What do you have to give?

A friend just posted this on facebook. Its an incredible story that peers into our relation with others and into what exactly it is that we bring to the world. And quite clearly, its not all about the money.

Here’s what she said:

Years ago when I was still fairly young and new to the Athens community, I met another young woman who was selling soap. I said to this woman, I would really love to buy some soap and she looked at me for a few seconds and replied, “uh, no, I won’t take your money but whatcha got?” I felt sort of put on the spot because at the time I didn’t feel like I had anything to offer but money (this was before I knew how to knit, had chickens or gardens, etc.) and replied to her that I didn’t have anything to offer. She then said “EVERYBODY has something to offer.” She gave me some soap and I went away thinking about what I could offer.
This became a very valuable exercise in self examination and self worth. Indeed everybody has something offer – life brings us all through a unique path and with that skills, experience and knowledge. Maybe you are an avid reader and can offer the best top 10 reads of all time or maybe you are into music and have the best Funk album list ever or maybe you’re like David Wolfe and make the best biscuits ever. What do you have that could be of value to someone else? ♥

That’s a good question, right? What do YOU have to offer? What do you bring to the potluck of our human community? What gifts do you pass along to others? In what ways are the things you do contributing to the lives of other people you know and people you may never meet? In what way is the world a changed place from your being here?

Something to think about, at least…..

Peace all!

Make beauty real!


About Carter Gillies

I am an active potter and sometime pottery instructor who is fascinated by the philosophical side of making pots, teaching these skills, and issues of the artistic life in general. I seem to have a lot to say on this blog, but I don't insist that I'm right. I'm always trying to figure stuff out, and part of that involves admitting that I am almost always wrong in important ways. If you are up for it, please help me out by steering my thoughts in new and interesting directions. I always appreciate the challenge of learning what other people think.
This entry was posted in Art, Arts advocacy, Arts education, Beauty, Ceramics, Clay, Creative industry, Creativity, Imagination, metacognition, Pottery, Teaching. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to What do you have to give?

  1. Rebecca Brandow says:

    Hey Carter!   I get all your blog posts via email so I just thought I’d respond to this one in an email.  I had a big lesson in ‘what I can give’ when I started making pottery full time.  Before that, I had never bartered/traded anything.  I just assumed that the world worked on money for goods/services.  Then I met my friend Maggie, who makes less than $10k per year, and barters for nearly everything she needs or wants.  She makes hand spun yarn, but she’s also co-owner of an herb shop that makes lotions, sprays, soaps etc.  She said she’ll barter anything she can, and since I’ve met her, we’ve never exchanged money.  It’s always honey, pottery, soaps, the use of a pickup, help with a project or a job that needs done.  Never money.  I love this way of exchanging goods and services.  I have less money than I’ve ever had, but with the network of people I know with amazing talents and abilities, I have a better quality of life than I’ve ever had before.  It’s fantastic.  Everyone has something to give! 🙂 

    Have a wonderful day!  Becky   

    Willow Avenue Pottery Panora, Iowa



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