Dr Judith Orloff's Blog

The Power of Generosity and Anonymous Giving

Judith Orloff - Wednesday, December 14, 2011

As a psychiatrist, my job is to help people heal emotional blocks and create abundance in every area of their lives. That’s why in my book “Positive Energy,” I describe how generosity is a key element of emotional health and abundance. Generosity accelerates the free flow everything positive in your life. Of course, when it comes to finances, a good job, smart investments, and saving wisely are important. But beyond these essentials, the secret is to be generous, whatever your net worth.

Generosity is an expansive energy. As Norman Lear told me in an interview for the book, “You receive as you give. But you have to expend energy to get energy. Electricity happens from rubbing two wires together. That’s what giving does for me.” Stinginess is constrictive. If you’re on the cheap side, don’t worry. But wake up! Realize it’s a huge drawback; take contrary action. How? If someone gives you a nickel, give them a dime. Gradually, try to let go of the tit for tat mentality, a small-mind approach that sabotages abundance. Be the bigger person: that’s generosity. Also, help people out. Charities, tithing, donations. Give what you can; it doesn’t have to be a lot. Feel the growing sense of abundance it produces, an energy which circulates far and wide. It’ll find its way back to you. Maybe you’ll win a jackpot, or perhaps you’ll just feel better about yourself. However generosity plays out, you can’t lose.

Dare to be unconventional in your giving. Rise to the opportunities presented. For instance, recently while I was waiting for Chinese take out, a woman had ordered dinner, but had forgotten her wallet. I felt the impulse to pay for her. Should I? Shouldn’t I? Thank God my mouth opened before getting mired in that mental debate: “Please let me get the bill,” I offered. She lit up, “Oh my God, you’re Judith!” Surprised, I said, “Yes.” She went on, “Years ago, I saw you for one session. You helped me leave an abusive husband!” Though I truly hadn’t recognized her, I’m a lover of synchronicities. “Amazing,” I thought. She was smiling. I was smiling. The cashier was smiling. All around, good karma. And it took so little to get it going. Later that week, I received a check for the twenty dollars she’d accepted along with a lovely thank-you note.

My point isn’t to be self-congratulatory; though I’m glad I didn’t talk myself out of giving. My aspiration is to encourage you to push past social norms. Jump on all chances to be generous, large and small. If you’re shy, try to do it anyway. Personally, I get a charge out of anonymously leaving cash in public places. I first got the idea when eating breakfast at a diner in Manhattan. In a flash, it occurred to me, “Why don’t you leave five dollars in the bathroom? Someone will find it and feel lucky. Then they’ll believe anything’s possible.” I replied to myself, “Okay, why not?” Now, whenever I get the hankering, I leave a dollar here, five dollars there. Not much, but just enough to get people thinking. Being a self-anointed money gnome brings me great satisfaction.

In this spirit, here’s an exercise to stretch your limits of generosity.

Make Changes Now. Create Abundance By Anonymously Leaving Money For People to Find (From “Positive Energy”)

At the location of your choosing, leave some money there--any amount that feels comfortable--but don’t get found out. It can be anywhere. A hallway in your dermatologist’s building, on the sidewalk, in a potted plant. I want you to experience the high of this. I consider it delightfully subversive and mischief making. I bet you’ll feel happy leaving money too. Repeat this exercise as much as you like.

Let’s make it our business to keep reinventing the meaning of generosity. In the area of money, we must be mavericks in what can seem like a spiritless wasteland. Money is what you make of it. Whether you have barrels or not, you don’t need to be extravagant to have fun. I promise: those control-freak misers with twenty million bucks stashed away aren’t having a good time or prospering. No reason to envy a scrooge. Much better is to adopt this Buddhist saying as a motto: “Your happiness is my happiness. There is no greater happiness in the world.” Abundance begets abundance, an energetic prescription that'll attract prosperity of many kinds to you.

Click on the link to watch a video on the Power of Positive Intention.


Judith Orloff, MD is author of The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People, upon which her articles are based. Dr. Orloff is a psychiatrist, an empath, and is on the UCLA Psychiatric Clinical Faculty. She synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. Dr. Orloff also specializes in treating empaths and highly sensitive people in her private practice. Dr. Orloff’s work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, the Oprah Magazine and USA Today. She is a New York Times best-selling author of Emotional Freedom, The Power of Surrender, Second Sight, Positive Energy, and Guide to Intuitive Healing. Connect with Judith on  Facebook and  Twitter. To learn more about empaths and her free empath support newsletter as well as Dr. Orloff's books and workshop schedule, visit her website.

Ann commented on 15-Dec-2011 12:29 PM
I do that all the time at Starbucks. I pay for the person behind me and/or if someone is short at the grocery or in line, I often step up and ask to pay. It is fun to see everyone's reactions to these small expressions of kindness.
Pwint commented on 15-Dec-2011 12:40 PM
I occasionally leave $10-$20 bills on the bicycles or grocery carts used by the homeless people while they are warming themselves up in the public libraries. It's incredible joy and excitement associated with this form of giving.
Holly commented on 15-Dec-2011 01:02 PM
I was just reflecting on generosity/abundance when I came to this blog through an email. I love slowly my life down to give the gift of "time" unexpectedly to someone: to care, to share, to listen for the moments that we have together.
DR YOMI GARNETT commented on 15-Dec-2011 01:35 PM
Judith,this is great teaching!I agree with you totally on this concept of giving.I do this all the time.How can we collaborate to spread the message.Pls visit my website.How can I use my blogs to spread your noble message.pls contact me ASAP.
Brain Green commented on 15-Dec-2011 03:27 PM
I find myself that often giving precedes more coming in. I noticed this prior to reading about it as a way of opening to abundance. Sadly my survival fear promts me to be more of a scrooge than I would prefer. The rule of fear constricts, limits and restricts
me. hypnohotshot.
rina commented on 15-Dec-2011 04:24 PM
Thanks for confirming what I feel when I give, esp anonymously. Recently I asked a friend to "pay it fwd", they did; but then they told the person the $ had come from me orig. & I felt so let down :( I knew then, how much better I feel & shared that anonymous
can be better!
Debbie Unterman commented on 15-Dec-2011 04:30 PM
How interesting to read this. It makes me think of all the times I've felt lucky when I've "found" money and now I'm wondering if the denominations were planted there on purpose. What a reframe it is in my mind to go from being sorry for whoever may have
lost it. Not only will I pay it forward now, it will also make me feel completely new feelings next time I "find" money. I will now wonder whether I've been involved in someone else's good wishes for my fortune that day. Or maybe I'll just leave it there and
let someone else feel up on their luck.
Anonymous commented on 15-Dec-2011 05:30 PM
Funny I got this reading today .I was at a gas station and was ask for money for gas in the end I ended up emptying my wallet of money I had been saving for the newest gegaw,it felt so good to help someone!
Deborah Lynch commented on 15-Dec-2011 06:21 PM
I love this! Generosity comes in many forms: money, volunteering, a helping hand, or just a smile. All can make a person's day, and your day too! I volunteer for a breast cancer resource organization giving free Reiki sessions on the mobile support center.
This volunteerism led to me making some wonderful contacts for providing Reiki services. Blessings!
Laurel Latto commented on 15-Dec-2011 08:16 PM
Wonderful affirmation on the power of unselfish giving! My non-profit, DonnaBellas Angels, provides inspirational healing art to medical clinics & the public. Your teaching have helped in shaping its outreach. We use donations to finance the creation of
original art and art prints so it can be provided at minimal or no cost to the receipents. When a person receives an art print, it is a gift to them. If that person chooses to make a donation, it will pass on that gift to another. Thank you for your good words!
Nyree commented on 15-Dec-2011 09:20 PM
Agghhhh! I missed an opportunity to do this exact same thing today! Except it was in the supermarket. Lesson learned. I love the idea of leaving notes behind. How exciting, i cant wait to start. I am a big believer in you reap what you sow.
Elaine commented on 15-Dec-2011 10:18 PM
Thank you, Thank you..I've learnt another way of contributing to being generous. TQ..Merry Christmas and God bless. cheers,
CarOl commented on 15-Dec-2011 10:42 PM
A stranger walked into our local Kmart two days ago and paid off everyone's layaways. :)
margjones commented on 16-Dec-2011 03:57 AM
How fun! Especially around the holidays when people are typically more stressed. I plan to use some of the bright shiny $1 coins to use. They look like gold coins, will last longer outside, and won't fly away. I can hardly wait to start.
Anita commented on 17-Dec-2011 10:49 AM
Generosity doesn't need to be money. Years ago I was with one of my brothers in a cafeteria line and he had a pleasant comment for each of the three servers in the line -- beautiful smile, pleasant disposition, bright eyes, etc. His comments sparked the
entire serving line.
Marilyn Mills commented on 18-Dec-2011 06:55 PM
I see a wide variety of clients, very very poor to well to do. Unfortunately very few seem to have friends they ask for help: a ride, time to visit, play cards, to share parenting ideas. As the therapist it is tempting to become that friend but am careful
of boundaries. I do pay attention to being an available friend and model asking for and offering help to friends in my own world. Kindness everywhere is extraordinarily powerful. Take risks, be warm, while waiting in lines be friendly. Make a friendly fool
of yourself. If the space is "safe" talk to anyone about anything. I have a friend who quietly works on local race relations by creating community on the public bus routes.
Carol Richer commented on 21-Dec-2011 04:11 AM
I have spent half my life over giving with material things, only to realize it's not the things so much, as it is the generosity of heart behind the things that matter most. I think sometimes it is just a matter of being there for people when they need
you. A friendly smile, a little compassion goes a long way in today's world!
Anonymous commented on 23-Dec-2011 10:09 PM
Every time I have ever helped anyone in my life I have been screwed. All they ever did was take advantage of the situation. Your selling a false hope that the "universe" cares and is open to everybody. It isn't
Rajiv Parti commented on 24-Dec-2011 08:31 AM
I started a blog and wrote a book 'Soul of Wellness" and every thing is going to be free including no advertisements and I am calling it 'Karma experiment" where my 'income' will depend up on donation believing in the "Abundance and Generosity of the Universe"
read blog http://rajivparti.blogspot.com/2011/12/karma-experiment-in-abundance-and.html my website in making www.rajivparti.co/access
Sam Rudolph commented on 26-Dec-2011 05:24 PM
This kind of generosity creates a wonderful state of mind -- larger than life [much more than the tit-for-tat mentality that characterizes much of business and law practice]. And yes, abundance begets abundance -- just as success begets greater success
and good in the world. A lovely blog. [Your lawyer at Esalen last October]
Vicki D commented on 11-Jan-2012 05:45 PM
Thank you for confirming that my feelings are "normal!" :-). I keep change in my pockets and feed strangers parking meters when I walk by and see they are running low or out. My husband asks me why I do that because the people will never know...and my
reply is that the enjoyment of it is that they don't know. I feel it would brighten their day if they didn't receive a parking ticket....even if they didn't know they avoided one.
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