Giving a gift and expecting a return is not a gift at all. It’s an exchange.

What makes giving a move that’s so wonderful that it borders on the mystical is the intention with which you give it.

And if you want something back, you pollute the beauty of the present that you are giving.

Before I wrote this message for you, earlier this morning I read the words of the illustrious Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius.

He used the term “benevolent", which finally landed on my spirit in a way that I’ve long prayed it would.

I got it.

As a felt knowing versus as an intellectualized understanding.

To be a benevolent person [or leader, producer, creator, performer] is to do what you do in purity. For the right reasons. In high integrity. Only for the good of other people.

I’m not saying there’s something wrong with also doing good for yourself. Self-love is an essential ritual. And win-win is a great game to play.

And yet, you’ll ascend into the heavens of your greatest nature, finest nobility and most honorable heroism when you give for the sake of giving. Not getting.

The wise and courageous ruler [back to Marcus] who genuinely cared about the welfare of Rome [then the most powerful empire on the planet] and the state of its citizens also wrote in the passage I read earlier:

“When you have done a good act and another has fared well by it, why seek a third reward besides these, as fools do, be it the reputation for having done a good act or getting something in return.”

Philanthropy to get your name on a hospital wing isn’t real philanthropy, is it? It’s vanity.

Doing something for a loved one, a neighbor or a teammate and waiting for even a thank you destroys the magic of the glorious act that you did.

Just give them their reward. That’s your reward.

No strings attached. No reply required. No applause necessary.

In so doing, you‘ll become the ruler over your neediest desires, your ego’s relentless demands and all disloyalty to your primal powers.

And wouldn’t this be the ultimate gift?

Hope all this helps.

Stand strong and be of good courage.

Love + respect,


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