It’s not a trade, it’s an offering

Gifts from the Heart

Agapi2Have you ever heard of “Greek hospitality”? Or better yet, experienced it? In our culture, we are notorious for of­fering our hospitality to strangers. I have heard so many stories from friends who visit the Greek isles about being invited into a local’s home for dinner. If you find yourself joining a Greek family for dinner and, perhaps, admire a pretty cup, the hostess will probably say, “Take it with you.” That generosity can fill you with the warmth of life and a feeling of home, no matter where you are.

Whenever someone visited my family’s home when I was young, whether it was a dear friend or a new neighbor, my moth­er would always say, “What can I offer you?” I remember one night my mother wore a beautiful pearl necklace to dinner with some friends. During the meal, a woman my mother had just met admired her neck­lace. Instantly, without a second thought, my mother unhooked the necklace and placed it in the woman’s hands, saying, “Here, take it, now it is yours.” The woman was amazed and reluctant to take the neck­lace. She said, “I wish I had something to give you in return.” My mother said, “But my dear, it’s not a trade, it’s an offering!”

Classic Mom! When we got back home, my sister and I asked her why she did that. “My darlings,” she said, “there is no explanation for such a thing. It is given in the moment, in the spirit of offering.” This virtue of “radical generosity” has stayed with me ever since I was a little girl. Following my mother’s ex­ample, I, too, have done things for others in a spontaneous, joy­ful, and somewhat random way. The reward is priceless. I have also been a recipient of other people’s unconditional offerings, and it has had a profound effect on my life.

Agapi Suggestions2I’m always hearing about “empower­ment,” people looking to connect with their own power, uncover their hidden potential. I believe there’s a simple and immediate way to empowerment: look inside yourself and tap into your place of “radical generosity”—make an offer­ing! It’s profound how life thanks you for your offering. If you want to be lifted, lift someone else. It’s the quickest way to know your best self and, ultimately, your power. 

Remember that these offerings don’t need to be material: offer your goodness, offer your knowledge, offer your humor and, above all, offer with your heart. When we genuinely offer with our hearts, our hearts experience oneness and connection with others. This kind of spontaneous offering is not something you schedule or plan—it’s a response. You see someone with a need and you help to fill it. That intention behind the action is what makes it an offering.

Adaptation by Agapi Stassinopoulos from her latest book Wake Up to the Joy of You: 52 Meditations and Practices for a Calmer, Happier Life. Harmony Books. 2016.

To enjoy more of bestselling author and inspirational speaker Agapi Stassinopoulos’ wisdom and adventures visit her at



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This article is a part of the 2016 Holiday - Radical Generosity issue of Whole Life Times.