Day 5 | The Gift of Sharing with Nature

xmas star


While wrapping a gift one year – a live French Thyme plant for my partner – I felt eager for Christmas when he would open it. In that moment, the gift would show him my thanks for all the days, hours, and time he gives to us.

We could celebrate how time flies by and recall how the gift of thyme charms more than the eye, green thumb, and taste buds, for its humble homophone — time – gives the sound of time passing a double meaning, so it’s twice as sweet to share.

This perennial gem with green, pointy leaves and red-tinted stems carries magic. Besides its pungent flavor and many cooking uses, thyme’s medicinal qualities could save your life from flu or fears. It eases acne, anxiety, blood pressure, and coughing, all the while boosting immunity, fighting viruses, and repelling mosquitoes!

Thyme is unique, but, like any gift, the sheer act of offering the gift invokes a spirit far beyond whatever is physically given. A gift’s enchantment depends on the quality of attention, intention, joy, and spirit given to it by the giver.

Elder societies seem to be more aware of this, that the larger the circle of sharing grows, the more magical a gift becomes.

“For that special magic,” writes Lewis Hyde, “I have to give blindly, and I will feel a sort of blind gratitude as well.” As gratitude grows, and each time a particular gift is given and then passed on to another, the spirit of the gift expands.


The earliest artists made gifts as offerings for Nature, giving thanks for the food, shelter, water, and beauty provided to the community.

In his timely book {The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World}, Hyde tells how the Kula people of the Trobriand Islands give gifts to each other, just like we do, but they don’t give them tit-for-tat. It’s not a barter, because If a person receives a gift necklace, for example, they don’t exchange for it. But they by custom give away an equivalent seashell necklace to another, which widens the circle of giving. When the gift extends beyond two individuals, to Nature and to groups serving Nature, the environment, and the community, the gift is not kept for long.

An exchange between two people, or simple reciprocity, keeps the gift-giving in a closed loo. But gifts shared with a circle of friends spark a special kind of magic in the gift. When I give to someone from whom I do not receive (and yet I do receive elsewhere), it is as if the gift goes around a corner before it comes back. Fulfilling its quantum boomerang mission, the full circle of sharing – whether the share is a diamond, a cup, or a compliment — is complete and ever-expanding.

Gratitude expands the light within a thing, and depending on how it is offered, the innate value of the gift can decrease or increase.

When we give a gift to the forest, to the birds, to a charity, church, or service organization, or to the Earth or Ocean, we are acknowledging the larger gifts of gift of life: breath, food, and love. Every gift that extends the circle of goodness beyond the self or one other person increases the value of the gift.


When I lived in Indonesia, my Balinese friends told me there’s a soul in everything and the human purpose in life is to “make more and more beauty.” On the island “where the gods spend their vacation,” the goal of society is harmony, not individual power. All education emphasizes cooperation, not competition.

As you walk through narrow village streets, native spices and luxurious flowers create an aromatic mélange that alerts the passerby: someone is praying, making an offering, and giving gifts to a higher power.

The Balinese family I lived with honored the Earth and Sky on a daily basis, constantly finding, cutting, cooking, and artistically shaping foods and colorful blossoms into edible shrines. These delicious masterpieces feed all three eyes in the mystic dimensions: the physical eye, the energetic eye, and the spiritual eye.

They harvest rice from well-kept terraces to feed the people but as they return home with wagonloads of rice from the fields, they stop first at temples on the path to give priests and priestesses the first portions of rice to feed the community soul.

The temple keepers cook it over a sacred fire, maybe with a touch of coconut oil, eat a little bit, and from the lion’s share they prepare elaborate one-to-ten-foot- high offerings which embody and honor the soul in the land, water, and air.

This temple art is carried ceremonially to larger temples where the divinity of the gift grows. Offerings are transformed into Banten tegeh – high offerings – to serve the gods and nourish the people. Festive temple events include feasting, warmth, the beauty of firelight, exotic dance, and mystical gamelon music for gods and humans alike.
Bali offering

Sacred gifts enhance the life energy of everyone, especially when community members come together to move in unison, flow, forgive the past, reimagine the future, and heal fractures in the community. Celebrations of the New and Full Moon, Solstice, and other holy days feed the people good nutrition, but more importantly, they nourish the shared heart of the community.

Thousands of smaller flower, rice, and incense offerings are made in homes. They too are banten, gifts, which connect to elementals, helping spirits and ancestors who help keep the family and community safe, happy, and in balance. Banten made of palm fiber and banama leaf are woven in early-morning gatherings of women and left at shrines and in doorsteps of shops to welcome the gods — customers and transpersonal spirits — in a daily ritual of abundance and attraction.

The Prana, the spirit and lifeforce, is released and increased through the continuum of giving. Small, private rituals and the larger ceremonial festivities interweave throughout the island on a continual basis and contribute to an ambiance of sharing with Nature that uplifts everything and everyone.


By giving their gifts first to the spirits of Nature that nourish the rice and feed the people, artists contribute to an ever-expanding circle of exchange. The artmaking that forges this relationship is not transactional. In the full circle of giving and receiving selflessly, the spirit inherent in the community grows and becomes more coherent when the gift is first given to the land, the waters, and all of Nature. Spiritual coherence is the goal, not financial increase.

The larger the circle of giving, the more potent the gift.

The high arts of the temple keepers distill that grace into gifts given back to Nature, inviting more abundance into the full cycle of life. Everyone is called to participate in this circle through home shrines and temple festivities. All are uplifted by the ancient ceremonial gift-giving cycles, and this is self-sustaining. It feels so good when societies are harmonious and humming in right relationship with Nature.

Connected to the larger circle of being, giving, forgiving, and sharing, the Balinese Temple priests and priestesses realize that giving gifts to feed the mouth and stomach, without passing the offering through the spirit world, most certainly feeds the stomach, but it will not feed the Soul.

As I watched my partner opening his gift of thyme in the candlelight that Christmas Eve, I saw his eyes light up in pleasure and surprise. “A thyme plant?” He asked. “Why?” I told him I felt certain that a New Time was coming. In fact, it had already arrived, as his thyme plant!

There’s nothing to lose in adding Thyme to the garden, I assure my partner. There’s nothing to lose either, when we offer extra loving by giving our gifts first to Nature or a higher power, and then to a specific person.

All things considered, gift-giving is simply an extraordinary and noble thing we do as humans.

Savoring all our gifts this year, both given and received, I wrap myself in the warmth of new wonder and awe for life. Walking outside to stand near the coconut palm, breadfruit, and avocado trees around my home, I feel incredibly fortunate. Thank you, Nature. Mahalo for the plants, the air, the joy of giving.

As the wheel of time turns, may we let go of what’s unnecessary and make wise decisions about what’s truly important. May all that we wish for in 2023 come merrily from life’s dreaming: more peace, more hugs, happier people, abundance, health, more intimate gatherings, healthier dinners, outings, vacations, service to the community, graduations, partnerships, celebrations, and reunions.

May it all be nourished by the full circle of sharing.

I want to wish you a joyful and meaningful holiday time. It’s family time. It’s a time for introspection. It’s a time for remembering that we’re all in this together. And together, we can make a world that works for everyone! And so it is.

May you enjoy the season of giving all year round!

Much Love and Namaste!

Marya for ArtWaves

May this little gift bring you joy. If you are in a place where you can support ArtWavEs (AWE), please contribute to our vital work of sharing love, art, and good nutrition with children and families. A gift of any size is deeply appreciated.


ArtWavEs Purpose: Please spread the good word about ArtWavEs work of sharing Peace Flags and our unique Peace Painting process by sending this brief video to friends!


Note on Thyme: There are more than 300 varieties of thyme, whose medicinal properties differ vastly from one species to another. The Thymus vulgaris like the French thyme I gave to my partner is the most widely used for culinary and therapeutic purposes.

design © 2024 lucid crew