The Unworthy Expert: Making Offerings



You have something to offer the world. We all do. 


Story #1:

In the midst of other visions and information, a message came through for my client; it is time to learn to trust yourself. Over the course of the call, the story came out, one quite familiar, as I’ve heard it time and time again. I’ve heard this story many times  over the years: 

“I can’t step forward. I can’t be bright. If someone sees how I really am, they won’t love me. People only see the good things, not the ways in which I’ve failed, or carry wounds, or am not quite good enough…” In other words: “I am an impostor. I fear being unmasked.”

And then this: “I long to be seen, to be known. But I feel too afraid.”

Sometimes we think we don’t know enough. Don’t have the qualifications. Or that we have some dirty secret that disqualifies us from love and esteem.

Sometimes we are hiding from ourselves, and from community.

Someone needs your help. Your expertise. Your experience. Your presence.

Are you willing to step forward, and take your rightful place?


Story #2:

A woman came up to me as I was eating my soup in a patch of sunlight in the soup kitchen yard. She was dope sick. Tired of being on heroin. Tired of being hated. Tired of her son having his life together when she didn’t. She was tired of being afraid. I asked another volunteer if General Hospital had a methadone program. Yes, they did. Then he pointed out another guest, looking at donated books under the overhang. “You should talk to her.” 

The person he pointed out was skinny, missing some teeth, clean and neatly dressed. Something has gone wrong with her legs and feet so she always looks like she is about to dance en pointe. As a result, she wears no shoes, just layers of thick socks. For people like you and me? We are likely to glance at her and look away. In this case? She was the right one to call upon. The expert.

This person whom many of us would pass over was someone with experience. Someone who knew the ins and outs of the system, having kicked heroin herself. I talked with her. Made sure the woman in need also talked with her, after she got some food down.

Lacking experience – and surely having no expertise – what I had that day was presence and the ability to ask the right questions…and to clean her vomit up later when it became needed.


Sometimes we need to ask for help.

Sometimes we need to know what we can offer: knowledge, or a shoulder, an ear, or simple presence in the face of pain.


Sometimes we need to stop hiding from the truth about ourselves…

We do know. We know a lot.

We all have skills and talents that we’ve trained ourselves toward.

Sometimes we don’t feel we have expertise, but we do have experience to offer.

Sometimes we don’t have experience, but we can offer presence.


Sometimes that last is just enough. All that is required.


What are you an expert in, however large or small?

What experiences have you had, that have shaped your knowing?

When can you offer simple presence to another, or some small kindness?


Are you are hiding in plain site, in the center of the circle, voice loud, arms outstretched? Are you are hiding in the corner, on the edges, quiet as a caterpillar waiting for a change?


You have something to offer the world. We all do. Offering bowl by RobbinsSky (morguefile)

We find it in the face of love.




Note: though I did have this conversation with a soul reading client recently, I've had similar with many other people in the past. This is therefore drawn from several conversations, and quoting no one in particular.

23 Responses to “The Unworthy Expert: Making Offerings”

  1. Syrbal/Labrys

    This is an important post, while most of us have heard how important it is to speak truth to power, as it is said — it is easy to forget that before we are capable of that? We must first speak truth to FEAR. It is hard, in a society of shrill voices, to recognize the often almost stilled voice of our own authority, our knowledge, our experience. So, thank you for posting this to remind us all that the best one to act in a situation IS the one who has known that place!

    • Thorn

      Labrys, I like that – “speaking truth to fear”. Yes.

      Impostor Syndrome is real and I find the antidote is getting back to basics: remembering ourselves, remembering our experiences, and acknowledging the ways in which we actually can help.

  2. Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady

    I love this post – the second story especially. How often we overlook people ! Everyone has value, everyone has a skill, a talent, knowledge. As Ram Dass says “Treat everyone you meet as if they were god in drag.”

    • Thorn

      Theresa, I love Ram Dass. What an amazing teacher – Fierce Grace is a film I recommend often.

      Yes, the overlooked often know things we have no idea of. And that includes the overlooked within ourselves.

      • Thorn

        One thing that struck me about both stories, that I forgot to write about, is that both my reading client and the heroin addict talked about being afraid – and the addict said she was tired of living that way. What a powerful statement. Cuts across all walks of life.

  3. Te-Erika

    I appreciate my place in this universe. Sometimes I feel like I created my own place though.

    • Thorn

      I sometimes speak of being “fortunate” which for me, is some combination of luck and effort. Is that what you are talking about? Or is it something different?

  4. Dakini Amitabha

    I can relate to that feeling of inertia. Not a cool place to inhabit. Taking your advice, Thorn, last fall… I re-engaged with my inner fountain of creativity and of giving and nurture. I started teaching dance again after a two-year hiatus. It starting slow, and sometimes I get up in self judgement, but I’m not letting that stopp me. I also have a goal to go back to school and earn a degree to spring me further along the path… but that is because I choose it, not because I wouldn’t be “qualified” without it.

  5. Dakini Amitabha

    My own mother, whom I had thought lost to metaphysical philosophy and nuance, recently pronounced that she considered *me* somewhat of an expert on such matters. She frequently asks my advice now, and it is so strange to think that she once taught me so much in that regard. Of course she continues to teach me in many ways, especially when challenging me with her questions, which take me back to the basics. Those conversations with her (and others new to or reacquainted with their spiritual path) are great touch stones, and an unending source of inspiration.

    • Thorn

      Dakini, that is marvelous. All of it. The great thing about “being an expert” in something is that we are also as student at something else. Some people forget that part of the equation, to their detriment.

  6. Leanne

    Perfect timing! I need a few extra pushes to teach more, and when I try to decide what to teach, I can’t think of anything. My default is to send everyone to someone else’s class, and that has to stop yesterday.

    • Thorn

      Leanne, good for you! You have *so much* experience! I’m glad others will get more of the benefit from it.

  7. Jennifer R

    This actually reminds me a lot of a post I read recently about narcissists — how they are misunderstood, that really they have very little self-worth, and must constantly search for external validation to keep a sense of self. I wonder of most people in modern society have a bit of narcissist in them? Here is the post:

    • Thorn


      I don’t know how it works with actual narcissists – will be interested to read the post – but I do know from experience that insecurity can be very self-absorbed.

  8. Lenah

    I feel in the midst of this push pull, to be seen, to be shadow. Not too long ago I was reminded that small conversations can have a lasting impact. My small ripples are generating larger waves. I washed and renewed my life in a jungle waterfall. I still cringe at being seen but embrace the connection that is possible.


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