The pureness of generosity


It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” –Mother Teresa

Generosity comes in many forms, but when you experience it first-hand, it feels authentic.

There is no “giving to get.” It is pure; the person choosing to extend themselves on your behalf has no ulterior motive except to help, perhaps responding to an inner prompting to be of service.

Recently, I was the recipient of such goodwill. A woman professional listened to my dilemma and gave her high level professional advice without charging a fee, or attaching any expectations to our conversation.

I sensed a genuine kindness of one woman truly wanting to help another, no strings attached. From this experience and other observations, I have seen increasingly that generosity has little to do with income or standard of living, but more with how someone values himself or herself and others placed before them.

Sometimes, if we truly “hear” another beneath the story they are telling us (or themselves), we can choose to respond with compassionate giving. Those types of compassionate choices take some discernment, a moment of pause, to choose to truly “be” with another person, without asking for something in return.

I am starting to see in such circumstances there is a sort of karmic exchange, reminiscent of that old saying of “what goes around, comes around.” Or, put another way, help others in their time of need, and you will be helped. The surprise is the person who “pays it back” to you may not be anyone you expected.

In my case, it was a complete stranger, who listened with care, concern and kindly, without judgment, expertly shared her wisdom and valuable expertise. Grateful for the exchange, I am reminded to find a way to pay it forward by serving another with equal dignity in their time of need.

Love is an act of service and we thrive by both giving and receiving it.

Beth Shedd’s photo of the child cradling the bunny represents the gentleness of giving to others without the need for reciprocation.


1. I allow myself to generously and lovingly extend myself on the behalf of another.

2. I allow myself to listen with compassion to the needs of another, without judgment.

3. I allow the grace of silence –by taking a moment to pause—to guide me with discernment in how to respond to others placed before me.


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  • Hi Gail,
    Just leaving DEN today to come home after 10 days. It’s been great being here with my daughter, son-in-law and their beautiful 10 week old babies. I really
    had the experience of just doing everything I could to help and save them time without any expectation of getting anything in return (well, maybe their appreciation). I’m not used to preparing meals for others, or running errands, shopping, getting their cars washed (and one registered) and then helping with feedings and changing diapers (it’s been 38 years since the last one). It was a real joy just being of service, and of course just holding those little ones. I experienced some real joy and peace holding them heart to heart. The only thing I never got the hang of was swaddling. Every time I did it, they got one or both arms out – it was pretty funny. I did get in 2 days of skiing in the middle of the trip. Thanks for your writing!

    • Gail says:

      Craig: What a precious, endearing story of generosity–taking care of twin, 10-week-old babies (after 38 years without much practice). You so poignantly shared how that sometimes to give to others, and truly extend ourselves selfessly, we have to step out of our comfort zones. It sounds like you were more than than rewarded by “the real joy of just being in service” as you noted. Glad you got in some skiing after all your caretaking. Love, Gail

  • Alice Greene says:

    “Love is an act of service and we thrive by both giving and receiving it.”
    Gail, this is such a perfect and profound way to describe love, and I’ve never seen it said this way before. And it correlates with another saying I heard recently that “experiencing meaning – or a meaningful purpose” – always comes from being in service to others. Hence, to love is to give to experience meaningful purpose.

    It really is about how much love we put into giving and treating others, or as our dear Course of Miracles teacher, Dijana, used to say “How can we love in this moment?”

    Great post!
    Love, Alice

    • Gail says:


      I love your correlating thought about experiencing meaning –or meaningful purpose–through service to others. And, it was touching that you remembered our work together with Dijana, such a powerful and inspirational teacher. Thanks for taking the time to comment on today’s post…much love to you. Gail

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