The Secret To Living Is Giving

Over the last 10 years of fighting my way to the top, or really just to a place where I could breathe slowly again, I somehow became all self-consuming. Now I hate to admit that, but I always thought that I had to get to certain place, or have x amount of dollars to start contributing to charities. I was under the silly notion that you had to have a lot of money to make a difference. Last year I became aware of how insanely ridiculous this was and that I was going to do everything I could to give more, do more, and be more of service. No more excuses!

It's so easy to get caught up in ourselves, especially here in Los Angeles. For awhile, for me it was really just about surviving. It's no joke, not everyone can make it here in this crazy city. People are defeated everyday, can't take it, pack their bags and off they go! Back to somewhere where things are cheaper, people are nicer, and the world is easier. It takes a certain kind of person to live and thrive in LA.

This place can beat you down, and oh boy did it! There have been so many moments where I had no clue how I was going to pay rent, but somehow I always manifested what I needed. So many ups and downs, but I never gave up, I just kept tinkering along. If there is one thing I know about myself, it's the never ending tenacity to just keep going!

To make a long story short, I was just way to caught up in surviving and because of that I got lost. I forgot that the real secret to LIVING, is GIVING. And no matter where you are at financially, there is always a way to be of service. I believe that if I would have given more of myself sooner, I would have not have struggled for as long as I did and I would have been more fulfilled and less self consumed.

Last year I started donating to this amazing charity, Operation Smile. What they do really pulls at my heart strings. I think there are so many things we take for granted on a daily basis and one of those things is our smile. I can't even fathom the thought of having my mouth and teeth so disfigured that I was unable to smile, and laugh without people staring at me. Then on top of that, being called terrible names and being an outcast because of it. It just makes me cry just thinking about it.

I take photos of beautiful smiles everyday, so this was just something that felt right to me. So last year I donated 4 life changing surgeries, to 4 beautiful children. When I think about these precious souls my eyes start to well up and I just wish I could wrap my arms around them and tell them I love them. Although I can't do that, I know that my small contribution will give them a life they would have never had and that gives me more peace than I have known in years.

A few days I ago I got this email

Dear Marisa,
I wanted to let you know that as one of the top donors to PPA Charities in 2015 we would like to officially recognize you and present you with a token of our appreciation at our celebration on Saturday night. The awards presentation will begin at 7:30 during the VIP cocktail hour. Will you be there?

If you will be at the party, great! We look forward to seeing you there! Listen for your name to be called...

Unfortunately, I can't go to the party, but getting this email was the most inspiring way I could have started off my new year!

I would like to encourage you to find something that moves you to tears, a way to be of service to someone that desperately needs it. If you can't give money, give of your time. The source of JOY and HAPPINESS is in the contribution to the welfare of the world.
It is in the act of selflessness that you will find your truth. I promise you that!

Be the change you want to see in the world - Mahatma Gandhi

Intimately yours,