The Joyful Generosity Project

Welcome to The Joyful Generosity Project. This endeavor was inspired by a recent gathering that I wrote about in this month’s Yoga Business Journal (scroll down to read the article under “Your Hidden Superpower”).

Our mission is to make our fellow humans happier through direct, nonjudgmental and anonymous giving, helping and contribution – whenever an opportunity arises. The target of our generosity is not limited to those in obvious need… We trust that everyone, whether they are panhandling for their next meal or driving their Masarati to their billion dollar corporation, will somehow be able to pass it on. Imagine what can happen in the life of that millionaire in the Masarati when their bridge toll is paid for them anonymously…

The stories keep on coming… We’re going viral, baby!

Today I heard from a friend that yesterday, she was standing in line at a grocery store and noticed that the guy in front of her was almost done checking out, but then took a bunch of items out of his bags, paid for what remained and went out. As soon as he was outside, she asked the cashier: “did he not have enough money to buy this pile?” The cashier nodded. Immediately, my friend said to her, “I got this, just add it to my bill!” grabbed the groceries and ran after the guy and said “Oh, hey, you forgot these!” Handed him the items, smiled, turned around and ran back into the store. By then the cashier was crying openly and all within earshot of what happened in that checkout line took notice. My beautiful, generous friend escaped anonymously.

I love my friends.

Post your comments here if you feel inspired, and definitely send me your story of anonymous generosity, or one that you witnessed (they all count!).  I’ll publish them here to inspire the world.

Your Hidden Superpower

OK, brace yourself. These next few paragraphs along with our community tele class in two weeks may fundamentally change your life and business. No, I’m not kidding, when have you known me to… oh wait, yeah, I do it a lot — but not this time, really. It’s happening in me right now and I’m trusting it will be contagious.

If you’ve been reading this journal for a while, you may recall that I’m involved in three communities that overlap quite a bit. The interplay of my yoga community, conscious dance community and spiritual community make for a very rich life for which I am so grateful, especially now.

Last week, my wife and I were invited to a small gathering of remarkable people from all three communities to hear a man speak about a project he’s been growing. His name is Nipun Mehta, and he rocks the world of anyone ready to hear his timeless and timely message. I was profoundly affected and if you’re still reading this, chances are you will be too.

So what’s this superpower we all have? Drum roll please… Generosity. No, nothing new, especially for yogis — and we’ve all seen the now faded bumper stickers about senseless acts of kindness a million times, I know… but hang with me through this and I’ll do my best to show that when applied in a certain way, generosity creates something special inside of us that is hard to describe and must be experienced to fully grasp. To illustrate, allow me to recount a story shared by two dear friends and community leaders only days after this gathering:

This past weekend at Sweat Your Prayers (our weekly moving meditation cleverly disguised as two hours of all-out dancing), they began initiating a simple generosity project. OK, picture this — at 8:30AM every Sunday, 150 people line up to get into this event (and we do it again with 150 more at 11:00AM)… yeah, crazy, right? So, in line with what we discussed at that gathering, they replaced several of the regular admission tickets with Smile tickets and put them randomly in the stack. When one came up, they let the attendee know their admission had already been paid for anonymously. We got to the registration desk just as a surprised dancer was given a smile card and believe me it’s named well, when she grasped what had just happened, her smile lit up the whole room! They also had a Generosity Jar for those who wanted to keep it moving forward… all completely anonymously.

Then they took all the money in the jar and turned it into Smile tickets for the next session. People were so inspired that they naturally wanted to participate, so they put something in the Generosity Jar, giggling with adventure and delight, and hung around to watch all the surprised faces of people who got to dance for free… It was so much fun and it infused the session with so much joy and gratitude. It was clear that everyone was affected, everyone! Are you starting to see where I’m going with this? Let me continue…

Before launching this Generosity Project, these wonderful women told two of their friends about their Smile ticket plan over lunch. Immediately, one friend pulled her wallet out and said “let me be the first to seed the free Smile tickets.”  The other friend pulled out his wallet and gave his credit card to the waitress to anonymously pay the bill for 3 elders sitting at the table next to them and asked to remain anonymous.  The stunned waitress, with tear-filled eyes, thanked them for making her day, and promised she would pass the kindness on herself somewhere in her life.

Another friend heard the story and was instantly inspired. There’s a street corner in a nearby town where many day laborers wait long hours in the sun hoping to get work… So this guy shows up with a stack of a dozen hot pizzas!

Yeah, pass the tissues. What astounds me is how immediately this unleashed superpower gets busy changing the expression on the faces of entire groups of people to one of total joy… and makes them want to do the same for others in whatever way they can, right away! This is the power of transformation on steroids, people!

Those of you who know my work, know that I focus on helping yoga teachers and studios create joyful, fun and meaningful environments that naturally build community and increase business dramatically as a by-product of making people happy. So, lets see, hmmmm… where could we find a receptive audience of good, open hearted, fun-loving, usually generous people who come to a specific place and pay their money to do something important for their physical, mental and emotional health? Sound familiar?

This is the big one, folks. The game changer for your life, the adrenalin for your community of yogis, the very thing that will make your business sparkle, be remarkable and irreplaceable in the lives of your students. This will make your offering of yoga meaningful to more and more people who will discover its magic through your superpower in action.

Want to change the world by doing good? Ready to get out of scarcity and step into the abundance of generosity? Are you ready to grow your community through a shared experience that makes everyone smile?  (OK, dude, we get it, enough with the questions already!) Good.

So here’s what to do: First, sign up for the pay-it-forward Seva-driven tele class now (space is limited, but I’ve opened extra lines for this call) by clicking here. Next, scroll down and watch Nipun Mehta’s TED Talk below. And finally, some homework to prepare for the tele class:

Between now and October 16, take opportunities to do little things that will start the energy flowing — pay the toll for the car behind you; or open the phone book and send someone you don’t know a greeting card with some cash in it;  help out a person in need, in whatever way feels right to you… the opportunities will present themselves when you’re ready to do this anonymously.

In only a few days I have watched this energy snake its way through our community and beyond. We’ll never know the full extent of how many lives we will touch, but we trust it will be huge!

Let’s spread the love and rock this epiphany, yoga style. Let’s see what we as a community of yoga entrepreneurs representing thousands of studios with hundreds of thousands of students in over 100 countries can do with this newly awakened superpower.

Don’t miss this. Get in the conversation. Post your comments and ideas right here on the Upward Facing Blog.