Dr Judith Orloff's Blog

The Power of Generosity and Anonymous Giving

Dr. 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.

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The Art of Soulful Giving

Dr. Orloff - Thursday, December 08, 2011


In my book, Positive Energy I describe the Four Laws of Energetic Attraction that manifests positive relationships in our lives. The fourth prescription is “Soulful Giving Generates Abundance.” Now that we are in the midst of the holiday season it would be beneficial for us all to reflect on the art of soulful giving. A gift is a transfer of energy from one person to another. Typically the giver chooses an object, wraps it in a box, ties a ribbon around it, writes a card, and presents it. Then the receiver reads the card, undoes the wrapping, reacts to the gift, and takes that subtle energy in. These vibes continue to permeate if the gift is used or displayed. Ideally this ritual is an extension of the heart, a sign of respect, appreciation. At worst, though, it’s a ploy to manipulate, bribe, blackmail, show off, or is part of a give-to-get cycle. In this blog, I describe how soulful giving draws caring relationships and brings them to fruition.

Gift-giving has been read in many different ways. For instance Freudian psychoanalysts adamantly view a patient’s gift to them as “acting out,” and never accept it. Rather, the alleged unconscious motives behind the gift are much probed, such as wanting to be liked or appeasing guilt. Despite the Freudian thesis, many cultures would consider rejecting a gift an insult. In Japan, modest gifts are traditionally exchanged on first meetings, a sign of respect. However, there are also cultural faux-pas such as a present of a clock in China--the word for clock is similar to the word for death, an ominous omen!

To spread positive energy in your world, the following exercise offers gift-giving strategies. As with all soulful giving, they’re intended to convey bountiful vibes for you and the receiver. Make sure to cross check if this is true on your energy-meter. However, one outcome you can bank on: if you give from your heart, vitality ensues.

  • Give spontaneous gifts for no reason other than you want to. Don’t just wait for designated holidays. A token gift lets someone know, “I appreciate you.” Though you don’t do this to “get something back,” you set in motion an energy cycle that inevitably brings sweetness to you.
  • Distinguish “good” from “bad” gifts for special occasions. Research studies have indicated that a “good” gift matches a person’s needs, not just what the giver wants. A “bad” gift is perceived as a bribe or aimed at securing some favor.
  • Choose gifts that resonate with the person. You may see something you intuit a friend would love. It leaps out at you, makes you smile, or communicates, “I’m the One. Buy Me!” You may not know the import the gift will have, but trust the force that’s compelling you.
  • Add loving vibes to gifts. Do this by holding the object or wrapped box in your hands for a minute, closing your eyes, and sending it a blast of loving energy from your heart center. These vibes will spontaneously expand out from your chest, down your arm, into the gift, which absorbs them.
  • To receive gifts also requires an energy awareness. The easy part is when they’re offered with love. Accept them in that spirit; let the positive vibes infuse you. If you feel a gift has negative motives, you have a few choices: accept, reject, or negotiate.

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