Sacrifice, Humility, and Giving Back

Collective readings

"It is time for something to be given–and given up–for the sake of the bigger picture. If nothing comes to mind immediately, take time in meditation to consider what must be offered and who is to receive it." Kim Krans, on the Offering card.
A round card depicting an outstretched hand, against a cosmic background and crescent moon
The Offering. Wild Unknown Archetypes Deck by Kim Krans

I'm always very clear on what I want from Spirit. I'm not sure I've spent the same amount of time giving back.

Pulling this card prompted me to examine all the ways I've been acting entitled. I've been focused on all the things I'm not satisfied with, and expecting them to change just because I want them to.

Since I got this card, though, I've been trying to do things differently. I've tried to give back. And I thought it's important to talk about that here with you all, because our spirituality can't just be about getting stuff and having things go our way.

How do we pay our respects to Nature, and to whatever you believe is out there? Because it's one thing to feel grateful, but it's a whole different story to actually practice that gratitude. And if you've been around here long enough, you know what I believe: a spirituality that isn't lived isn't real. It's an idea, not a practice.

So here are the two ways I've been practicing turning my life into an offering. It's not much, but that's kind of the whole point, isn't it? It's not about grand gestures; it's about sincere effort. Anyway, I write them here in case someone reading this is interested in giving back as well and doesn't know where to start. Maybe something here can spark some ideas in your mind.

1. Time

My friend took me to the Nairobi Buddhist Temple a couple weeks ago ... I think exactly the same day I pulled this card. I've been calling myself Buddhist for close to 6 years now, and this was my first time in the temple.

Seated there cross-legged on a floor cushion, this card replaying itself in my mind, I made a promise: that every week henceforth, I'll make time to go to temple.

I'm not going to temple to do anything. I literally just sit in silence for about an hour, reflecting and meditating. I'm not hoping to get anything out of it. I'm not trying to gain 'spiritual points', or seem cool and mystical, or start speaking in dulcet tones like a monk.

The time spent there is not even really about me. It's an offering to God(dess). I'm making a declarative statement to my overflowing to-do list, telling it – telling myself that this time is sacred.

My spiritual practice is more important than my errands.

An offering is a gift you give, with no expectation to receive. The satisfaction comes in doing the thing itself, and what that means to you. If I need to get something back to feel good about giving, it's not an offering – it's a transaction.

2. Attention

I've been meditating on and off for a couple years now. Mostly off, if I'm being honest. I got serious about it after reading Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabbat-Zinh.

(Amazing book, by the way. Highly recommend for beginner meditators.)

When I started practicing meditation, it's because I felt like I should. Later, I wanted to find enlightenment. And most recently, I realized that a daily spiritual practice is absolutely essential for me having the right frame of mind through the week.

Either way, it's always all about me and what I want.

Nowadays, I don't meditate because I'm chasing the high of nirvana. I do it because offering my mind to God(dess) first thing in the morning is one of the most sincere ways I can show my devotion.

This will make more sense if you understand me: I'm one of those people who wakes up anxious. The stress hits me before my body is even vertical. I wake up with my mind buzzing about how I'm a failure, and how I need to work harder, and how I'm lazy and that's why everyone else is doing better than me. It's like it's been biding time until I open my eyes, by which time it already has an entire script prepared.

So ignoring that urge to get up and rush around, and choosing to sit still for 10 minutes is truly, deeply, madly radical. It is WILD. It's me pushing back against the anxiety and telling it, "This is more important than you right now."

My 10-minute meditation is an act of revolution.

And it's my way of honoring of Spirit. It's my way of saying, "You are important to me; spending time with you is important to me; putting you first in my day is important to me."

That's it. Two little actions that seem insignificant on the surface, but signal a big internal shift.

How do you give back? What's your offering? 

Thanks for reading. 🌻