals or disenfranchised people, becomes tempered by what I can do to make MOGO choices.
This is a pretty good place to be: eager to do better but without blame.
With thanks for all YOU do,
~ Zoe, IHE President
Photo by Nancy McClure
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