A few years ago, I received an interesting email with a Christmas gift idea that really made me think... The suggestion in this email was for each and every one of us to donate one pint of blood to a local blood collection center. Giving the gift of life to a stranger, to someone whose life might be saved by your gift... what an idea!
At Christmas, we usually focus on giving to our loved ones, to those close to us -- family, friends, co-workers. Yet all those gifts are "deserved", or in some way "conditional". We give to those we love or who love us, or in some cases to those that we feel we "have to" give to. Yet, in how many cases is our giving truly unconditional? When is our gift not a "give and take", an exchange, a sharing? When do we really express unconditional love?
Giving life to a total stranger who will never know who you are, who will never be able to tell you how wonderful your gift was, who will never be able to "give back" to you... now that's unconditional giving! The more I think about it, the more I like the idea! So many people have to undergo surgery for some reason or another... for some it is a genetic or birth defect, for others an accident, for some an illness. Yet, their life often depends on the generosity of a stranger, on the choice made by someone who decided to donate a pint of their blood to help someone in need.
On the upside, there are even physical advantages to giving blood (not just moral and emotional ones). I remember reading somewhere that donating blood actually helped you clean out your blood... because after all, your body has to manufacture fresh new blood to replace the pint you gave away. Thus, your body creates a pint of brand new blood to replace what you gave away. So the author of that article was suggesting that one should donate blood regularly, so as to ensure a new supply of blood.
Now, I'm not sure how far I'd like to take this theory, but it certainly makes sense. If your blood is tired, has accumulated toxins through the years, replacing a pint of old with a pint of new, certainly sounds like a good plan. Kind of like recycling, or donating your old clothes to the Salvation Army.
Good Karma: Doing a Good Deed
As for the metaphysical side, the law of karma is certainly at work here. When you do a good deed, you "earn" one in the grander scheme of things...
So I've given you two good reasons to donate blood (if simply an altruistic motive wasn't enough for you). Now for those of you who for some reason can't give blood (either a physical, emotional, or fear-based reason), you can always donate money to the Red Cross. In that way, you will also be helping someone in need since the Red Cross helps out in cases of disasters such as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. and needs cash donations as well as blood supply.
Where to go? If you live in the United States or Canada, call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE to find the nearest donation center to you. Or call your local hospital blood bank for information. The Red Cross also has a website at www.redcross.org
The Best Gift: The Gift of Life
What better gift can one give than the gift of life? All other gifts are fleeting... that new dress, bracelet or ring, or a new toy... All those gifts bring passing pleasure, but giving someone additional days in their life... now that's a gift of self that really makes a difference.
Blessings to you, and have a wonderful loving season of giving!
Growing Your Inner Light: A Guide to Independent Spiritual Practice
by Lara Owen.
Growing Your Inner Light gives specific advice on developing a unique spiritual path that fits exactly who you are, and what you hope to grow into as a spiritual being. Author Lara Owen clearly shows how a personalized practice can open the doors to living fully with integrity and to feeling connected with the surrounding world.