How I raised 561 dollars, got my ‘Patronum’ and felt the power of gratitude!

Can I have your money for my birthday?”, I asked my Creative Flow subscribers two weeks ago. Instead of birthday gifts I asked donations for Charity: Water.

500 Dollar would give 16 people access to clean water.

Oddly enough I felt seriously anxious about my request. What would happen if no one wanted to donate?

I know! Scary, right?!

But soon the money poured in.

Donations from people I’d never met before. Money from friends, fellow entrepreneurs, clients, family. From neighbours who left me lovely notes with money in my mailbox at home.

Dear Esther, Happy Birthday. I don’t own a credit card, can you wire this money on my behalf?”

Within five days I raised 561 dollar. I felt deeply thankful, incredibly wealthy and supported at the same time.

I realised that a simple act of Paying it Forward lifts us up and wraps loving arms of gratitude around us.


1. Holy Cow 561 dollar!!
Foremost the idea that due to these donations 18 people have access to clean water. Besides that, every dollar I raised underlines how fortunately we actually are. Being able to open the tap and fill our glasses with clean water might not be considered special in so-called developed countries, but it’s a non-existing luxury to 633 million people — yes, that’s twice the population of the United States — .

2. We attract what we are.
My Clean Water Action also revealed something deeply valuable to me personally.

I realised that I’m surrounded by people who understand that Paying it Forward is awesome. In other words I’m surrounded by positive, actionable people who believe the wellbeing of all of humanity is important.

Those amazing people are in my life because they feel connected to me. That in itself is so unspeakably wonderful that it almost leaves me speechless.

Actually, there are no words to describe how that feels.

Here’s why….

I suffered from severe depressions for almost ten years. Ten years where I put on my ‘I’m okay, please fuck off” mask in the morning and spent my nights hidden between the curtains and the couch.

Convinced I was the least likeable person in the world. Too ugly, too mean, too fat, too stupid. Too insignificant. Too unlovable.

Contemplating ending my suffering. Who in her right mind would like me? Who would miss me?

And now, 15 years later, here I am. Knowing I am enough.

I am a mother, wife, friend, sister, daughter, guide, a whisperer of delightful souls, owner of a thriving business.

I am alive and kicking and the amazing people in my life are a reflection of who I am today.

We attract what we are. Having amazing people in your life means you’re amazing too!

3. Gratitude causes flow, flow empowers (we need our power when we slay our dragons).
Acknowledging that ‘We attract what we are’ and seeing the beautiful people in my life, caused waves of unbelievable gratitude. Gratitude is a huge flow booster.

I noticed that the level of flow in my life is even more powerful than I realised.

And we need gratitude to see what amazing stuff we’re capable of.

Here’s the thing. Before we know how to thrive life can be pretty difficult.

If you’re stuck in a rut it’s hard to see your talents. If you’re tired of fighting all-the-time it’s difficult to see what you actually have achieved. If fear screams louder than love it’s absolutely impossible to see what magic lies ahead of you.

But where ever we are in our life, we all have conquered some inner dragons. We know how to do it. From standing up for yourself at High School to starting a business — even though we were scared to death.

We did it! Right?

You’ve slay a dragon for sure — maybe you’re right in the process hurray for you — but as soon as the dragon has vanished into thin air you tend to forget how courageous you actually are.

Water under the bridge and all that.

When 22 people decided to helped me Pay it Forward it felt like they somehow acknowledged my long and windy road. As if “Expecto Patronum” they conjured my personal Patronum. Something we all deserve!

4. Paying it forward always works like magic
Let me proof to you that it works.

My 12 year old son Abe had saved his pocket money to buy me a birthday gift — yes, my non- clean water related gift — from our local Art Supply Walhalla.

We were celebrating my birthday — and the Clean Water donations — with cake and tea — when my son started to look increasingly desperate. Rummaging frantically through his school backpack. Searching for his gift.

But the gift was gone. And he felt awful. He has saved money, carefully planned his trip to the store, this was supposed to be his big “Tadaaaaa” moment.

I immediately called the store to ask if they’d found the package.

Nope sorry.

Within 3 minutes they called me back.

Yes, they remembered the boy who bought a gift for his mother. “He wished me a wonderful day!” And could I please send him back to the store?

15 Minutes later an exhilarated son gave me my gift. Beaming! The wonderful people of Flokstra — the art supply store in Groningen — replaced the lost package with a new one.

Happy Abe with his replaced birthday gift

5. Paying it forward is bigger than you and I.
Let’s do the math. 
22 People donated to clean water (and undoubtably felt good about that)
18 People got access to clean water (and they undoubtably will help their friends and family too)
1 person (me) got so much more than 561 dollar worth of donations. 
1 son (who has Developmental Coordination Disorder, meaning simple things like writing, or tugging a birthday gift in a backpack can be very difficult to him) got his confidence back.
1 person at Flokstra (but I guess everyone, because I immediately wrote a raving review on their Facebookpage) must have felt great about herself.

When we donate, give a stranger a huge smile or an unexpected compliment we set in motion a karmic sequence of action and reaction that is so powerful we can’t even understand were it leads.

Whenever you feel out of flow, thinking you are insignificant, do something small without expecting anything in return.

Your smile might trigger an unprecedented wave of change and joy.

If you want to experience Joy and Flow on an even deeper level you are more than welcome to use my free Freedom Flow program.

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