Hi Neale...I'm new to this newsletter, but am wondering what to do with my feelings toward pan handling. I give generously to a few of my favorite charities, including those that serve the homeless. I generally don't give to those who ask for a couple of reasons: opening my purse increases my chances of being robbed, and I can't afford to give every time I'm asked. I much prefer to give to someone who "seems" like they could use a few extra bucks without being asked (but this requires some judgment on my part).
I find myself becoming angry at those who tell me a long story only to learn later that it's part of their shtick of working the streets. I don't want to be "worked" by professionals. Incidentally, the longer the stories some of these people tell, the more they don't make any sense. How do I handle this?
DF, Springfield, IL
Dear DF: If somebody wants your purse, they are simply going to snatch it from you and run. They're not going to wait for you to reach into it to give them something they can get without robbing you. But if you are really so worried that you don't want to "open your purse," the good news is that you don't have to. Just carry two or three small bills in a nearby pocket and always have them "handy for handing out." All you have to do then is reach in, grab a single or a five, and hand it to those who ask.
I give money to anybody on the street who asks for it – and to many who do not. If I'm walking by somebody who is clearly and obviously in need of help, I simply reach into my pocket and share some of what I have with them. I don't judge people, and I certainly don't "become angry" if they tell me their long story. In fact, I don't even let them. If they start in on what sounds like it's going to be a long story I simply say, "Hold it. Look, my friend, you don't need to tell me your story. Here's some money, simply because I've got some. Have some. Enjoy it."
Everybody has some, by the way. If you only give a quarter or a half-dollar, most of us have some we can give. And if we really do not, then simply say so. Just say, "Man, I'm in the same spot you are. I ain't got a dime." But if you have a dime, give a dime. Why? Because life is offering you a chance to demonstrate who you really are. You are not doing something for someone else (such a thing is, by the way, impossible), you are doing it for yourself, in order that you may have a direct experience of who you really are.
That is why everything happens to you in your life, do you know that? Not just the panhandler who walks up to you on the street. Every event in your life. It is all designed to give you an opportunity to decide and to declare, to express and to experience, to become and to fulfill Who You Really Are. Did you not know this?
Sending Pure Love and hugs,
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