Musings: 6 Of Coins – Generosity

I failed my own test. I did not give to help him. I gave to make myself feel better. I handed him money to give myself a leg up emotionally. I felt so sleazy when I realized what I’d done. I mean a bad taste in my mouth.

Six of coins. Generosity. Hand outs. Charity. Strings.

There are so many things wrapped up in this card for me. I give to the homeless when I can. I do my best not to judge if they are “real” or not. That’s not my place.

There is a gentleman who works a corner near my office. He is an older man with mahogany skin and a snow-flecked beard. He has kind eyes. I gave him money the first time I saw him and have looked for him since. Saw him on my way home tonight.

I gave him money again–not a lot…just a dollar. Then I talked with him for a few moments. It was surreal really. Talked about how nice the day was and how I had been locked up in the office most of the day. He mentioned it had been nice to not get rained on. As I drove off, I realized that I’d just had my very own six of coins moment.

6_pentacles_robin_woodSee, one thing I tell my clients is that you have to watch out when someone gives you something. There are often strings attached. My grandmother was really good at this. She would give you money as a gift then try to manipulate you into doing something her way. I never did get good at standing up for myself with her so I tended to avoid her. Now do not get me wrong. My grandmother was an amazing woman. She was loving. She was intelligent. She rocked. But she also didn’t give freely.

So I tend to associate this card with that kind of generosity. “Here. You can have this but I want this from you.”

And I realized I did that to this homeless man today down on Lamar street. I drove off feeling so good about myself. I’d not only given him money, but I’d spoken to him as well. Then I realized what a shitty thing that was to feel. I mean who am I to think my talking to him for the few moments the light was red was a gift to him? He probably thought I felt obligated or something.

In a way I did because I didn’t want him to think I was too good to speak with him…have a real conversation I mean. But what amazing ego on my part, right? I didn’t just give him the dollar. I took something from him because I made myself feel better than those others in the car behind me who didn’t even offer him a smile much less a buck and a few real words.6pentacles_rws

I failed my own test. I did not give to help him. I gave to make myself feel better. I handed him money to give myself a leg up emotionally. I felt so sleazy when I realized what I’d done. I mean a bad taste in my mouth.

I’m not really sure how I feel about all of this processing. I’m going to try to give to people without expectations more. I’m going to try to manifest the true –to me– sense of the six of coins. When I give, I don’t want to feel as if I’m trying to get something back. I want to give freely.

I think that by giving freely and without expectation, I am creating a better me. What do you think? What are your experiences with giving and recieving? Are you a better giver than a getter?

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17 thoughts on “Musings: 6 Of Coins – Generosity”

  1. I think you are being very hard on yourself! I often look at the 6 of coins and think that it is in the giving that we ourselves receive something far more greater.

    So I suggest here that perhaps you talking to him was not a gift to him, but his gift to you. Does that make any sense at all?

    Yes you felt better about yourself because you gave him money and time, but if he had not responded how would you have felt? Perhaps the gift he gave you was for you to realise that doing something no matter how small, whether it be giving money or passing the time of the day
    has it’s own rewards, one’s we do not necessairly expect.

    I’ve waffled enough… far too philosphical for me – time for some birthday cake, even if its a day early 😉

    Helen´s last blog post..Weekly Walk in the World of Waite/Smith – The Hermit

  2. But here’s the thing: you will probably always remember and reflect on this moment. You felt alive, whether you fully comprehend your kind, spontaneous act or not. You connected with another and that momentary exchange made an impact on both of you no matter what. By giving, we may be receiving messages that are too complex to absorb on an immediate level. But somehow I think the nuances of one’s good intentions do reveal themselves in time. What you did was not sleazy, but took emotional effort to carry through. And for this, I applaud your courage and your willingness to explore a side of yourself that too many others tend to ignore. It would be much easier to turn a blind eye and refrain from reaching out to a stranger. But you followed your heart and perhaps felt the sting of empathy in the process. From my perspective, this speaks volumes about you as a person, a beautiful person.

    1. Whoa. You really gave me things to chew on here. I think the sting of empathy is a very good way to put it. I won’t stop reaching out but I will try to remind myself that it is not a bad thing. Thanks very much Lisa.

  3. I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of giving without ending up with something yourself. Which is not to say that I have expectations or strings attached to giving! I just mean you give to the homeless because you believe it’s good/right/just/what have you. The point is, you give because by your worldview it’s the thing to do, but isn’t that inherently self-rewarding? If you feel like you’re doing the right thing or it makes you happy to give, then you’re receiving something in the act of giving. It doesn’t cheapen the act by any means, but I just don’t know how you could get away from giving without getting anything out of it.

    And who knows, maybe the man enjoyed chatting with you. After all, he could have just ignored your small talk and moved on. 😉

    Heather´s last blog post..IDS Day 57: Knight and King of Cups, The Fool

    1. I do understand what you are saying. Someone once suggested to me that the most rewarding acts of kindness were the ones we never told anyone about. And you are right. He could have moved right on down the line of cars because there were plenty there.

  4. I also always felt if you do a kindness the only person that needs to know is you and God. That meant that it came from your heart and you just felt great that you were able to help someone. That was your reward. I am sure you also made him feel good that you talked to him. How many people just drive by and ignore homeless people. You made him feel that he was worth the it and human like us. For all we know he fought for our country in Vietnam and became a product of all the harsh stuff that he had to go through fighting for our freedom etc……….We all know that in a spit second with a sudden turn of events – job loss etc that anyone could be homeless too. You did good.

    Peace

  5. In the law of abundance and prosperity, when you give, you are opening doors to receive. This is given freely and receiving freely, which I feel you have done. This experience will somehow change your life, which is your receiving. Your exchange of money to help will also open the universe to him. Both parties are using this law. Your exchange for now was immediate and it will prove greater later down the road because this is a natural state of the universe. I hope this helps or did I muddy the waters?

    Brightest Blessings,
    Rebecca

    1. I don’t think my money will help open the universe to him. I realize what you are trying to say but I just don’t know that I ccan agree with it. 🙂 Thanks so much for commenting!

  6. In Australia, our homeless have a completely different culture. Begging isn’t tolerated. Those who can strum a few chords on a guitar or wail out a blues melody are welcome to busk for money – if they have a licence which costs money, but any other form of begging brings a lot of legal attention very quickly.

    Our unemployment allowances are supposed to be adequate to keep people from being homeless, and in fact when I’ve been between jobs I managed – just. But I didn’t have an expensive habit to support. Well, okay, I buy Tarot decks and books on a regular basis, so yes I have an expensive habit to support, but it’s not a habit that will reduce me to physical agony if I discontinue.

    Black market trade in things and services provides for Australians the little extra that begging seems to do in the states, but creates its own comet-tail of problems. In the cities, there are charity-funded hostels providing beds on a first-come-first-serve basis, and a number of food van giving out free feeds no questions asked. You see people drinking on corners, and huddled together on corners and sleeping on corners. you don’t see them begging on corners.

    You said: “talked about how nice the day was and how I had been locked up in the office most of the day. He mentioned it had been nice to not get rained on.” It seemed to me he was not servile at all, not trying to please you or stressed by the conversation to get that dollar at all. He was scolding you. A woman with enough money to run a car? Who at in an office? He had been out in the rain all day on many days. He was ascerbic, witty, critical of your cloistered existence in air conditioned comfort never knowing what the weather was like for the likes of him. I see humour in that, and an awareness.

    I’d be inclined to give him money, and not talk to him. then not give him money but talk briefly. I’d also, if you so decide, buy twice the lunch I normally would, and give him something solid and substantial to eat rather than cash, which could be spent in any number of self-destructive ways.

    1. .Nisaba, I can see how it might sound as if he were scolding me but he was not at all. I did not give the entire conversation simply due to time. He was in no way mean or ugly. I think I was feeling a big guilty because I had and he had not. Thanks for your input though.

  7. Oh, I didn’t mean that kind of scold. I actually had a sense of the gentleness of hos voice. Perhaps, “making you aware”, scolding you in a bit of a Hermit way, perhaps …

  8. I agree you are too hard on yourself. Giving is supposed to make us feel better, and it’s not as if you had strings attached to the gift like your grandmother did.

    For a slightly different perspective on the Six of Coins, I had a reading years ago with Mary Greer and that card came up. This was before I had sold a book, and she said it was the “publishing” card, showing the rich publisher giving money to the struggling writer. I guess the person who draws the card could be either giver or receiver, and not always the same one.

    This is a great blog. 🙂

    Linda McLaughlin´s last blog post..Friday Fun Quiz: What Easter Candy Are You?

  9. I agree you are too hard on yourself. Giving is supposed to make us feel better, and it’s not as if you had strings attached to the gift like your grandmother did.

    For a slightly different perspective on the Six of Coins, I had a reading years ago with Mary Greer and that card came up. This was before I had sold a book, and she said it was the “publishing” card, showing the rich publisher giving money to the struggling writer. I guess the person who draws the card could be either giver or receiver, and not always the same one.

    This is a great blog. 🙂

    Linda McLaughlin´s last blog post..Friday Fun Quiz: What Easter Candy Are You?

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