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.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Third of Three Power Practices for Receiving - Giving

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that there are three power practices for enhancing our ability to receive: gratitude and forgiveness were the first two, and the third is to give. I guarantee you that if you give from your heart and there is someone willing to receive it, you will receive something. At the very least, I know you will receive the joy of having given. I believe, deep down, that’s the reason most people who love to give do so – because it feels good! Being appreciated, helping another person, using our talents to bless others, these are all things that fulfill and reward us.

This weekend I go again to the women’s prison in Perryville, AZ to conduct a couple of my wellness workshops. Every six months when my schedule permits I meet with about 20 inmates who are due to be released within the next six months or so. We discuss ways they can eat well, be active, and balance their lives so that they can be physically well as they transition to life on the outside again. While there is no monetary compensation for my efforts, the emotional rewards are abundant. The women hang on my every word. They are SO appreciative that I’ve given up my Saturday morning for them. They teach me a wonderful lesson in the power of gratitude. That’s partly why I know gratitude is a power practice for receiving. In reality, I haven’t given up anything for them. I receive so much fulfillment, respect, and joy from my visits that I come out receiving far more than I give.

It’s critical to remember that when giving we must do so from a spirit of love and generosity. We do not give so that we can receive. We give because we have something (time, attention, money, talent, expertise, etc.) that would bless another. We give because we have received in the past and feels right and good to take our turn to give. We do not give until it hurts or because we feel obligated. We give because we are so grateful for what we have that we naturally want others to be blessed by it as well.

It’s been a pleasure sharing these three power practices for receiving with you. I hope you find them to be as effective as I have. For more on enhancing your ability to receive, you can view all my blog posts here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Second of Three Power Practices for Receiving - Forgiveness

Last time I talked about the first power practice to enhance our ability to receive – gratitude. Today let’s consider the second – forgiveness. Withholding forgiveness from ourselves or another person is detrimental to our intention to receive. The flow of blessings into our lives gets blocked by resentment, hurt, anger and unforgiveness. It’s like stepping on a fire hose: until we step off by forgiving the ourselves or the other individual, the flow is cut off.

If you’re reading this article, you probably realize this already. So just how do we go about forgiving? Last week I attended the annual International New Thought Alliance Congress held here in Phoenix. Although I’ve heard many people speak on forgiveness, at the Congress two key points were made by Rev. Sheila McKeithen. She stated that forgiveness does not mean that we condone the other person’s actions nor does it require that we reconcile with them. If you find it difficult to even get started forgiving someone, try to keep these two thoughts in mind. She also pointed out that we don’t have to forget (and perhaps we shouldn’t), but we do need to forgive, for our own well-being.

A participant at the Congress also had an interesting practice he used to forgive those who have hurt him deeply. He said he imagines gathering a group of people he loves the most together for a photo. He envisions them all together and then places the person he wants to forgive in the center, because “that’s where they belong.” I tried it and found it quite effective. I was able to see the person in the center as I knew they could be, not as they showed up in their error thinking and misdirected behavior.

Finally, when I need to forgive someone, I frequently use a technique taught by Rev. Lei Lanni Burt of Light and Love Ministries. She has a three-step process: 1) separate the being from the behavior (I think the photo idea will be helpful with this), 2) remember that we don’t know the whole story (we don’t always know our own story or why we do what we do, so how could we possibly know what’s really going on with them?), and 3) ask God for help. Over the years, I’ve found this method to be simple and powerful.

Like gratitude, this is a big topic with many practices. My book includes others if you’d like more suggestions. Remember that letting go of blame, shame and hurt will enable you to stay in place of joy and peace where more good will be naturally drawn to you. That’s a great place to be!

Friday, July 15, 2011

The First of Three Power Practices for Receiving - Gratitude

I’ve been studying and doing my best to live New Thought teachings for over a decade now. As I explore this area of receiving, I’ve come to recognize that there are three power practices for receiving that my spiritual teachers consistently stress. When used regularly and with the right consciousness, these practices cannot fail to enhance your ability to receive.

The first is gratitude. “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you” the apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians (1 Thes 5:18). Simple enough to understand but not at all easy to do! How does one feel grateful all the time and why is it a power practice for receiving? Many books have been written on the subject, but let me highlight a few key points as I’ve come to understand them:

• Thankfulness has been and still is universally recognized as a life-enhancing practice by all major religions, spiritual teachers, philosophers, and self-help gurus. A Google search on “gratitude” generates over 58 million hits.
• Practicing gratitude in all circumstances is humbling. Most people believe in a benevolent higher power of some sort, and being grateful acknowledges this overriding goodness, even when we can’t see it and despite appearances to the contrary.
• Being grateful for what we have takes our focus off of what we don’t have, but want. It lifts our spirits, encourages those around us, and opens the way for more good to flow.
• What we appreciate appreciates. As a wellness consultant, I learned a long time ago that I had to love my body first. Caring for it would then come naturally and be easier than when I criticized my body. My self-care would then cause improvements in my body, giving me even more to appreciate about it. Appreciation and gratitude create an upward spiral of greater value and gratitude, creating even more good.
• Being grateful now prevents regret later. After Mom died and Dad moved to Phoenix, I knew my time with him was limited. I made a conscious choice to appreciate every day I had with him. Now that he’s passed, I am so grateful that I was grateful! I knew those times were precious, and I can look back on them with peace of mind and thankfulness, not regret that I didn’t know what I had.
• Along those lines, when circumstances are challenging, there is always someone going through greater difficulty than I. My bank account may not be overflowing at the moment, but I have a wonderful home and husband, excellent health and a sound mind, and a growing faith – and I live in this land of freedom and opportunity. What’s not to be grateful for?

I could continue, but I imagine you get the point. To quote German theologian, philosopher and mystic Meister Eckhart, “If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is "thank you," that would suffice.”