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, 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.