Win. Win. Win.
We talk a lot on this blog about the benefits of clearing clutter from your own home (win #1) and about the environmental benefits of donating or recycling items instead of trashing them (win #2).
Today, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I'd like to focus on the third win: your community.
Last Friday Kyle and I had one of the most rewarding experiences of our New Minimalism careers. We donated several boxes worth of food, personal hygiene items, blankets and pillows to Glide Church in the heart of San Francisco’s deeply impoverished Tenderloin neighborhood.
As we brought in items, the dozens of people lining up to receive their free dinner from Glide's kitchen jumped out of line to help us empty the car. The workers and volunteers at the front desk offered deep and urgent thank you’s while looking at the bounty we brought in.
The thing is, all of these items came from a client’s home less than a mile away.
All were deemed excess, unneeded, unwanted, causing clutter and stagnant energy in their space. These items were cleared away not for the people at Glide, but for the inhabitants, so that they could live spacious, orderly, inspired lives. So they could enter their calming space and feel their shoulders relax and their armor come down.
And yet the fact that these items didn't add value to our clients' lives does not mean that they don’t contain massive amounts of value.
They just need to be matched to the right person for that value to be fully recognized.
The bags of unwanted goods became the one pillow someone sleeping at the urgent needs shelter would rest their head on that night. They became a meal for several families and homeless children. They returned dignity to dozens by cleaning them and taking care of their most basic needs.
There is a great deal of talk in American politics about the appropriate distribution of wealth and goods. About public services versus the trickle-down effect. About taxes and tax shelters and minimum wage. And sure, Kyle and I have opinions about all of that.
But as Rumi wrote, "Beyond our ideas of right and wrong, there is a field. I will meet you there."
Sharing what you don't need with someone who desperately does is not about blue or red, laws or bills, social class or religion. It is simply compassionate action -- please join us there this holiday season.
Ready to donate? Check out these food banks, homeless shelters, animal shelters, veterans organizations and other organizations near you that will gratefully accept your donations of clothing, home goods and canned food.
May you and yours have a love-filled Thanksgiving!