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.

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.