This blog is intended to create a dialogue about learning to receive with grace and ease.

So much has been written about the importance of giving that we forget that in order to give,

someone has to be receiving.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Time to Remember What I Know Again

Several weeks ago I wrote about how I remembered wonderful jobs I’d received and used the memories to call in a new, fabulous job. I’m happy to report that I’ve completed my formal training period and am enjoying the job as much as ever. Having been so successful with this approach, I’ve decided to use it again – this time to sell our house.

Roger and I have set the intention to move into our own home in 2011. We currently live in the house I bought with my daughters’ father some 12 years ago. After moving everyone in our families, most more than once, since we’ve been together, we’ve decided it’s time for us to have the house of our dreams, one that suits our current lifestyle.

The house we live in has many great features such as big bedrooms, lots of closet space, a lovely waterfall, and a central location. It’s easy to imagine a family moving in and being very happy here, just as we were 12 years ago. So to bolster my confidence that we can find the right and perfect buyer, I am recalling other houses I’ve owned and sold. The first house I owned had to be sold as part of a divorce, and it sold with little effort, for the price I wanted. The next house sold at the perfect time as we were moving from upstate New York to Las Vegas. I remember sitting between my realtor and attorney at the closing (a big affair in New York State), being well cared for despite the demanding buyers.

Our house in Vegas was more challenging to sell. It had no landscaping in the backyard and would flood through the flower boxes when heavy rains hit. After six months on the market and no activity, we decided to fire our realtor and hire another that had been referred to me. She recognized favorable aspects of the house the other realtor had overlooked and ended up selling the house to one of her own buyers on Christmas Eve! The couple wanted the house because of its location and was unconcerned about the flooding since they planned on tearing out the flower boxes anyway. I can remember the excitement of getting that offer, such a wonderful Christmas gift.

So now I spend time each week remembering these events and feeling the happiness and relief of each sale. I know if the house in Vegas can sell at Christmas, our house can sell now. I consider every sold sign I see around town as the Universe encouraging me. The buyer has already been identified. Our new house is already built and being prepared for us to move in. I need to remember what I know, feel the feelings again, and take it one day at a time. I’ll let you know when we sell.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Shift Your Perspective

While I generally love New Thought teachings, I have to admit they get me a bit crazy sometimes. One notion that comes to mind when I think about receiving is that in order to manifest something we need we have to stop wanting it, and then it will come to us. To me, that’s like telling a hungry person to stop wanting food so he can get some! I don’t know how to stop wanting what I need, such as enough money to pay my bills.

Now I’ve heard this suggestion more than once, and I usually dismiss it. Recently though I read a wonderful article about perspective by Joanna Blum that enabled me to appreciate this advice. She uses the analogy of a camera and the way the photographer looks through the viewfinder and centers on one particular object. In doing so, the other things in the frame do not disappear; they just become blurry, while the object of interest remains clear. Suddenly, I had a different interpretation of “not wanting.” I didn’t have to stop wanting what I needed. I could allow it to stay in the frame and shift my focus to be on what I do have. I did not have to pretend that I didn’t need the money to support myself. My needs did not have to go away; I could still acknowledge their blurry presence, but keep myself centered in gratitude for the money I do have.

This changed perspective has created a new practice for me. When I find myself thinking about a need or desire I have, I gently acknowledge it. Then I imagine seeing it in a viewfinder and shifting my aim off of it and onto something wonderful that I have. I feel grateful for that and trust that all else is being provided for me.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Consider it Done – Part Two

Do you “consider it done” when you pray? I asked myself this question about my long-standing prayer request. I began by visualizing Jesus rather than Don standing before me. I had just finished praying for release from my debt and for a new, ideal home in place of my current one. I heard Jesus speak to me: “Joanne, I love you so much. I understand you want to be released from your debt and current house and move into a new one you and Roger select, one that has all the things you both desire. I would love to give these things to you. Would you allow me to do that?” (Can you imagine how it would feel to have Jesus himself offer to give you your heart’s greatest desire?)

I saw myself reply to him. “Oh Lord, I would love that so much. I accept! Thank you, thank you, thank you.” Jesus would then respond, “Great! Consider it done.” At this point I paused and reflected on how I would feel if this conversation had actually taken place. I knew immediately that I would feel tremendous relief because the debt was no longer mine. Jesus was taking care of it for me! I also imagined feeling great joy and anticipation – Jesus was providing us the house of our dreams. Now it would have been exciting if someone like Donald Trump, with all his resources and creativity, were to offer a house, but Jesus? This was clearly a step above even that!

So then I asked myself if I typically had those feelings when I prayed, because if I truly believed I had received the things I prayed for, I would feel relief, joy and anticipation. But the truth was that I did not usually feel that way after praying. Yes, I did feel some relief, and overall I felt better than when I had begun praying, but those feelings didn’t last. When an unexpected bill arrived or if my paycheck was not quite what I was hoping it would be, that familiar knot in my stomach would return. I did not “consider it done.”

This was a major “ah-ha” for me. I realized that “consider it done” was not just a catchy phrase; it was Jesus telling me the first action I was to take to bring about my dream. Almost always dreams come about through everyday life occurrences. We have to take some action to manifest our desires. After all, even lottery winners first had to buy a ticket!

That gap between feeling relief, joy and anticipation and what I feel in reality is the primary reason I still hold the debt and live where I live. I have made the commitment to be ever mindful of my feelings. Now when I sense any doubt, anxiety or worry rising in me, I immediately see Jesus standing before me saying, “Consider it done.”

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Consider it Done – Part One

About ten years ago, I accepted a job as Claims Director for a small heath plan. Even though I had absolutely no claims background, the company wanted a fresh, unbiased approach and hired me. Periodically, a provider would call me requesting that a particular claim be paid. Because I did not have the knowledge to pay the claim myself, I would ask a team leader in our department, Don, to handle it for me. Don had a great attitude and would always reply, “Joanne, consider it done.” I learned that I could do exactly that – because he always paid the claim.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about Don and his reply to me as I try unsuccessfully to receive something I cannot manifest through my own efforts: release from the debt of my current house and the purchase of a different home, one that my husband and I would select and love that better suits our needs. I have had this desire for three years, and yet we still live in my house.

I recently came upon a book written over 100 years ago by H. Emilie Cady (yes, I’ve mentioned her before) called God A Present Help. In it she describes me to a tee as she tells about people who pray faithfully for things, good things that would cause no harm to anyone, and yet fail to receive them. Cady states that typically, after a long time of praying and not receiving, these people become discouraged and think that there must be something wrong with them. They conclude that they must not have enough faith or that they have the wrong kind of faith. Cady explains that the real problem is that they are not following the directions of Jesus who said, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (English Standard Version). Cady says these people believe their prayers will be answered, not that they have already received.

Think about it. To say that something will happen places it in the future, and the future never comes. It’s never tomorrow; it’s always today. The key, according to Cady, is to see the thing we’re praying for as already happening, or as Don put it so well: to consider it done.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Special Olympians Are Joyful Receivers

Some of you may know that my brother-in-law, Ronnie, is a retarded gentleman and a gold-medal Special Olympian. I recently had the pleasure of attending a Special Olympics bowling competition and observing how joyfully and easily the participants received.

Special Olympics involves a wide range of mentally retarded individuals. They are men and women of all races, ages, and disability levels, both physically and mentally. Some are quite skilled at their sport and others can barely compete. I watched one man throw the bowling with the power of a professional bowler and another be assisted onto the lane in her wheelchair where she released the ball down a ramp.

It was interesting to watch and listen to the family and friends who accompanied these athletes. While all were encouraging, a good number also offered well-meaning advice on how the Special Olympian could bowl better and improve their score. Most of the athletes seemed oblivious to the advice, having no interest in the event as a competition. Winning was not their motivation. They seemed to revel in just being there, the enthusiasm and praise from the crowd, and the opportunity to participate. I smile as I recall one woman clapping and shouting with glee each time she threw the ball, regardless of how many pins fell.

The real fun for me and the participants came at the awards ceremony. In Special Olympics, everyone receives an award of some type, in this case a ribbon or medal. Every award is equally honored by the officials and equally cherished by the recipients. At this event, it made no difference if the recognition was for last place or first, the athlete received the award with absolute joy and excitement.

Watching this, I was reminded of Jesus’ words, "Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it" (Mark 10:15 New King James Version). Surely there is a lesson in receiving from these Special Olympians. Their childlike trust and excitement for life are magnets for good and blessings. Do you have the faith of a child as you put forth to the Universe your heart’s deepest desires?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Where is Your Focus?

Have you ever heard it said that the Universe does not hear or register the words “no” or “not”? It’s usually said in the context of how we frame our affirmations. We’re told not to think, “I do not want to be late,” because the Universe will hear, “I want to be late” and we’ll be late. I’ve even heard it said that we should choose our words very carefully or they could come back to haunt us. The example was given of a man who, wanting greater prosperity, affirmed, “I receive big bills” and ended up receiving invoices for large amounts of money he owed!

This advice is well intended and not completely off track, but it’s not totally on course either. First, the Universe to me refers to God, and I know God is not stupid. Scripture repeatedly tells us that God knows our thoughts. In Psalm 139 we read, “O Lord, you have searched me and known me…you discern my thoughts from far away” and “Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely.” How is it then that God would not know that the man in our story wanted greater abundance and that he meant denomination when he said “bills”? Having to worry about our every word makes God out to be a version of Alex Trebek, waiting to catch us up in a phrasing error.

I don’t think the problem is that the Universe cannot register negations. It’s that when we’re worrying about being on time, we’re thinking about being late. When we want abundance, we’re focusing on eliminating our debt, and our attention is on the debt. We would do better to affirm, “I arrive safely in perfect time,” and “God is my instant, constant, and abundant supply, for which I give thanks.”

To keep the right focus, be aware of your fears. Catch when you are obsessing about what you don’t want or what’s happened in the past that you don’t want to repeat. Turn your thoughts to what you do want. It’s not that the universe doesn’t hear the “not.” It’s that your focus is on the not!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Remembering What I Knew Has Just Paid Off

Two weeks ago I wrote about how I was using the practice of remembering what I know to manifest a new job opportunity. Three different times in my life I experienced receiving a wonderful new job without any great effort on my part. I’ve been taking time daily to recall each of these situations in detail and re-experiencing the feelings of joy and excitement I had. This week I began a new job is that is truly ideal! Let me tell you more about this process because it’s so much fun and really effective.

Very often when we need something badly we become anxious and worried about it. These negative feelings come from negative thoughts that it won’t come and imaginings about what will happen to us as a result. We use our imaginations in the worst possible way: rather than seeing only the highest and best for ourselves, we see only the worst case scenarios happening.

To avoid this process, when remembering what we know we recall times in our lives when things did work out, when we got exactly what we desired or more. We’ve all had these experiences, so the first step is to take the time to recall them. If you’ve fallen into the negative thinking habit, it may take a while to excavate them from your memory bank. Find a quiet time and place to allow yourself to go back in time mentally. You can divide your life into categories such as family, professional, health and so forth. It might suit you better to examine blocks of time, such as childhood, high school, college, single years, and the like. As the experiences come back to mind, write them down. Remember who you were at the time, what you did beforehand and how you felt, exactly how your desire manifested, and what your response was. Really feel the feelings again. It should feel fabulous!

My job experiences took place during college, in the early 1990s, and about ten years ago. In each case I took an easy, natural step. I recall that I had no specific expectations in mind and the results were bigger than I had imagined in even general terms. This is what exactly happened recently. Two weeks ago I mentioned to my current boss that I was looking for additional work. She mentioned that another leader in our organization occasionally needed part time help, if I was interested. I said I was, and the leader called me last week, just a few days after my conversation with my boss. The position was part time, allowing me to continue marketing my current book and write my new one. It paid well, used the knowledge I had, and promised to enable me to learn much more. I went for an interview three days later and starting work just three days after that!

This process worked so well that I’m committed to seeing how I can use it again to take my next step. Give it a try, and let me know how you make out.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Letting Go of the Good for the Greater

This phrase, letting go of the good for the greater, was a teaching I received early on in my experience of New Thought. It was a stretch in the beginning getting comfortable with wanting, asking for, and expecting more, when what I had was already good. Even once we get accept the idea that it’s okay to ask for more since the supply is unlimited, it still can be hard to let go of the good.

We like the good; that’s why we consider it good. On some level, it works for us. We know it and we’re comfortable with it, so why would we let it go? Well, it may be that something even better has just presented itself to us. It may have just been newly created, like the latest Blackberry, or something we just learned about that has been around a long time. It could be that our sense of self has expanded so much that now we can imagine having something better that we couldn’t dream of having before, such as a higher level job or a bigger house in a nicer neighborhood.

It’s easier to let go of the good when the greater is right there waiting, such as accepting the new job that’s been offered. It’s a lot harder to let go of the good based just on the faith that the greater will appear. Often, though, that’s the way it works when we want to receive. In March, I let go of the Jazzercise class that I taught three times a week and loved so that I could move into new opportunities to promote my current book and write the next one. The greater is still in the process of manifesting, as you may have guessed from my last post.

The picture of this process that I get is one of having my hands full. If I’m literally holding so much stuff that I could not possibly hold anything else, I’ll have to put something down. I’m reminded of that wonderful song from Sesame Street, when Ernie asked Mr. Hoots to help him learn to play the saxophone.

I've learned a thing or two
From years of playing in a band
It's hard to play a saxophone
With something in your hand
To be a fine musician
You're gonna have to face the facts

Though you're blessed with flying fingers
When you wanna wail, you're stuck
What good are flying fingers
If they're wrapped around a duck?
Change the toy's position
If you wanna ace the sax!

You gotta put down the duckie
Put down the duckie
Put down the duckie
Yeah, you gotta leave the duck alone
You gotta put down the duckie
Put down the duckie
Put down the duckie
If you wanna play the saxophone!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Remember What You Know

If you asked my daughters what phrase or expression I’m known for, it would be “Remember what you know!” I used to tell them this as they headed out the door to school on days they a big test scheduled. As a student of math, I used to practice this technique frequently. When I saw a problem I didn’t immediately know the answer to, I would ask myself, what do you know that could help you reason out an answer to this? It was a very effective technique and I discovered this question was helpful in all kinds of situations. Almost always I had some experience or knowledge that I could apply to handle a current challenge, when I remembered what I knew.

Not surprisingly, this admonishment is applicable when seeking to receive. What do you know about your past experiences receiving that you could use now? I recently came upon a wonderful Biblical story in 2 Maccabees where Maccabeus remembered what he knew and encouraged his troops to do the same. Scripture states, “He exhorted his troops not to fear the attack of the Gentiles, but to keep in mind the former times when help had come to them from heaven, and so to look for the victory that the Almighty would give them. Encouraging them from the law and the prophets, and reminding them also of the struggles they had won, he made them the more eager” (2 Maccabees 15: 8-9). As you can imagine, Maccabeus and his troops were victorious.

In this story, Maccabeus reminded them of the teachings they grew up with (the law and the prophets) and of the help they had received previously. What they knew entailed both book learning or studies and lessons from practical experience. Currently I’m using this same technique in my daily meditation. I am seeking additional income and am open to taking on another job as a means. There were three times in my life when wonderful jobs came to me almost effortlessly. These jobs entailed enjoyable work in my field and paid a wage far better than I’d ever received before. Remembering these experiences helps me to maintain my expectation that I can and will receive something similar again. I affirm that the right and perfect opportunity is on its way right now as I remember what I know.

Remember what you know. As a creation of the Divine, you are worthy to receive. God is waiting to bless you again, as God has many times before. Embrace these truths, remember what you know, and receive all the blessings that are waiting for you.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Stand Up and Receive Your Applause

It’s not always easy to recognize someone who has trouble receiving, but sometimes it’s obvious. A sure sign is when in a group setting certain people are asked to stand up and be recognized for something they did – complete a project, volunteer for an event, even have a birthday. Rather than just stand there and be recognized, they applaud the other people who are standing. This gets me crazy. Do they really think the other people aren’t getting enough applause, that somehow the recognition will be incomplete without theirs? Is it that they’re just an extremely thoughtful person? Maybe, but I think it’s actually that they’d rather be giving than receiving.

Think about what’s happening here. Where is the person’s attention? If they’re applauding, it’s most likely to be on the other people standing. If we don’t notice what we’re being given, we really haven’t received it. Now we’re back to the giver (those seated applauding the others) not having their gift be received. The other outcome is that other people standing see these applauding standers and they begin to feel uncomfortable – so they start applauding. I’ve seen occurrences in church where everyone is applauding: all those seated and everyone standing. It’s as if no one is being recognized.

Of course, if only one person is being recognized, they really can’t start applauding. If they did, they’d be congratulating themselves – heaven forbid! In those cases, the people who are most uncomfortable receiving don’t stand. In fact, they slump lower in their seat and look down, hoping the attention will cease. It’s painful to watch.

I challenge you to be aware of this tendency. Next time you’re called out and recognized for something, please just stand up, smile, and soak it in! Do this, if it’s just you or if it’s entire group being congratulated. If you need some help with this, join Toastmasters. One of my favorite things about this organization is that they are forever applauding someone. It’s almost always an individual, so people quickly get used to being applauded. They either have to get over their discomfort or resign themselves to feeling it frequently.

There is so much criticism in the world today. Let’s do our parts to reverse this by graciously, gratefully, and completely receiving everything we’re offered, including applause.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Want to Give More? Start Receiving!

One of my favorite spiritual resources is H. Emilie Cady’s Lessons in Truth, written in 1896. In a discussion of finding the secret place, Cady describes prayer and meditation as an opportunity to receive. It is from this practice that we receive peace, wisdom, joy, answers, and so forth. But she cautions readers not to spend too much time in this receiving mode, noting that Jesus received and then went out into the world to give.

This example got me to thinking that we cannot give what we have not received. When we think of Jesus, we typically don’t see him as a receiver, but rather as the ultimate giver. Yet he could not have given over and over if he had not taken the time to reconnect and receive from “the Father.” Scripture is filled with episodes where Jesus went apart from people to be alone and pray. He knew and demonstrated this simple truth for us: take time to receive, then you’ll be able to truly give.

According to, burnout is a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion caused by long-term exposure to demanding work situations. Burnout is the cumulative result of stress. Three of the five most likely causes of burnout directly or indirectly involve an imbalance between giving and receiving. They are: identifying so strongly with work that you lack a reasonable balance between work and your personal life, trying to be everything to everyone, and working in a helping profession, such as health care, counseling, teaching or law enforcement.

When I work with people to create greater work-life balance, it isn’t the work side that needs shoring up. Have you ever known anyone suffering from work-life imbalance who needed to work more? No, it’s usually that they’ve given so much for so long that they’re depleted. Many of these folks resist the opportunities they have to receive, exacerbating the problem. If this sounds familiar, check out my wellness blog of September 24 for ways to restore your work life balance, receive what you need, and restore your ability to give.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Taking the “Hits”

Last time we looked at the characteristics of wide receivers, people who receive for a living. Wide receivers are players on a football team that the quarterback throws the ball to. The best wide receivers are quick, agile, able to concentrate and shut out distractions, and ready and able to take a hit.

Quarterbacks depend on wide receivers for their success. If the ball is not caught, the play is incomplete and the quarterback has failed. Worse yet, if the ball is caught by the opposing team (intercepted), the quarterback has actually hurt his team. So a strong connection and effective communication between the quarterback and the wide receiver is essential. The quarterback relies on the wide receiver doing everything he can within the rules of the game to receive what the quarterback gives, the pass. Can you imagine a football game with a wide receiver who resisted receiving?

Another key component to being a competent wide receiver is the willingness and ability to take a hit. Wide receivers are the focus of the opposing team’s players. They do all they can to prevent him from receiving, and when he does, they tackle him to the ground. Can you imagine your competition at work literally taking you down after you made a sale or delivered a service? Yet that is exactly what the wide receiver endures, over and over.

Should you expect to take any hits as you receive? Quite possibly, unfortunately. It’s not uncommon for lottery winners to find they have strained or even severed relationships with greedy family members or jealous co-workers. Even after sharing their good fortune, some continue to get hit with requests, pleas, and expectations from other people, sometimes even strangers. As a human resources director, I often counseled newly promoted supervisors about how to handle “hits” they got from envious co-workers who did not get the job or simply resented a peer receiving a promotion. Likewise at work, people and teams that get attention, compliments or praise for a job well done can receive unjustified criticism from others who feel overlooked or frustrated.

I encourage you to keep the wide receiver in mind should you find yourself receiving uncalled-for hits when you receive. Remember, it’s just part of the process. The wide receiver endures the hits because he has prepared for them and expects them. He isn’t insulted or discouraged by the hits, and neither should you be. Jealously and resentment stem from scarcity thinking, and your willingness to receive is one of the best gifts you can give to heal humanity of its lack and limitation consciousness.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Characteristics of a Good Wide Receiver

Would you like to learn how to be a better receiver? Why not learn from people who do it for a living – wide receivers? According to Wikipedia, a wide receiver in American and Canadian football is the pass-catching specialist. Wide receivers are among the fastest and most agile players in the game, and they are frequently featured in the game highlights. Let’s look at what makes a good wide receiver and see if we glean any tips on how to improve our own ability to receive.

Football coaches emphasize speed as the number one quality of top wide receivers. They need to be able to get up to speed immediately and to change direction without losing speed, as well. However, if speed is not a strength, this can be offset by “precise pattern execution, complete focus on the ball when it is thrown his way, and the ability to get away from defensive players or find the holes between zone coverages” (

To be successful, a wide receiver must be able to concentrate during each step of the play and ultimately shut all else out as he focuses on the ball coming toward him. Then he must be ready to “take a hit” after catching the ball. Finally, he must be in strong enough condition to do this over and over during the game.

Doesn’t sound very easy, does it? Considering the characteristics and skills described above in terms of receiving in general, I think agility and concentration apply the most. Recognizing that what you are seeking may appear differently than you expected requires agility in your thinking. It also may show up sooner than you think or when you least expect it, such as meeting the love of your life in the produce department of the supermarket. Staying focused on what your ultimate goal is, in spite of distractions, delays, and obstacles, is certainly a form of concentration.

As football season opens, let’s give this more thought. Next time I’ll look at the relationship between the quarterback (the give) and the wide receiver and what it means to “take a hit.”

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Having Trouble Receiving? Have You Asked?

It’s seems obvious, but I need to ask. Those of you who need or want something and haven’t received it, have you asked? It’s amazing how often we feel that others should just know what we need without being told. It doesn’t work that way.

People are pulled in as many directions as you are. There are so many draws on our attention. How can we possibly expect others to just anticipate our needs? Realistically, we can’t. Even Jesus advises us to ask. “Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. Everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who searches will find. And the door will be opened for everyone who knocks” (Matthew 7:7-8, Contemporary English Version).

Sometimes the problem is that we ourselves are not clear about what we want. I remember one time when I was a human resources director having a conversation with another director. He was experiencing trouble getting his assistant to offer the administrative support he desired. I asked him if she knew what he wanted. He thought for a moment and said, “no.” The way he responded prompted me to ask him if he knew what he wanted from her, and again he thought for few seconds and replied, “not really.” It’s no surprise then that she wasn’t able to meet his needs.

What is it you seek? It could be as simple as the opportunity to state your views, have some quiet time, or get some help with the dishes. Maybe it’s how you spend your birthday or Father’s Day. Or it could be something grander, such as a life partner or new career. Whatever it is, get clear about what you want first. Then determine to whom you need to make your request. Telling John that Susie doesn’t let you get a word in edgewise will not help – tell Susie! Stating our needs and desires is very empowering for us and very helpful for those around us. Give it a try. You might be surprised how willing people are to fulfill your request.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Giving Up or Letting Go?

Two weeks ago I made the difficult decision to become someone else’s employee full time. I have not worked full time for anyone in ten years. I’ve had many employers in that time, both on a part time and on a contract basis. When finances have gotten tight, I’ve resisting looking for another full time job because I saw it as giving up. I tightened my belt, took on more contract work if I could find it, and prayed.

Lately, it’s just been too long without a steady, ample revenue stream. My discontent has become stronger than my longing to be a successful entrepreneur. I decided not to view it as a failure, but as a different path to my success. With a steady paycheck, benefits, and paid time off, I will be able to afford to contract out the work for my business that I’ve been doing (or striving to do) on my own. I’ll also be happier – and it’s about time I made that a priority.

Just this past week I heard another author express a very similar situation to mine. For years she resisted selling a prized possession, although she badly needed the money, because she thought it was giving in. She finally decided that she’d outgrown the item, so she really wasn’t giving in at all. The decision to release the possession brought her great relief and a sense of anticipation about what would come to replace it. When a void is created, the Universe is eager to fill it.

What is it that you’re resisting? Is there another way to see the circumstance? If you’ve been stuck a long time, as we were, I invite you to reconsider your decision. In the most positive way you can, visualize doing what you’ve been resisting and see how it feels. It might just be the breakthrough you’ve been seeking to get the flow coming back to you again. I’ll keep you posted on my job quest.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Research on People’s Willingness and Ability to Receive

When I tell people about the book I’m writing on receiving, it really seems to resonate with many of them. So I decided to conduct my own research on how well people are able to receive. I sent out a request for people to take part in my survey and received amazing responses, just to my inquiry. Here are some noteworthy observations from this initial inquiry:

• Twice as many respondents acknowledged having trouble receiving as those who said they received well. Sixteen percent expressed that they were still working on it and making some progress.
• Several expressed having a history of giving and then being found in a position of having to receive, due to illness or financial distress. They were greatly troubled and many expressed feeling guilty, even after years of giving!
• Two expressed feeling resentful and reluctant to receive because authority figures from their childhood used to give to them and then held the giving over their heads. They (the children) felt obligated to the adults because they had received.
• One psychotherapist noted that she knows people who are not “whole” today because they never had people in their lives who could receive what they had to give. See my blog from August 8, 2010 for my take on that.
• One respondent echoed exactly what I’ve experienced when we give, but fail to receive for some reason: we stop expecting to receive. This is something we must be aware of and overcome. See my July 25, 2010 entry for an affirmation to build expectation that you will receive.

These were just the replies to my inquiry, not to my survey. If you’d like to take part in my research, it’s not too late. Just visit this link to take the survey.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Be a Person of Increase

In her Prosperity Plus workshop, Rev. Mary Morrissey teaches participants to be people of increase. What does this phrase mean and how does it relate to receiving? The idea of increase comes from Wallace Wattles’ classic, The Science of Getting Rich. In chapter 14, The Impression of Increase, Wattles says, “Increase is what all men and all women are seeking; it is the urge of the Formless Intelligence within them, seeking fuller expression…And because it is the deepest instinct of their natures, all men and women are attracted to him who can give them more of the means of life.”

For those who are seeking to receive, this is a noteworthy idea. Being a person of increase will attract to you the people who can be of assistance. There are so many ways to be someone who increases other people and situations. It may be as simple as really seeing the cashier at the supermarket, commenting on another’s new clothing or hairstyle, holding a door open, or picking up litter in the parking lot. It might mean being the first to apologize or to overlook a slight altogether. When I was a corporate trainer, we strived to leave rooms in better shape than they were when we arrived. As a consultant, I retained my position for years even during slow periods by being a person of increase. Whatever the assignment was, I set the intention to provide a bit more. When I wrote a report, I added a table of contents. After a training session, I’d compile the results of the evaluations and include a summary along with the individual forms.

Being a person of increase is a way of giving throughout the day. When we give, we place ourselves in the flow to receive. It also just feels good; maybe that’s what draws others to us after all.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

We Cannot Give If There Is No One To Receive

Have you ever tried to give something only to find that there were no takers? The next time you feel yourself resisting a gift, compliment, offer of help, or any other opportunity to receive, please remember this: your refusal to receive deprives another of the joy of giving. In fact, it is impossible to give when there is no one to receive.

As an entrepreneur and trainer, I’ve had the experience too many times to track. I’ve offered classes where no one has come and proposed workshops where no one enrolled. Perhaps you’ve written a blog that was not read or offered a gift that was refused. In these situations, the natural cycle of giving and receiving is disrupted. The giver is left unfulfilled and the potential receiver goes without. There is no winner in this situation.

As an online college instructor, I experience this phenomenon. I give detailed feedback on my students’ essays because writing is a core business skill and a weakness for many Americans. (I’ve seen it not only in the classroom, but also in the boardroom, as an HR Director.) Some students welcome my feedback and maximize their tuition dollars, grade, and time by making the changes I suggest to improve their writing. Others read and resist my feedback; they don’t receive the lesson or the higher grade. Still others don’t even read my feedback, despite repeated reminders that it’s available to them. They leave the edited document unopened, like a gift left unwrapped on the table. In this case, they continue to make the same mistakes, receiving progressively lower scores with each assignment. Here they lose ground, sacrificing even more than the original gift.

While the loss to the potential receiver is unfortunate, it’s the giver who loses even more. It is natural for us to want to make a difference for others, to use our talents and gifts to create a better world. As Gay Hendricks put it in The Big Leap, “When you reach the end of your life and are wondering whether it’s all been worthwhile, you’ll be measuring whether you did everything you possibly could with the gifts you’ve been given.” The giver has already made an effort, while the receiver has expended no energy other than to say “no.” With my students, I can tell you it makes a significant difference to me whether they respond to my feedback or not. So please, don’t let the opportunity to receive pass you by. Your receiving is one of the greatest blessings you can extend to another!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Watch Out Givers, Receiving is Inevitable

Many people tell me that they are uncomfortable receiving, but love to give. While I don’t enjoy their discomfort, I have to admit that this confession makes me smile. You see, giving and receiving are two sides of the same coin. Because it’s really one process, there simply cannot be giving without receiving taking place – on both parties’ parts. Therefore, their desire to give invites the very experience they wish to avoid.

Let’s take the example of when I was a Jazzercise customer. I would go to class and enjoy the wonderful set of routines and the instructor’s high energy level and clear cues. Her gift to me began long before the actual class, since she had to learn the routines and put together the particular set of songs she taught that day. I received a wonderful workout, the camaraderie of the group, and the enjoyment of the musical variety. I reflected my enthusiasm through my verbal responses to her during class and by my high energy level. Now that I am an instructor myself I can assure you that she received the fulfillment of seeing me have fun and work hard. She gave, and I received. As a result, I spontaneously gave back, and she then received. We did this all without much intentional thought beyond her first efforts to give.

Another clear example of giving and receiving comes from my Jazzercise experience. As a professional trainer, I always appreciated how difficult being an instructor must be. They have to know 16 routines averaging 3.5 minutes each so well that they can do them without notes and cue each move before we actually do it. They also have to cue backwards, because Jazzercise instructors face the class. When they say “right foot” they are actually using their left! I enjoyed the classes so much that I frequently praised and thanked the instructors for giving a great class. Recognizing that giving and receiving are a process, it’s not too surprising now to find myself getting regular compliments and appreciation from my Jazzercise customers. The praise and gratitude I expressed comes back to me over and over.

So givers, beware! Your giving puts you in direct line to receive. Please make an effort not to resist! Allow others the pleasure of giving. Recognize that you already are used to receiving: you receive the joy of giving when others receive what you offer. Embrace both giving and receiving, and we’ll all be blessed in the process.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Expecting to Receive

Catherine Ponder, Unity minister and prosperity guru, has often written it is natural and appropriate to expect to receive when we give. Because it is a process, two sides of the same coin so to speak, we simply cannot give without receiving. So while we don’t give just so we can receive, it is perfectly fine to expect to receive.

Recently I was reflecting on this and realized that expectation was an area I needed to work on. As I’ve expressed recently, financial prosperity has not freely flowed to me over the past several years, despite my doing all I knew to do as well as I knew how to do it. Because it’s been a struggle for me, I don’t have joyful anticipation of good flowing to me when I start a new endeavor. I need to change this.

One tool we can use to change our attitudes, beliefs, and feelings (or consciousness) is affirmations, positive, present tense statements. Here is a series of affirmations or an affirmative prayer I’ve written and begun using to shift my consciousness:

I expect to receive. Because I give, I expect to receive. Because God is good, I expect to receive. Seeing God’s abundance in all of creation, I expect to receive. Because the Universe is unlimited, I expect to receive. Because Jesus promised, I expect to receive. Remembering that God knows my every need, I expect to receive. Because it is the Father’s good pleasure to give me the kingdom, I expect to receive. As a child of God, I expect to receive. Because I have set the intention, I expect to receive. Because God is faithful, I expect to receive. As I stay in the flow, I expect to receive. Because I am grateful, I expect to receive. Because God loves me, I expect to receive. Knowing the Universe abhors a void, I expect to receive. Remembering all that I have received in the past, I expect to receive. Because I am prepared, I expect to receive. Because I cannot help but receive, I expect to receive. Because I have absolute faith in the goodness of God, I expect to receive. I joyfully, gratefully expect to receive. It is now a habit: I expect to receive.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Receiving Financial Prosperity

As I mentioned last time, financial prosperity has eluded me, despite doing all I could to bring it about. About the time I began tithing, I quit my full time job to do what I loved. At the time I was married to my daughters’ father and he had a job he loved. Now it was my turn. I began adjunct teaching at two local colleges, became a Weight Watchers leader, and started as a contract management consultant. For several years I juggled these jobs and eventually left Weight Watchers, became certified as a wellness consultant and lifestyle coach, and started my own wellness business. I continued management consulting, for a large firm and also on my own, and settled into teaching for just one college, Rio Salado. In 2007, I became a certified Jazzercise instructor and taught classes three times a week. Over the years, I took business and spiritual classes, completed a mentoring program, developed a website, and embraced Internet marketing. Still, my financial picture did not shift.

At the beginning of this year, I decided I’d had enough. My book, Worth Waiting For: Sane Sex for Singles, was published, but I had no time to promote it with all I had going on. I concluded that things were going to have to change, beginning with me, or I would go back to working full time for an employer. I made a commitment to write a book on receiving and began journaling every day. In March I gave up the good, my wonderful Sun City West Jazzercise classes, to make room for the greater. I began blogging, cleared up the piles that had accumulated on my desk, and started making new connections by attending networking groups again. Daily I asked Divine Intelligence, which always knows the way, for guidance.

About seven weeks ago I was inspired to write a new vision for my professional life and finances. It was clearer and bigger than I’d ever envisioned before. It would mean letting go of my old life and playing in a much larger arena. I have it posted in my home, carry it in my wallet, and read it every day, along with the Prayer of Jabez. I’ve decided that the reason prosperity did not materialize for me was because my true heart’s desire was to be in what Gay Hendricks calls my zone of genius. I need to make the Big Leap, even bigger than quitting my old job and starting a business. The business I’d started was in the same realm of where I already was, in my zones of competence and excellence. It was not a big enough stretch and did not “enlarge my territory” as Jabez put it. My new vision will do those things and more.

But if the money had come along the way, I doubt I’d be pursuing this vision right now. Stay with me as I live my vision, trusting that, “the moment one commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no one could have dreamt would have come their way.” (W. H. Murray)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Many Forms of Prosperity

I began a new ten-week class by Mary Morrissey and Karen Joyce this week called Prosperity Plus…A New Way of Living. I’ve taken a number of prosperity classes before, but since I’m not as prosperous as I’d like to be and this is a “new” way, I decided to invest my time and energy. The class involves making the commitment to tithe 10%, something that troubles many people. It did me too at one time, but the Rev. Edwene Gaines got me over my fear almost ten years ago, and I’ve been tithing ever since.

Now many people have the experience of their finances significantly improving once they make the commitment to tithe. The course creators expressed this as did several people in the class. I have to tell you that I have not experienced this, and I am a consistent, joyful tither. But what I can tell you is that I know, absolutely for certain, that tithing is not preventing me from being financially prosperous. In fact, I doubt that I could ever achieve permanent prosperity if I did not tithe.

And so tithing is a no-brainer for me. I would never consider giving it up as a failed experiment, because it hasn’t failed. Many wonderful things have happened to me since I began the practice:

• This past decade I’ve had the end to several chronic physical ailments and now enjoy perfect health.

• I lost about ten pounds five years ago and am now physically fit. I have the body I always wished for, so I can wear virtually anything I want and do anything I choose to without physical limitation.

• I continued the loving relationships I had all my life with both my parents until their deaths, including with my Dad after he developed Alzheimer’s disease a few years ago.

• My relationships with my twenty-something daughters is strong and loving.

• In 2007, I met the love of my life, Roger, and we just celebrated our second anniversary.

• My faith is stronger than it has ever been, and I am becoming more courageous and less fearful every day.

Yet financial prosperity has eluded me, despite trying everything I knew to do as well as I could possible do it. What’s that about? Join me next time for more.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Is Receiving an Art or a Science?

Our goal with this site and my upcoming book is for us to become skillful receivers, so that we can receive what we need and desire with grace and ease. Is receiving an art or a science? The definition of art includes the following: a skill, talent, knack, or ability; a creation by human endeavor rather than by nature; the application of techniques used by somebody in a particular field; or the ability to achieve things in a clever or shrewd way. Art involves finesse and creativity; it’s unique in its appearance and there is no one right way to go about it.

Science, on the other hand, is the study of the physical world, a systematic body of knowledge, or something studied or performed methodically. Science has a method and a process. It’s measurable and dependable: H20 is always water.

It seems to me that receiving well is both art and science. There are certain methods we can use to expand our opportunities to receive, such as forgiveness and releasing. Some are always appropriate, forgiveness is one, while others, releasing for instance, may not be. There may be some art or skill to knowing when it is time to let something or someone go. And even with a practice like forgiveness, the way it is accomplished can vary. Some things are easily forgiven, while other may take ongoing work and a different approach to finally resolve.

Yes, it seems that receiving takes a blend of art and science. Perhaps that’s one reason why it’s a habit many have yet to master, this author included!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

How Aware Are You?

When I talk to people about their ability to receive, the issues seem to fall into two major categories. Most common is a discomfort with receiving. We’ve looked a bit at this already; people are more comfortable giving than receiving, for the most part. The other major category of issues is around people’s inability to receive. They seem to want to receive, but the things they seek just don’t come. For some reason, they don’t receive whatever it is they’d like to.

I’ve written before about receiving coming in many forms. Sometimes the thing we seek comes in such an unexpected way that we miss it altogether. Does this seem unlikely to you? If so, take a moment and view this video on selective attention.

The point here is to be aware. In Worth Waiting For: Sane Sex for Singles, I tell the story of how I met my husband. I had been doing a lot of visualization before I met Roger and had some particular ideas in mind about him. One was not that he would be ten years older than I am, though! As a result, I almost missed him. Stay alert today! Don’t miss all the good that is yours to have.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

How Full is Your Box?

If you’ve ever read The Prayer of Jabez, you’re familiar with the fable about the man who goes to heaven and discovers a warehouse filled with boxes of unclaimed blessings. Author Bruce Wilkinson says that the blessings could have been given while the man was alive if only he’d asked for them. I would agree with that and take it one step further. I say that there are more blessings available for us if we are willing and able to receive them.

I think there must be more to it than just asking, because I know lots of people who ask and don’t receive, myself included. Jesus said, “If you have faith when you pray, you will be given whatever you ask for” (Matthew 21:22 CEV). This would explain what happens with some folks: they don’t really believe they’ll get it, so they don’t. It’s not as harsh as it sounds. Asking without believing is really half-hearted asking, and when is any half-hearted attempt truly successful?

I’ve heard it said that if you can’t imagine it, you can’t have it. Is failure to believe all about a lack of faith in God? Perhaps, but not always. I can think of many people who do believe God is good and quite capable, but who can’t imagine that much good coming to them. My mother was that way. She lived the last ten years of her life in increasing physical pain, and eventually I don’t think she could imagine her life without it. What explains her failure to heal? Did she ask for healing but was unable to imagine it, or did she stop asking altogether because being pain free was beyond her imagination? I’ll never know in this lifetime, because she passed away at just 74.

So we have to ask and we have to believe that the answer will be “yes.” Is that all there is to it? I don’t think so, at least that’s the premise of my book. While both of these steps are necessary, they may not be sufficient. We have to ask and believe and then be open to receiving the blessing, however and whenever it comes. As I’ve pointed out before, there are times when the answer is right in front of us, but we’re looking for something else and miss it. Next time I’ll tell you the story of the gorilla in the basketball game to illustrate my point. Until then, ask (and make it big- it’s okay, the Universe is unlimited), believe, and then be open. Let’s start emptying the box and begin receiving right now!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Reframing Your Story

One of the ways we can block of the flow of good into our lives, inhibiting our receiving, is to fall into a victim mode. My New Thought teachers frequently advise being mindful of this, as it is a common trap for people. In the Celestine Prophecy, James Redfield refers to this victim mindset as the “poor me” control drama. He says that people fail to realize where their energy comes from and unconsciously use one of four control dramas, attempting to steal energy from others. Being a victim is one of these methods.

Often you can spot people using a poor me approach when they tell the same sad story about their lives repeatedly. Typically, experiences or “forces” outside of themselves are to blame for their woes. Immediately after the even has occurred, it’s understandable that one might feel victimized. However, when the story takes on a life of its own, and even increases its emotional hold on someone, the victim mentality has set in.

I caught myself hanging on to my own poor me story earlier this year. It was January and I was with a group of friends who hadn’t seen each other for several weeks. We took turns catching each other up and summarizing how 2009 had gone for us. Repeatedly, people spoke of how hard the year had been, not just financially, but also physically and emotionally. Listening to tale after tale made me aware of the story I’d fashioned for myself about one week in May 2009. In the same week last May, my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, my mother-in-law died, my husband lost his job, and a very close friend learned she had cancer. It was a week to forget, not remember!

As I thought about my retelling the story of this week, I realized that I needed to reframe it, to disarm it and put the power for creating my life story back where it belonged – with God and me. (Both Unity and Religious Science teach that we co-create our lives with God and we are never victims of chance.) Upon reflection, I found it easier than I expected to reframe the events. My father’s diagnosis was a blessing really. I already knew he had a serious memory problem. The diagnosis now meant his doctors also knew this and he began receiving top notch care from the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in Phoenix. The firm diagnosis also made it easier for him to qualify for a VA pension, which enabled him to move into an assisted living facility.

My mother-in-law’s passing was also blessing. At 92, the quality of her life was extremely poor, having suffered from dementia for over ten years and being bedridden from a stroke for almost 18 months. Roger’s job loss was not unexpected. He was able to retire and enjoy himself after years of balancing work and care for his ailing mother. It also enabled him to help me assist my father, whose need for care was increasing.

My friend’s cancer was the hardest to reframe. Being an RN, she faithfully followed her treatment plan, which included receiving both radiation and chemotherapy, and she supplemented the program with excellent nutrition and prayer support. By the time she had the tumor removed, it tested at stage zero cancer – the cancer had been complete eradicated! Still, her treatment was extremely taxing on her and her recovery from the surgery is ongoing. She’s had to learn to ask for and accept help, not an easy thing for a caregiver, and her family has really stepped up, especially her husband. Her marriage is stronger than it’s been in years, and she’s learned a great deal about cancer, giving her even greater insight and compassion as a nurse. I think if she had a choice, she’d take the improved relationship and other blessings over not having cancer.

To increase the flow of good in your life, be aware of the stories you tell. Make sure they empower you and put you in the position to receive even more.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Receiving Comes in Many Forms

One of my favorite prosperity teachers is the Rev. Edwene Gaines. She has made a 100% commitment to the transformation of the abundance consciousness of the world. One of the questions she likes to ask people is this: Would you be willing to consider the possibility that God has ways of blessing you that you don’t already know about? Isn’t that a great question? So often when I think about receiving I get stuck on how I think it will show up. But God, being infinite, has an infinite number of ways to bring my good to me.

I recently heard a great example of a seemingly unthinkable way someone was blessed. A major hotel in Phoenix had booked a wedding for a local couple. After the date was confirmed, a large group approached the hotel about booking an event the same weekend. To hold accommodate the group, the entire hotel would be needed. The revenue from this group would far exceed that of the wedding, so the hotel arranged to move the wedding to the beautiful Wrigley Mansion, completely at the hotel’s expense. Can you imagine having your entire wedding paid for and held at the Wrigley Mansion? Do you think this was a possibility the couple ever considered?

To be a skillful receiver, it’s important to remember that we can receive in an infinite number of ways. It’s fine to visualize something good, but be sure to be open to something different and even better. Let’s receive with grace and ease every good thing the Universe has for us.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Guilty Receiving

When I first discovered New Thought teachings, it was at Unity of Phoenix, with the wonderful Rev. Lei Lanni Burt. The idea that I could be more effective in my praying and make my life easier simply by changing my thinking was new to me, and I found it very exciting. There were many things in my life that I wished were different. Some were major, like eliminating my credit card debt, and others were less significant, such as having towels that matched and weren’t frayed.

The idea of asking for more, even the towels, made me uncomfortable. How could I ask for more, when I already had so much? After all, I was a healthy, white, educated American woman living in the 21st century. I felt guilty wanting more. If I did manifest more abundance, shouldn’t I give it to those living in poverty?

Rev. Lei Lanni put my mind at ease when I shared my guilty feelings with her. Her response was quite logical and made perfect sense to me. God is my source and God is unlimited. My having more does not take from anyone else. I can be free from credit card debt and have new towels (and a whole lot more if I want) without impacting anyone else. The only limitations on my supply on those I create.

Do you feel guilt when you receive? I’m sure many people do and for a variety of reasons. It may help you to keep Luke 12:32 in mind: “It is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Of Course I’m Ready to Receive

When you think about receiving, does it seem like a no-brainer? Of course I’m ready to receive! Who wouldn’t want to receive? It sure seemed that way to me…until I started really thinking about it, especially when things don’t show up the way I expect them to. It’s easy to imagine gratefully receiving a four-day weekend trip to San Diego. But what about when the planned two-night trip turns into a four-night stay due to car trouble? I found that it was not very easy to receive the extra two-days exploring San Diego. Worry about missing work, getting coverage for my Jazzercise class, and paying for the car repairs crowded out my enjoyment of the good things that came. I was stuck there, one way or another, so why not enjoy it? Thankfully my husband, Roger, is a skillful receiver who really lives life to the fullest. He filled our time with wonderful adventures, and I ended up receiving much more than I would have managed to on my own.

As I reflect on it, I have a certain bit of anxiety about every vacation I take, particularly now that I work on my own. When I was in the corporate world and received paid vacation, it was much easier to receive the time off. If you are self-employed or work part time or on a contract basis, you may well know what I mean. Most of us only get paid when we work, so receiving time off means not receiving a paycheck. Typically, I still manage to go, reminding myself that my needs are met and my taking a vacation is good for me on many levels and not an extravagance.

It doesn’t have to be a full blown vacation that triggers these anxious feelings of worry and guilt. I remember feeling the same way when Roger and I were given tickets to a great show at the last minute, so I had to quit work a bit earlier that day than I had planned. It might be the unexpected call from an out-of-town friend who can only see you that day or the networking event that would take you away from the office, but give you the social interaction you’ve been craving.

Over the next several months, we’ll look at many of the reasons why receiving can be difficult. For now, try to be aware when you feel constricted and anxious about the opportunity to receive. Just recognizing your reaction can help you identify its source, allowing you move past the feelings and truly open yourself to receiving all that the universe has for you.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Why We Need to Be Skillful Receivers

Do you think it’s important to learn to receive comfortably, with grace and ease? Or do you believe that as long as you’re a good giver, that’s all that really matters? After thinking about this for several months now, I’ve concluded that we absolutely must learn to receive well. We simply cannot provide all we need to ourselves by ourselves. We must rely on others, so receiving is not an option. And because giving and receiving go hand-in-hand, the more we give, the more we will be confronted with receiving. Why not accept it and receive the good that comes your way with gratitude and joy.

Prosperity guru and Unity minister, Catherine Ponder, explains in her classic book, The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity, that to live without prosperity is to live abnormally. This intrigued me the first time I read it. She says we cannot live fully on the physical, mental, or spiritual planes of life without prosperity. To live completely we need a roof over our heads and food to eat; rest and recreation; satisfying, creative mental pursuits that incorporate books, art, music, and travel; and quiet time for prayer, meditation, and association with others on our spiritual path. As I thought about it, this made sense to me. I believe that God created us, that God is good all the time, and that God wants only the highest and best for us, as any loving parent does for his or her children. So of course God wants us to live fully in every sense of our lives. And to do all the things I just listed, we must be able to receive the good things that come our way.

Another reason to learn to receive well is so we can develop our perception of life and God accurately. We may say that we believe God meets our every need, but if we don’t receive what’s provided, our needs will not be met and our faith will be shaken. It’s like that popular story preachers tell about the faith-filled old man who got caught in a flood. As the water rose, he stood on his front steps and turned down an offer to climb into a row boat, saying that God would save him. With the waters rising, from the balcony of his second floor, he again refused a ride in a motor boat, asserting the same belief. Finally, standing on his rooftop he motioned a helicopter away, certain that God would save him. Eventually he stood at the gates of heaven where God greeted him. “What happened?” the man asked incredulously. “You tell me,” God replied. “I sent a row boat, a motor boat, and a helicopter!”

To get what we need and want and live the life God intended, we must be more than filled with faith. We must cultivate the ability to receive well.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Discomfort of Receiving

Does it seem strange to you that there would be a blog and book written about receiving? If you look on, you will find many titles on giving and receiving, but none on just receiving. Well, to be accurate, this one also won’t be just about receiving either, because we can’t really look at receiving without talking about giving. They are two sides of the same coin. But, our emphasis will be on receiving. Why is that? Because most people have been taught that “it’s better to give than to receive,” so they conclude that giving is preferred. If you think about this, it just doesn’t make sense. For every giver, there has to be a receiver – otherwise, giving could not take place!

Unfortunately, the “God loves a cheerful giver” message has been so engrained in people that they just can’t get truly comfortable with receiving. It’s not unusual for people to be ill at ease receiving the most basic things, such as a complement or a free lunch. I remember witnessing an argument between two co-workers (who happened to be cousins, incidentally) about $3 one had gifted to the other. The receiver insisted on paying her co-worker back, and the giver kept refusing. This went on for several minutes until they were both angry.

What was really happening here? Were they each so uncomfortable receiving that having an argument in front of their office mates was preferable? Did each selfishly desire to have the good feelings we get when we give? Was one or both afraid of owing the other something in return? We’ll never know, but clearly they failed to realize that when they receive they are actually also giving – they give the other party the opportunity to be the giver and feel good about it.

This discomfort with receiving blocks many people from getting what they desire and sometimes even what they need. Prayers are answered in so many ways; we need to stay alert and open to receiving the answer and the blessing in whatever form it comes. I could go on and on, and I will, so stay with me.