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You know that scene in The Color Purple when Whoopie throws the gold coins out the back of the train to the younger her on the tracks behind?

Well, I was convinced I’d be throwing coins by now.

Being in your twenties is the eternal struggle between throwing coins and keeping them for yourself. Helping the next person and trying to figure our what is God’s name is going on with you. Even the most focused of us with our designer day planners and copious amounts of post-its, even we can feel torn between the two.

Talking to girlfriends in their 30s, I sense that I am speaking faster than any of them. Like my anxiety about the future is a engine that keeps my words bumbling faster than the air can make room for. And it’s not that I am particularly worried that I’ll turn out a failure. Inexplicably, there is just a part of my soul filled with enough faith and reassurance to know that my life will make a difference and mean something. But it’s the worry that I am missing my moment to throw coins.

By throwing coins, I don’t mean bottle popping, shopping, flossing. Honestly, we all know all it takes is the risk of bad credit and we could fake the funk too. I mean sharing like truly focusing on giving. As I talk to mentors and folks who have gone before me, I am always amazed at their propensity to give. Like they are pulling from a stream of something never ending. And I want to be that good, but how do you give when you are at your wits end?

There’s a quote by the legendary poet Gwendolyn Brooks that I turn to whenever the question consumes my mind. She said:

Exhaust the little moment. Soon it dies.
And be it gash or gold it will not come
Again in this identical guise.

While it’s easy to get caught up in the things you need to achieve before giving to others, that whole sequence is incorrect. It’s only when you give away that new things can come into your life. And sure giving time, energy and space to other can sometimes feel exhausting or too intimate, but its only through being open, through sharing that we get closer to the selves we want to be.

Today, give away your gold coins and know that with every piece you give away you’ll gain so much more.

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  • Culturally Aware

    “It’s only when you give away that new things can come into your life”

    Powerful statement, but its so hard to practice! It’s better to give what you can afford to give with a pure heart. I am not just talking about money here…but emotional & spiritual giving etc. Giving should not be based on the motive to recieve something at the end. Giving without expectations is the best course of action because naturally good things will eventually follow.

  • You are amazing. And I must say- 10 years ago (at 25) I would have ‘toe a hole in yo arguement’ even in all my glorious twenty-something wisdom. But at 35, I can say with certainty that what you say is true.

    Which ultimately means, you are a wise one, young jedi:)

  • TimSoFamous

    I don’t get it!