A few weeks ago, on the kind of grey drizzly morning that Vancouver is famous for, I found a handwritten sign that said: “Take What You Need”. The sign was set up like a for sale sign with tabs across the bottom, but instead of contact information, the the tabs offered the most valuable things in life. Was it money? The latest technological gadgetry? A new car? No, it was things we, as humans, really need:
When I read it, I was moved to tears. The one I needed most that day was ‘encouragement’. I was heading back to work, and working all day and spending evenings editing my book for publication. I was tired, and in that fatigue, the fear that things might not work out was eating away at me. So, when I saw the word ‘encouragement’ on that sheet of paper, it brought tears to my eyes. I was being given exactly what I needed.
I’ve been on a spiritual path for some time. As a meditation teacher, I know I help people, but nothing felt as immediate and magical as being able to anonymously help someone else I’ve never met by giving them what they needed and reminding them that it’s free.
So, a few days later, I made my own sign, based on one I saw on Facebook (at The Karma Experiment page) and put it in a local cafe. The staff there gave me some tape so I could put it up. Over the next few days, I watched as each tab went missing, knowing somehow it was making a difference.
A few weeks later, I replaced the sign to this one.
Then, today, I noticed my original sign was back. In my own handwriting. That’s when I met Mark Teasdale (@MarksGonePublic), a photographer who shot my original and tweeted about it. He introduced me to Valerie Walsh (@ValeriaWalsh) online. The two of them have been tweeting photos back and forth to each other. Now, there’s a challenge. More on that soon!
Have you seen these around Vancouver? Let me know in a comment below. Or if you were the person who posted the graphic I found downtown, near Royal Center, please identify yourself, where you posted it, and the colour of the paper you printed it on! We ALL want to thank you!!!
Would you like to participate in your own hometown? Download the file below and write in the qualities listed above. Post it somewhere in your town and let us know about it. Tell us on twitter or leave a comment below! If you want to blog about it, let us know too!
Have fun sharing the goodwill!
The Facebook Take What You Need Project (Not started by me)
Lady Terror’s Take What You Need Page
Mano y Metal’s Take What You Need Page
Twitter’s #takewhatyouneedproject and #takewhatyouneed hash tags. (We’re using #takewhatyouneedproject)
Take What You Need (on tumblr)
Editor’s note: The founder of Take What You need contacted me. Since this original post, she’s done a blog post talking about Take What You Need. Be sure to read it here.