Tag Archives: Engage

The Pamela Positive: “To Be an Altruist, You Must First Be an Egoist.”

“To be an altruist, you must first be an egoist.” – George Gurdjieff

In 1919 Armenian George Gurdjieff founded the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man in Tbilisi, Georgia, in order to serve men in peace. Yet Mr. Gurdjieff’s commitment to helping others began with himself. It was about complete self-awareness; absorption in meditation; and pushing oneself to a higher attunement to the Spirit.  In so doing, we are then able to be conscious of our own spirituality as foremost in thought.

From that standpoint, we can then go on to help others.  We see everyone connected in spirit.  We wish the best for others as we strive for peace and perfect alignment for spirit for ourselves.  So we focus first on our own spiritual commitment, before we focus on helping other’s spirit, in this wonderful journey of life.

George Gurdjieff was an Armenian mystic and philosopher. He traveled in the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia as a young man. He taught in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and in 1919 he founded the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man at Tiflis (now Tbilisi), Georgia. In 1922 he reestablished the institute at Fontainebleau, France, gathering a group of followers who lived communally, engaging in philosophical dialogue, ritual exercises, and dance. His basic assertion was that ordinary living was akin to sleep and that through spiritual discipline it was possible to achieve heightened levels of vitality and awareness. The Fontainebleau centre closed in 1933, but Gurdjieff continued to teach in Paris until his death.

Philanthropy – Start Loving Others Now

Priority- After school program for kids in Nicaragua - cropped

While it is commonly accepted, I’m not sure I agree that philanthropy means giving away ‘money.’

Instead, philanthropy is the love of humanity, of people.

And what I cherish about this definition is that it is accessible to anyone, at any time.

We can all be philanthropists.

Whether you are getting the drycleaning, having a conversation with your boss or coworker, or saying a kind hello to a homeless person, you are a philanthropist.

Philanthropy should be, and is, accessible to all.

I love that we can start loving others now!


*The Definition of Philanthropy, in Merriam-Webster: 1: goodwill to fellow members of the human race; especially : active effort to promote human welfare 2: an act or gift done or made for humanitarian purposes

The Pamela Positive: “To Be an Altruist, You Must First Be an Egoist.”

“To be an altruist, you must first be an egoist.” – George Gurdjieff

In 1919 Armenian George Gurdjieff founded the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man in Tbilisi, Georgia, in order to serve men in peace. Yet Mr. Gurdjieff’s commitment to helping others began with himself. It was about complete self-awareness; absorption in meditation; and pushing oneself to a higher attunement to the Spirit.  In so doing, we are then able to be conscious of our own spirituality as foremost in thought.

From that standpoint, we can then go on to help others.  We see everyone connected in spirit.  We wish the best for others as we strive for peace and perfect alignment for spirit for ourselves.  So we focus first on our own spiritual commitment, before we focus on helping other’s spirit, in this wonderful journey of life.

George Gurdjieff was an Armenian mystic and philosopher. He traveled in the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia as a young man. He taught in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and in 1919 he founded the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man at Tiflis (now Tbilisi), Georgia. In 1922 he reestablished the institute at Fontainebleau, France, gathering a group of followers who lived communally, engaging in philosophical dialogue, ritual exercises, and dance. His basic assertion was that ordinary living was akin to sleep and that through spiritual discipline it was possible to achieve heightened levels of vitality and awareness. The Fontainebleau centre closed in 1933, but Gurdjieff continued to teach in Paris until his death.

The Classic Pamela Positive: Philanthropy at the Dry Cleaners

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Get inspired by an audio version of this blog!

I’ve shared before about philanthropy as “the love of people,” as a daily practice.

One day I had a pivotal experience that helped me be a better ‘daily philanthropist.’  Each day, I make a ‘to do’ list. The list might range from contacting a corporate client, to running an errand at the dry cleaners. Checking off these items certainly gave me a nice sense of satisfaction!

During this day, I found myself particularly busy. I rushed into the dry cleaners. I swooped in to pick up my clothes and left a bundle of clothes on the counter. “There!” I told myself triumphantly. “I fit in the dry cleaners before a meeting. I have gotten one more item off my list!” Accomplishment, I thought; and yet I didn’t feel it.

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What I realized is that the dry cleaners wasn’t an errand.

No, it was not a ‘to-do.’

It was an opportunity to love.

Life is not about lists. We aren’t programmed to just get things done. Instead, each activity, each to-do, each task, is actually an experience of loving. This is especially true because each experience usually means interacting with someone else. And when we do this in a calm, present, joyful way, that’s living. And it’s also the true spirit of philanthropy. Loving and being present with others, with mankind.

As one great thinker wrote, a person “… is a marvel, a miracle in the universe… With selfless love, he inscribes on the heart of humanity and transcribes on the page of reality the living, palpable presence – the might and majesty! – of all goodness. He lives for all mankind.”*

Rushing in and out of the dry cleaners, I had missed a valuable opportunity. What I needed to do was connect with my dry cleaners, know them by name, greet them warmly, and sincerely ask how they are doing. Now I know how Hao is doing, and we have a great relationship of warmth and kindness.  I look forward to our visits.

Writing a check is only one type of philanthropy. I’ve found that it exists at the dry cleaners, and pretty much anywhere we want.  Where does it exist for you?

*Mary Baker Eddy

Philanthropy – Start Loving Others Now

Priority- After school program for kids in Nicaragua - cropped

While it is commonly accepted, I’m not sure I agree that philanthropy means giving away ‘money.’

Instead, philanthropy is the love of humanity, of people.

And what I cherish about this definition is that it is accessible to anyone, at any time.

We can all be philanthropists.

Whether you are getting the drycleaning, having a conversation with your boss or coworker, or saying a kind hello to a homeless person, you are a philanthropist.

Philanthropy should be, and is, accessible to all.

I love that we can start loving others now!


*The Definition of Philanthropy, in Merriam-Webster: 1: goodwill to fellow members of the human race; especially : active effort to promote human welfare 2: an act or gift done or made for humanitarian purposes

The Pamela Positive: “To Be an Altruist, You Must First Be an Egoist.”

“To be an altruist, you must first be an egoist.” – George Gurdjieff

In 1919 Armenian George Gurdjieff founded the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man in Tbilisi, Georgia, in order to serve men in peace. Yet Mr. Gurdjieff’s commitment to helping others began with himself. It was about complete self awareness; absorption in meditation; and pushing oneself to a higher attunement to the Spirit.  In so doing, we are then able to be conscious of our own spirituality as foremost in thought.

From that standpoint, we can then go on to help others.  We see everyone connected in spirit.  We wish the best for others as we strive for peace and perfect alignment for spirit for ourselves.  So we focus first on our own spiritual commitment, before we focus on helping other’s spirit, in this wonderful journey of life.

George Gurdjieff was an Armenian mystic and philosopher. He traveled in the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia as a young man. He taught in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and in 1919 he founded the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man at Tiflis (now Tbilisi), Georgia. In 1922 he reestablished the institute at Fontainebleau, France, gathering a group of followers who lived communally, engaging in philosophical dialogue, ritual exercises, and dance. His basic assertion was that ordinary living was akin to sleep and that through spiritual discipline it was possible to achieve heightened levels of vitality and awareness. The Fontainebleau centre closed in 1933, but Gurdjieff continued to teach in Paris until his death.

Goodnet: How to Donate Your Time and Money to the Right Cause Part III

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This is Part III of our series from Goodnet, a socially conscious magazine, with an article on “How to Donate Your Time and Money to the Right Cause.”

Missed earlier installments? Read Part I and Part II here!

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7. How do you measure success within your organization?

First, we set “hard” goals and objectives in order to quantify our impact. These goals include: the number of donors and volunteers working with our NGO partners, aggregated annual volunteer hours, the number of corporate clients we work with, and our client retention rate. The more data we have on our work, the more we can continue to enhance our services moving forward. Second, we truly believe in setting and achieving “soft” goals. These include creating a positive team culture, encouraging UniversalGiving’s core values in everything we do, and developing a sense of leadership in our team members. We believe that all of these quantitative and qualitative objectives are critical for running a successful organization, especially in social entrepreneurship.

8. Facebook or Twitter?

Both Facebook and Twitter are so useful in getting the word out about exciting opportunities with our NGO partners, new UniversalGiving initiatives, highlighting our marketing partnerships, and connecting with our supporters. If I had to choose one, I would use Facebook for the greater diversity in content that you can feature, event invites – and certainly photos! A photo can move your heart more than the letter of an alphabet. Get people’s hearts moving, and their giving, will too. I also see so much value in unique social media platforms like Snapchat and Pinterest. Do something different, test it out, and find out what works!  

9. What do you want Goodnet users to know about your organization?

Goodnet users should know that at UniversalGiving we are always innovating. We’re stretching the boundaries of what’s possible in the social impact sphere. We do this through our website innovations, and also ensuring we are a model of sustainability through our corporate service. UniversalGiving Corporate helps manage global Corporate Social Responsibility for companies, including the strategy, operations and NGO Vetting. Showing you can bring in revenue and providing financial sustainability for your organization is important for social entrepreneurs everywhere.

10. How can people get involved?

You can get involved by giving $25 to provide a month of meals to a child in Haiti or volunteering with migrant children in Beijing for a month. Both of these opportunities will have an enormous impact on the people you’re serving – and on yourself.  We’re not just changing other people’s lives – we’re being changed into more compassionate people, too.

Please remember, we are all “philanthropists” every day. Philanthropy isn’t just about giving money or doing a service project overseas, it’s about the love of people. You can start at home. Find someone who needs your help and begin.