To Live is To Give

 Posted by on 09/24/2012
Sep 242012
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“some give under constraint. Some give because they are expected to. Some give because they ought to. But, they all miss the joy of true giving–giving voluntarily and sacrificially. To make the most of life, you must give it away. To live is to give.” – Osumi

giving aloha

I grew up with strong family core values.  My dad shared the above quote in a recent comment after one of my posts. It reminded me of one of the most important values I was raised on – Giving, or Manawale’a.

In Hawaiian, manawale’a literally means – to give freely and willingly.

My parents give.  Our house is always open to host family and friends.  They are constantly giving their time to the community.  My dad spends hours each day maintaining the Hawaiian garden at Kainalu Elementary School where the students learn about certain plants and simple gardening.  My mom is always giving her mana’o, knowledge, on the Hawaiian culture to the na keiki (children) and teaching na kupuna (elders) how to play ukulele.

Giving is one of the main components of sharing Aloha. Have you ever noticed how you feel after you helped someone? Or did something for the benefit of others?

Felt pretty good about yourself, ya?

Every book I’ve read and every successful person I’ve talked to mentioned a very important aspect of success.  It’s not about focusing on ourselves, although it is a start. But, people become successful by giving value to others and work on visions that benefit others.

If you are in something for yourself, you will never find true happiness.  Sometimes I get so obsessed with achieving my goals and desires, that I start feeling overwhelmed and down.  I’m in the wrong mind set.  I’m thinking  more about what can I do in order to get this for myself.  And when I start thinking about – me, me ,me – I find myself becoming less of me.

When I was young, we had a big mango tree in our back yard that would be full during their season.  My brothers and I would get the mango picker,  a long pole with a basket at the end, and collect the ones that were ready.  I was the one that had to make sure if the mango didn’t go into the basket to catch it before it hit the ground. It was a fun game until you go after a big one that was way up in the tree and didn’t make it to the basket. Hurts your hand, or worst, your head.

After we had a couple baskets full, before we could eat a mango, we were told to go around the neighborhood and give some to our neighbors.  It made us feel good seeing the smiling faces of our neighbors as we handed them bags of a few mangos.  Plus we knew the closer we got to finishing the last delivery the closer we got to cutting one open and eating it on the wall or up in the tree.

It’s amazing what happens when you give.  The new positive energy that comes in to your na’au and then follows you throughout the rest of the day.

Which reminds me of another story…

I was approached by an older gentlemen at a gas station during my drive across the country from New York back to the west coast.  I was in the U-Haul truck when he walked up to me looking down at the ground.  I had a feeling he was going to ask me for something.  He gave me a story that hit me pretty hard.  His mom was sick and he was driving to her but has been having a tough time financially.  His car was about to become empty and didn’t have any money in his account. Now people would instantly think – Ya right.  But this grown man was right in front of me crying because he said he felt embarrassed and this was his last resort.

What did I do?

I didn’t give him any money.  My bank account wasn’t much too and I was only half way.  I sincerely apologized to him and then told him that I will pray that he gets to his mom safe and soon. I continued to tell him I will keep his mom’s health in my thoughts and prayers for a fast recovery.

The man looked me dead in the eye and simply said, “Thank you.” He took his glasses off and wiped his tears. “I’ve never had to ask for money and you were the first person I’ve ever asked.  You gave me hope that there are good people out there willing to help.”

Now, I’m not telling you this story to show you how nice of a guy I am.  Some people instantly think about money when giving is mentioned.  But it’s much more than that.

Making a contribution to others in a meaningful way can move someone’s soul and increase your mana account.  You’ll feel better about yourself and the universe will be in your favor.  The way you approach giving is very important.  Jonathan Mead, of Illuminated Mind, said “When you can give without expecting anything in return, you have mastered the art of living.” Awesome.

Here are a few suggestions for powerful ways you can start to manawale’a today.

  • Give away time. Time is precious.  Like I said in an earlier post – be nalu. I have people constantly come by my office to ask questions about fitness and nutrition.  I make sure to stop whatever I’m doing and give my full attention.  Other ways to give your time is by donating it.  Spend a day where you plan with family and/or friends to give back to the community.  Being with a group of people you love while helping others will create an overwhelming flow of positive energy and Aloha.
  • Say your Thank Yous. You can never say Thank You enough. But yet, some don’t even say it.  When my mom used to picked me up from staying over at a friend’s house, the first thing she would ask me was, “Did you say your Thank Yous?”  Always say your Thank Yous.  Take some time out of your day to say thank you to someone for helping you or to a friend for always being their for you.  You will be amazed by the response.
  • Offer Your Assistance. “Daniel, don’t just stand there, ask if there is anything to do,” my dad said while everyone was cleaning up after a party at my aunty’s house.  I was just a young boy.  I couldn’t move the big tables, I didn’t know what to do.  But there is always something you can do. I asked my aunty if she needed my help, and she said, “Of course boy, you can help pick up all the opala (trash) on the ground, so aunty’s yard doesn’t look all buss up.” It’s always best to offer your help, or simply let them know if there is anything you can help with, you are there for them.
  • Make Someone’s Day. I recently had to hire students to work in the Fitness Center at the university.  My work partner, Sandie, and I did the usual questions but then one of us would ask, “Tell me a story of when you made someone’s day.” Some were thrown off by the question but when they began to tell their story, I could see their whole spirit change.  They smiled more, they sat up straighter, and they me us feel good because I always enjoy stories.  Make it a point to make someone’s day.  Sometimes the smallest thing, such as ‘Have a nice day’, can have huge impact on someone’s day.
  • Spread the Aloha. I believe this is the most important one of them all. Living with Aloha in your heart and soul can become contagious to others around you.  If a person is in a dark time in their life, try your hardest to fill them up with as much Aloha. Sometimes you may come across those who reject your Aloha. That’s okay.  You give it to them anyway.

By far this is one of the biggest values that I was raised on which is why it’s such a big part of my mission in life.  I enjoy giving everything that I know, have, and experienced.  Sometimes I give money when I don’t even have money to give, but it makes me feel better because I know that person probably needed it more than I did.  But overallone must give in order to live.

Everyone has something to offer.  The most simplistic thing can create the biggest impact.  Start the art of giving today and see the transformation in to building a spiritually Ku body.

Mahalo. Aloha. A hui hou.


Be on the lookout for my free e-book that shares the concept of “The Aipa Project: Build a Ku Body”.  In it I show you the vision behind spreading the word of building a Ku body; physically, mentally, and spiritually.

  2 Responses to “To Live is To Give”

  1. I love all the Hawaiian culture that you integrate into your articles. It’s really interesting for me to get that insight into your life. I also thought the part where you talked about always giving your attention to people who stop by your office. I stop by to say hi 3 times a week haha.

  2. Thanks for commenting Joe. Keep up the solid work. If you ever need a few new things for your workout just let me know.

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