“Even chance meetings are the result of karma… Things in life are fated by our previous lives. That even in the smallest events there’s no such thing as coincidence.” ~Haruki Murakami
A few nights ago I went to pick up take-out Chinese food. On the ride to the restaurant my mind wandered to a few things that have been on my mind, worrying me.
As I waited for the owner to pack some fortune cookies—an essential—I pulled out some cash to leave a tip. Not seeing any cup to put it in, I handed the cash to the owner when he returned to the counter.
He thanked me and then tucked the money in a piggy bank.
“It’s a good luck piggy bank,” he told me. “I put the money in here and it will bring you good luck.”
I took a closer look at the white and pink porcelain pig. In all my years of being a patron at this restaurant, I had never noticed it!
“I’ve never seen this! Why didn’t you tell me about this before?”
“See? These are the Chinese characters and they mean good luck.” He pointed at the painted side of the pig. I can’t read Chinese, but gladly took his word. “Anytime you need some good luck, you can put the money in here.”
The thought made me smile.
It immediately hit me how serendipitous this moment was. Only minutes before I had asked you, Universe, for a sign. I smiled, thanked the man and carried the food back to the car.
I took the good luck act as a good luck sign.
As I drove home I was struck by the idea. Usually when I give tips for service, it’s meant for the person receiving the money. Never has it been about giving and me receiving something in return.
Then I thought about how that’s not entirely true. Usually when I tip, I do it with intent. As I hand the money to my barista, or leave some behind for my waitress, I always do it with a willingness and happiness behind it. It gives me joy to give to someone else.
That feeling of happiness is what I take away.
I think we’ve all experienced a time in life where we gave a gift because we felt we had to or felt someone gave us a gift without a loving intention behind it.
It’s not a good feeling. In fact, it gives me a pit in my stomach, a knot in my throat.
Yes, it’s important to be generous. But it’s also important to be conscious of what we are giving, why we are giving, and how we are giving.
We need to give only when it feels right and hold back when it doesn’t. We need to be aware of the intention of the act—whatever that may be—when we give. If our intention isn’t one that’s good, or is just mindless, we need to take a moment to think about it and perhaps reconsider the choice.
“If you send out goodness from yourself, or if you share that which is happy or good within you, it will all come back to you multiplied ten thousand times. In the kingdom of love there is no competition; there is no possessiveness or control. The more love you give away, the more love you will have.” ~John O’Donohue
You see, when I gave the tip to the owner of the restaurant, I was genuinely happy to do so. That’s why when he told me the piggy bank was good luck, I was excited and excited enough to take it as a good sign.
Had I mindlessly tipped or tipped because I felt I had to, I wouldn’t have reacted the same when he told me about the piggy bank. In fact, I probably would have felt guilty or undeserving.
The exchange at the restaurant was a good reminder that what you give really does come back to you in some way.
I believe in karma. People often refer to karma when it comes to the bad stuff—that if you do something wrong, hurt someone or practice some sort of injustice, it will return to you.
I’ve seen that to be true.
But karma can be for positive and wonderful things too. As the sayings go, no good deed goes unnoticed; no act of kindness, however small, is ever forgotten.
And while sometimes you get exactly back what you give—a hug for a hug, kindness for kindness—other times you don’t.
Sometimes you get back something greater.
Like giving a small tip and getting some much needed good luck in return.
Thanks, Universe, for reminding me to be aware of what I give out to the world and the intention behind my actions. It’s a life lesson I work on every day.
(Thanks also for sending me some luck. It’s appreciated.)