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Give with an open heart, and your will receive things more precious than gold.

Even though I have paranoid schizophrenia, and I experience symptoms every day, that is not all there is to my life. I have a mental illness, but I don’t have to let it define everything about me. This is a blog post about a woman, me, who is multifaceted, who doesn’t always eat, sleep and breathe an illness. There are times when I want to write about how I am like the people who don’t suffer from a mental illness. There are times when sameness is more powerful than differences. I hope this is one of those times.

I love living experiments. I once read a book about a man who tried to live the Bible literally for one year. It was seriously one of the funniest books I have ever read – the author actually threw stones at people in Central Park. I normally don’t laugh out loud at books, but this one had me crying. I leant the book out to someone who hasn’t returned it. I might buy it again, because that kind of laughter and humor are always welcome additions to my life.

I also read a book about a couple’s experiment on not buying anything that was made in China for one year.

I have read many books about life experiments. I love them. I have often wanted to live an experiment myself and write a book about it.

This is not a unique idea to me, but I have often wanted to try it: not buying anything new for a year. The parameters are that you can buy food, gas, and basic necessities, but everything else has to be recycled. So, you can buy off of Craigslist or at a thrift store, but not at a retail store. Not only would this living experiment save someone a lot of money, it would be good for the environment, and would mean not purchasing items made in a sweat shop.

I started a living experiment once with the goal of writing a book, and proving to myself that you can’t out give God (other people might define this as the Universe, Karma, the Great Spirit, etc.). My goal was to give something away every day. During the experiment my husband and I bought socks for the homeless, and we bought toothbrushes and tooth paste, and razors. A couple of times we bought meals for people who said they were hungry. We also gave to charities, and sent gifts to friends. The experiment was all about giving, and we didn’t limit ourselves to who we gave to. The point was to give every day, and for a while we did.

It was remarkable. The experiment took place a few years ago, but I remember I received money and things from random places. I received an old check from HUD from when I sold the house that my first husband and I lived in. I received gifts in the mail, and refunds. I would unexpectedly receive discounts at stores and restaurants. It was amazing.

My conclusion really was that you can’t out give the Creator (or however you choose to see or explain the force in the Universe). I’m not suggesting you give away your house, or your car, or your grocery money, but if you have a little extra to give to someone in need, or to a charity you know is legitimate, or give a gift to a friend you haven’t seen in a while, you might want to try it. You may be surprised at what you get back. It may not be money, but it will be something valuable.

Giving is a spiritual practice and one the universe (God) will always be better at than you.