My giving has followed a heart path, not a master plan.
I was stopped in my tracks by inheriting money in 1978. I felt immobilized, unable to continue my job in international development or the life I had known. I went to the desert to ask for guidance. My experience there was so profound that I have returned to the desert each year to surrender, question, and receive.
Early on, I figured how much money I would need to live very simply until I was 90. I discovered I had more than enough, and from then on felt freer to give.
Some years I gave all of my income in one sitting, and other years I gave little. I’ve funded health, education, politics, social justice, spirituality, environment, and more; projects as traditional as building buildings and educating a child, and as unconventional as morphogenetic field experiments. I have given money within hours of meeting someone, without any follow-up evaluations; other times I have done extensive due diligence, scrutinizing budgets and double-checking everything. My contributions have been as large as $50,000 and as little as 50 cents; they've been one-shot offers and steady support for decades.
The most consistent guidelines I use are: “Is the person fully committed, working with a spirit of truth and care (not ego, guilt, and duty)? Is this work mine to do? Does it truly serve those in need?” My style of gifting –spontaneous, intuitive and unconventional – goes against so much in this culture. I have worked to free myself of judgments that I am naive, new age, ineffective, or unprofessional.
Of course we cannot know what will happen. I didn’t know I would have huge medical bills last year and be unable to work, but then again, neither did I know I would marry for the first time at 55 and receive insurance benefits, not to mention a great partner for my future. Because I’m confident I can support myself, I’m not dependent on the money and feel free to share it.
My real “trust fund” is in my heart, my community, and my connection with something much bigger than myself.