The Spirit of Offering

Saturday was a beautiful morning, the sky was smiling blue and the gentle breeze made the palm trees dance. 

I went for a six mile run along the canal, my favorite trail, away from the cars, pollution, and sidewalks. Hubs came with me on his bike.

The trail is shared by many runners and as we pass each other I feel like a member of a healthy bunch.

Occasionally there is a homeless man that sleeps there. If I see him, I say a blessing and wish good things for him.

This time hubs and I decided that when we finished the run, we would pick up breakfast for him.

I grew up In the the Catholic church where offerings are made in gratitude for some favor that is granted. An offering is a way of giving back. 

As a child I witnessed and joined my parents in making offerings. For our family it was a way of life. For example, we owned a produce farm. On Sundays we would take offerings of fruit and vegetables to the city and deliver them to needy families. 

You don't need to belong to a church to make an offering. What is needed is a genuine heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for what you have. Offering becomes a way of life, a part of who you are.

Agapi Stassinopoulus, in her article for the Huffington Post, suggests offering is a way of empowering ourselves. 

"In a world that is so used to trading, to exchange — I'll give you this and you give me that–we have lost one of the most precious free gifts, and means to empowerment, the gift of making an unprompted offering. This sort of offering is not a planned, wrapped gift, but a spontaneous offering, without a box, without a bow, and without the expectation of something in return."

We live in a world of fear, lack, and greed. It's easy to come across articles and conversations about "not having enough" or "how to get more." Seriously, who isn't worried? Who doesn't want to make sure their "supply" doesn't run out? 

Many people are angry. Many people struggle to keep their basic needs. Many more have lost everything.  

It's important to take a stand, take action, and do what you can to make your life and the world a better place for yourself and others. 

Agapi suggests, "instead of dwelling on these disparities and become disconnected and withdrawn, what if we were to tap into an internal well of offering, and instantly strike a new source of wealth?

We also live in a world of abundance. What will you offer?

Your offering can be tangible. It doesn't have to be. You can offer kind words to someone who is beaten down, offer hope to those who have given up, offer help to those who are overwhelmed, offer a text to someone who is hurt, offer understanding to someone who is confused, offer a time to someone who is old. 

When we moved to our new home we rented a truck and hired three men to help us.

It was 90 degrees on moving day. One of the men shared that he was 59 years old, he was slow and walked with a limp. I noticed that each of them wore old and worn out shoes, with little support.

Hubs and I immediately decided to help. Together we talked, laughed, and made a tough job seem like fun. 

When the last box was lifted off the truck we had turned our movers into friends.

Before they left, I asked if they would give me their names, addresses and shoe sizes. I offered to get them each a new pair of shoes. They were thrilled and asked if they could hug us goodbye.

Look for opportunities to make offerings throughout your day. Again, It doesn't have to be material. Offer your peace, offer your compassion, offer your laughter, offer your friendship, offer your time, offer your talents, offer non-judgment, offer love.

  

You will be given countless opportunities everyday to make offerings. Seize them. You'll feel peaceful, rewarded, abundant and blessed. 

  

In celebration and gratitude of all that you have, I invite you to make an offering today.

What offering have you given or received that has made a difference? Please share in the comments below.

{ 35 comments… add one }

  • Jt Clough | Big Island Dog November 22, 2011, 11:48 am

    Here in Kona I tend to say Aloha, sometimes short chat, at least acknowledge those who are living outdoors. One day I was talking to a guy who was waiting for a women who was using a public restroom I was going to use. We talked a bit. One of the things that somehow came up in that conversation is many times there is no soap left in the public restrooms and those who are living out where he is especially in Hawaii are subject to staph infection and need to wash with soap more to avoid it. *Another interesting thought that just popped up for me, many times people assume that the homeless are not smart… not true. Many are actually brilliant….anyway…

    I tend to put the extra fruit and vege’s that grow in my yard and food I’m not going to use the rest of in a bag and take it down to the “locals beach” in Kona and drop it off. Your post prompted me to put on my grocery list bar soap as well as some other food items today to add to the food package I plan to drop off for Thanksgiving to my local outdoor living friends.

    Mahalo for inspiring even just one more person to think of ideas through your thoughtful post.

    Reply
    • Tess November 23, 2011, 2:24 am

      Jt,
      Thanks for sharing all that you do. I think it’s more important than ever to help others out in every way that we can. Tangible or not, they are equally important. No kind act is small. No offering is small.

      Reply
  • Christopher Foster November 22, 2011, 12:13 pm

    I love the uniqueness of the huge blue spruce tree that grows outside our front door. I love the uniqueness that I feel in our planet. And I love your brave, unique, generous-hearted spirit. Thanks for sharing Tess.

    Reply
    • Tess November 23, 2011, 2:25 am

      Christopher,
      I’m happy we are good friends. My sister has a huge blue spruce tree in her front yard. She planted it when her children were young.

      Reply
  • Megan Bord November 22, 2011, 6:56 pm

    Oh my gosh, Tess, you consistently inspire me to live more boldly in this regard. You’re right – now, especially, is a time of fear in our country. “What if I lose it all?” or “what if I don’t have enough?” More than ever, as you’ve shown me, we can push fear aside and live from a space of eternal abundance, blessing those around us, and blessing ourselves in the process! And what we give doesn’t have to be monetary (although who among your readers doesn’t have an extra $1 they could give to someone who isn’t connected to a laptop, the Internet, etc. … it’s easy to forget how blessed we are). I’m amazed at how happy people seem when I smile at them in public. It’s like I’ve given them a gift, and the genuine smile they give back is heartwarming — we all win.

    I’m sharing this on Facebook. It’s awesome and so are you!

    Reply
    • Tess November 23, 2011, 2:27 am

      Megan,
      No no no, you inspire me! Yes to eternal abundance. True abundance is difficult to lose. I’ve seen the poorest of the poor feel blessed. I volunteered in a orphanage in Mexico for three months and I saw amazing happiness in the midst of poverty.

      Reply
  • Sandra / Always Well Within November 22, 2011, 7:29 pm

    What an amazing expression of open-heartedness this article embodies. This is a practice I would like to engage in more. For now, I enjoy giving fruits and vegetables from our garden.

    Reply
  • Tess November 23, 2011, 2:28 am

    Sandra,
    Thank you. You’re seeing your reflection in me. Just sayin!

    Reply
  • Peggy Nolan November 23, 2011, 10:51 am

    Hi Tess,

    What a beautiful offering. Last week I watched my husband make a beautiful offering: Two pairs of steel toed boots to the gentlemen who collect our garbage every Tuesday morning. My son-in-law recently made an offer to us – hamburger and steak tips from a deer he hunted (I guess that would be deerburger).

    Tomorrow we are offering breakfast, not just to our adult children and grandchildren, but to our friends who never thought of celebrating Thanksgiving Breakfast.

    Namaste dear Tess!

    xxoo
    Peggy

    Reply
  • Cathy | Treatment Talk November 23, 2011, 2:22 pm

    Hi Tess,

    What an inspirational post! An offering is a wonderful suggestion, especially for this time of year. I give to others when I can who I know they are less fortunate, as well as charities, etc. It is wonderful to give with no thought of return. Giving anonymously is another wonderful way to go. You know you are helping and it makes you feel so good. Happy Thanksgiving!!

    Reply
    • Tess The Bold Life November 26, 2011, 3:24 am

      Cathy,
      Happy Thanksgiving to you and thanks for all the blessings you bring to others. Thanks for your support!

      Reply
  • Emily November 23, 2011, 3:08 pm

    I recently surprised our neighbors and friends with a pumpkin pie. They have been very helpful to us over the summer, and I finally got around to giving them a tangible “thank you.” The awesome part was, they loved it, even though the crust was whole wheat and it was sweetened with honey and xylitol instead of sugar!

    Reply
  • KenWert@MeanttobeHappy November 23, 2011, 4:10 pm

    What a wonderful post, Tess!

    And what a beautiful person you are! The world needs a whole lot more Tess’s running around doing good. The second best solution to spreading good is what you do here. Thanks for the kind reminder to us all to dig a little deeper and step by step, person by person, make life a little better here.

    If everyone saw as their highest priority the need to leave the world a little better than when and how they found it, just think how wonderful things would be in short order!

    We like to carry food in the car to help. We also pay 10% to our church to use for a variety of projects. The point isn’t to pat myself on the back, but to say thanks for the inspiration. It motivates us to reach out to other and do a little more.

    And more certainly need to be done!

    Thanks Tess.

    Reply
    • Tess The Bold Life November 26, 2011, 3:26 am

      Ken,
      I’m glad you see the point isn’t to pat ourselves on the back but to inspire others. I debated on if I should share this post or not. Why not? My life is my content right? Thank you for being a giving person and an inspiration as well.

      Reply
  • Jimmy November 25, 2011, 12:19 am

    Tess,

    You confront us all with our inner ability to give to others what we already have. We feel the abundance and give or we could adopt scarcity and hold onto what we have.

    There is really no excuse for anyone of us not to give. We have within us all manners of resources to give to others on a daily basis. It is only a matter of being alert to the opportunities to share and give to those in need.

    Reply
    • Tess The Bold Life November 26, 2011, 3:29 am

      Jimmy,
      That’s a good thing…awareness! It’s not difficult today to be aware of the needs of others. I’m happy I have a big heart and enough to share.

      Reply
  • Mac November 25, 2011, 6:52 am

    It is so nice of you to help this homeless man. When I was in college, there was an old beggar who used to sit at the end of the lane. I used to bring him bread, water whenever I used to pass that way. It really feels great to help someone in need.

    Reply
    • Tess The Bold Life November 26, 2011, 3:31 am

      Mac,
      I think we remember a lot about what we give because it makes us feel good. I’ve never walked away feeling sorry for help that I gave to another. Although I have walked away expecting something in return…giving without expectations of any kind is the best;)

      Reply
  • Louisa November 25, 2011, 1:03 pm

    Your post brought tears to my eyes – a couple of times… (I know, I’m a big softie!) Very inspirational. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Tess The Bold Life November 26, 2011, 3:33 am

      Louisa,
      Yes I’m a softie as well. You must have a big heart! Thanks for your support. I appreciate you.

      Reply
  • John Sherry November 25, 2011, 3:46 pm

    Great reach out and call to give Tess. An offering of all that’s right in life in itself. I always offer to help older people when they drop something, look lost, need help across the road in case the lights change and generally give them time and a chat as it may be the only one they get all week. One day that may be me! It never takes much and yet fewer and fewer people offer to help these days. Not the world I was born into. Blesses and blisses for a lovely reminder of the good in life.

    Reply
    • Tess The Bold Life November 26, 2011, 3:34 am

      Hi John,
      Older people especially need to feel loved. It’s difficult to age and feel like you matter in our world today. Thanks for being you!

      Reply
  • David Stevens November 25, 2011, 4:51 pm

    Terrific post Tess,
    I offer smiles all the time and a generous helping of supportive & uplifting words.
    Thank you.
    be good to yourself
    David

    Reply
  • Karen Van Allen November 25, 2011, 7:42 pm

    Tess,
    I had not heard the story about the movers and the shoes. It did bring tears to my eyes and I’m not a big softie! Great blog and it motivates me to find a way to give an offering. You both are observant of the world around you and looking for ways to give. That’s a better place to focus than on what is missing in my life.
    Peace and joy,
    Karen

    Reply
  • Katrina Kennedy November 25, 2011, 10:48 pm

    Tess,
    This is a beautiful post and a beautiful example of who you are. Opportunities for offering surround us. Thank you for the reminder.

    Reply
  • Betsy at Zen Mama November 25, 2011, 11:32 pm

    What a beautiful post for this Thanksgiving. A great reminder on how to live Thanksgiving every day. While we sometimes feel we don’t have a lot, we should always reminder that many people have less than we do. It’s a helpful way to be even more grateful for the what we do have in life.
    Thanks Tess!

    Reply
  • Tess The Bold Life November 26, 2011, 3:27 am

    Louie,
    Yes let’s make the world a better place. One action at a time is a good way to begin. Thanks for your support!

    Reply
  • Sophia November 26, 2011, 4:45 am

    One beautiful and warm article, thank you for sharing your brilliant experience, and I enjoy it. Neverless today is thanksgiving day or not, I would like to always keep a thankful attitude to things and persons :D.

    Reply
  • Noel November 26, 2011, 7:57 am

    Tess, this is so heart-warming and I’m thrilled with your generosity. Yes indeed, every small act of kindness can make a big difference, for instance, a stranger’s smile can just brighten up our day, isn’t it? Thank you so much for the reminder. Let’s spread the love together!

    Reply
  • Lubna November 27, 2011, 12:23 am

    Nice post. I firmly believe and have seen it happen that the more you give the more you get back. One of the things that I like about Islam is the mandatory Zakat, giving a part of your income to the needy for their sustenance, for medical or educational relief. I’ve learnt about giving through this tenet. It really requires you to keep aside part of your salary for giving back to society.
    http://writerscyberslate.blogspot.com/2011/08/eid-mubarak-eid-greetings-happy-eid.html
    But as you rightly said, giving is much more than just giving monetary aid, it can be as simple as a hug to someone who is down and out at your workplace.
    Best,
    Lubna

    Reply
  • Tina Wills November 27, 2011, 12:29 am

    I tend to put the extra fruit and vege’s that grow in my yard and food I’m not going to use the rest of in a bag and take it down to the “locals beach” in Kona and drop it off. Your post prompted me to put on my grocery list bar soap as well as some other food items today to add to the food package I plan to drop off for Thanksgiving to my local outdoor living friends.

    Reply
  • Bill Dorman November 27, 2011, 9:40 am

    Great story; I’m a firm believer if you can give without any expectations in return you will be rewarded many times over.

    I try to be as outward thinking as possible; my volunteer work with the Guardian ad Litem program has allowed me to improve on this and be much less judgmental.

    I saw you at Stu’s so thought I’d drop by; thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  • Deborah November 28, 2011, 10:58 am

    Hi Tess! I so loved this post! The shoes you offered you moving men reminded me of a woman we knew when we lived in the West Indies; she cleaned our home. She was a lovely woman and for decades after we left the island (until she passed away, I believe), my parents continued to send her shoes and other items twice a year. It was a small act of kindness that made her everyday life a little bit easier. Living in a third world country as a young person — a place where sewage ran in ditches along the sides of the street and the operating theater of the hospital had no screens — drove home for me how incredibly blessed we are. Thanks so much for sharing this!

    Reply
  • Rand November 30, 2011, 8:39 pm

    Hi Tess,

    Such a conscious way of living each day brings us closer to the Divine.

    Thank you!

    Your post brought this question back to me:

    “Can I live a life of giving that would light up someone’s sky?”

    The question was being asked by ‘Souldipper’ during Uzma’s latest post.

    When I work at the San Diego Convention sometimes I park on the street near Father Joe’s Village. A huge tented compound has been constructed recently to give shelter for many this winter. It does get pretty cold and wet here in San Diego. I remember one very cold rainy night as I was making my way quickly to my car, a shivering man asked me if I had anything dry for him? I instantly gave him my favorite coat off my back. Thank you for mentioning the elderly that live alone. I have my ‘Little Mom’ (a bit over 4 feet and 70 some pounds) who is alone. I invited her over for Thanksgiving…she declined…so I did the next best thing by bringing her ample food the next day and doing a little fix-up work for her.

    All your other suggestions are wonderful!

    Reply

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Welcome! I'm Tess Marshall and I’m Passionate about supporting people who want to lead a fearless and bold life.
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