While visiting Bali in 2006, I was intrigued by a unique cultural tradition practiced by the Balinese natives of leaving daily offerings to their gods to help ensure prosperity, protection, and good fortune. Small homemade baskets made from banana leaves called canang sari are placed outside the doors of homes, store fronts, at temples and even rice fields, once and sometimes twice a day. The baskets usually contain bits of food such as fruit or rice, coins or small bills of money, and flowers. These items are also accompanied by incense, the smoke from which rises up to the gods.

This ritual of placing these offerings is an act of quiet beauty. They also believe that if they make an offering of kindness they are warding off any evil spirits. At the same time, they are paying their respects for the good health and fortune they receive in exchange. Balance and harmony are the key words for the Balinese Hindus, as every gesture no matter how small has an impact.

When I asked the locals about this practice they said, “It is our duty and an honor at the same time. In the Balinese perspective it is a natural and almost logical practice to maintain a good relationship between people, spirits, and the nature that surrounds us; thus creating peace and tranquility.”

This spiritual practice is deeply woven into their everyday lives.  It is ultimately what drives the Balinese culture, and can be seen in all aspects of their lives.

They believe that through their spirituality they reap the benefits of Bali’s natural beauty, and they use nature to create beauty which they offer in return to the gods.  The gods give them rice, fruits, vegetables, and meat, and that is the inspiration for the offerings of food back to the gods.  However interpreted, offerings are indispensible to the rhythm of life in Bali; a sacred cycle involving reciprocity and gratitude for the richness of life.

So the question to ask yourself is, “How am I giving offerings of kindness, reciprocity, and gratitude?”

Let today be a new beginning of reaching out, even with a gift of a compliment, a thank you or a simple smile, as you reap the benefit of knowing you’ve made a difference.

To Your Success,

Marla Brucker