Giving Back To Those Who Spiritually Feed You

I just received a check in the mail for $9.61 from Kimya, a woman who told me that my blog post†Stop Striving. Youíre Already Enough inspired her and that she tithes to people who spiritually feed her and make a difference in her life. This is the third such check Iíve received from people who also share this practice of tithing to those who fan the flames of their soul. Having never heard of such a practice, it inspired me to invite you all to do the same.

If I were to start such a practice right now, Iíd owe hundreds of thousands of dollars to the people who have inspired me along the way Ė†Rachel Naomi Remen ,†Martha Beck,†Louise Hay,†Bernie Siegel,†Brene Brown,†Marianne Williamson,†Kris Carr,†Wayne Dyer, Richard Bach, Anne Lamott,†Christiane Northrup,Chris Guillebeau,†Elizabeth Gilbert,†Eckhardt Tolle,†Byron Katie,†Sheila Kelley, Martin Seligman,†Judith Orloff,†Jonathan Fields,†Mama Gena,†Sonja Lyubomirsky,†Larry Dossey,†Sera Beak,†Danielle LaPorte,Neale Donald Walsch, and countless, countless others.

Iíd have to drain my bank account to even begin to express the immensity of my gratitude for how deeply these people and many others have touched my life.

But what if, instead of going backwards in time, I started today? What if YOU started today?

Tithing For Inspiration

Growing up in a family of three Methodist ministers, I was certainly taught to tithe Ė to give 10% of my earnings to the church as gratitude for all Godís blessings.† But I have to admit, it always felt a bit like a racket. I never really resonated with the church, and although I know they tried to do good in the world, it wasnít the kind of good I wanted to do.

But giving money to the people who teach me, who lift me up, who inspire me? Now I can track with that!

It has left me looking at what inspires me in a whole new way Ė and just the process of trying to decide who to send money to leaves me in a state of so much gratitude.

Right now, Iím reading Sera Beakís†The Red Book. And Iím going slowly through it because Iím getting SO MUCH out of it (Sera is my kinda spiritual teacher!††I wrote about her work here). Because sheís contributing so much to my spiritual growth through the workshop I took with her and her book, I want to tithe to her. So I just sent her a little love letter Ė with $100.† It feels good to me, and I hope it gives her a† lift the way Kimayaís $9.61 check gave me one, and I hope it reminds her that the hard work she does getting her message out in the world isnít in vain, that she has touched my heart and many others.

Who Would You Tithe To?

Who inspires you? Who makes your days brighter? Who might you tithe to?

It doesnít have to be an author or blogger or teacher. It could be the janitor that always smiles and asks about your day and really means it. Or it could be the woman at Starbucks who knows exactly how you like your latte and serves it up with such devotion that your day always begins with love. Or it could be the nurse at your doctorís office or your secretary at work or the woman who cares for your child.

How might you give back and thank someone for how they brighten your day?

Iím committing to tithing in this way. Will you join me?

Paying it forward,


PS. Bless you Kimya. You made my day†:)

Lissa Rankin, MD: Creator of the health and wellness communities† and†, author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself (Hay House, 2013),†TEDx speaker, and Health Care Evolutionary.†Join her newsletter list for free guidance on healing yourself, and check her out on†Twitter and†Facebook.


Brian M.
Past Member 5 years ago

Good article. I doubt that I will ever be able to repay those who have sustained me all this time.

Penny C.
penny C5 years ago


Sheleen Addison
Sheleen Addison5 years ago

I believe we should pay it forward, that should be what life is about

Kathy K.
Kathy K5 years ago

What a lovely thought.

Kirsten B.
Past Member 5 years ago

Nice idea. It isn't something known / accepted here, but would be lovely if it caught on. Just showing real, honest appreciation takes many people aback.
Thanks for sharing it.

Sylvia S.
Sylvia S5 years ago

It's important to note that tithing is not charity.

We give to the person or place that spiritually feeds us as part of our spiritual practice. As abundance comes in, we give to keep the flow going and to recognize the Source of that abundance.

In response to Michelle, I would say people struggle in order to learn what their soul needs to learn. If I swoop in and take away their struggle, I take away their opportunity to grow. Certainly, if someone ASKs for my help, I am invited to give all that is in me to give.

But if, through witnessing their struggle, I become uncomfortable and want to change their circumstances, I am really addressing my own discomfort and my own suffering at seeing them struggle. Hence, it becomes an act of selfishness on my part.

Tithing is a profound act of faith. My spiritual practice involves tithing of time, talent and treasure - that is, giving back 10% (a 'tithe') of everything I do, everything I am, and everything I have - to those people and places that have lifted me spiritually.

It is an act reminiscent of circle games in kindergarten, where we would pass along the button or ball or whatever and know that when the music stopped, the person who held the item would keep it. I tithe to pass along the energy, knowing that there is more than enough for everyone and if I play my part and pass the 'button', keep the flow going, then everyone will get what they need when they need it.

It is a liberating act of humility to relea

Elsie Hovav
Elsie H5 years ago

I think that maybe the spritual inspiration given should be used to give to the needy.

Jane H.
Jane H5 years ago

I am in total agreement with PatC. and Linda R.-----great comments.

Michelle Staples
Michelle Staples5 years ago

Its an interesting concept, but I can't see the point of sending money to people who are already very wealthy from their book sales and tv appearances. That just seems wrong somehow. I prefer to pay it forward to people who are struggling.

andrew h.
- -5 years ago

of interest, an inspiring example of spirituality (through making and serving food with love for free), being fed, and giving back is in India

"Seva Café is an experiment in the shared joy that comes from humble giving and selfless service. Our wholesome meals are cooked and served with love by volunteers and offered to our guests as a genuine gift, paid for in full by previous guests.

As more participate in the joy of giving, the more the experiment thrives. It begins with a single gift: first given, then received... multiplied, and given again, in a growing chain of kindness and care. We hope this Circle of Giving leaves you feeling more nourished, and inspired to carry the experiment forward.

All costs and income are made transparent, and 100% of any profits are used to support social service projects!"

it kind of follows Sathya Sai Baba comment "love all, serve all, help ever, hurt never"