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, October 30, 2011

Say “Yes” to Give and Receive More

I like the word “yes” and I’m looking for opportunities to use it more. I can still hear the wonderful Dr. Leo Buscalia, expert on love, extolling the word “yes,” because it opened up new possibilities and uplifted the soul. I'm using it more when giving feedback to my college students and I say “yes” to as many invitations and opportunities as I can. How about you?

I find many people reluctant to say “yes” to what’s presented to them, particularly invitations to gatherings, parties, mixers, and similar events. I remember giving a Come As You Will Be Party years ago, inspired by piece in Jack Canfield’s The Success Principles. The idea is to hold a celebration where all the guests come dressed as they would be five years in the future, after having achieved their most heart-felt dream. I only invited people that I knew were goal-oriented and had specific plans for their lives. I was amazed how many of them were intrigued by the idea, but held back responding to the invitation and in the end did not come.

Although this was a special event, many people often pass up more routine opportunities and do not even acknowledge the request to RSVP. Certainly I understand that we’re all very busy and have to make choices, but previous commitments explain only part of this behavior. In talking to people, I find they often don’t think the event will interest them or they think they won’t enjoy themselves. Many times they don’t believe their absence will matter.

If this describes you, I invite you to reconsider this line of thinking, especially if you’re trying to receive more in your life. First of all, your presence does matter; you would not have been invited otherwise. Many times when I go to an event as a courtesy to the host I find that it is I who was blessed in the end. Perhaps someone was there I was grateful to see or meet. It might be that I was able to offer some information or a contact to a guest that no one else there could have. Or it might simply have been an exceptionally fun and relaxing time that I would have missed out on. These opportunities are typically perfect examples of how giving and receiving are so connected that we cannot tell them apart. Say “yes” to the next invitation you receive and see what happens!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Feeling Worthy to Receive

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me....

Many of us grew up hearing this classic hymn in church. I did, and it’s still one of my favorites. However, I prefer the updated lyrics I’ve heard: "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a soul like me....” If you were to look up the definition of wretch, you’d find it means someone who is pitied, annoying, or despicable, whereas soul is much more neutral and can refer to feelings, spirit, essence, or anyone.

While humility is admirable, it can be taken too far, and when it is, this extreme perspective will not help your efforts to receive. For some, it is this sense of unworthiness that blocks them from receiving the good they seek and sometimes even the basic things they need. In my survey on receiving, half of those who reported difficulty receiving what they need experienced feelings of unworthiness to some degree. I recently heard someone asked what she would change about the world if she could change one thing. A thought came to mind for me that I’ve held many times: wouldn’t it be amazing if everyone on the planet knew, really knew, how much God loved them?

As a child of the Creator, your nature is goodness and you are worthy to receive. Great teachers from all the ages have taught this. As Marianne Williamson states, “In the eyes of God, we’re all perfect and we have unlimited capacity to express brilliantly.” If you’d like to explore this notion further, check out the writings of Ernest Holmes, Catherine Ponder, Edwene Gaines, Wallace Wattles, H. Emilie Cady, Marianne Williamson or the authors on my recommended reading list.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Is Perfection Your Goal?

“The idea of perfect closes your mind to new standards. When you drive hard toward one ideal, you miss opportunities and paths, not to mention hurting your confidence. Believe in your potential and then go out and explore it; don’t limit it.” John Eliot, Ph.D., Reverse Psychology for Success

Last week I wrote about how hearing of another’s success can be motivating or demoralizing, depending on how we look at it. But that doesn’t just happen when we compare ourselves to another person; it could be the expectations we have of ourselves that cause the same discouragement.

Just today I two conversations along this line. The first was with a business colleague who was feeling disheartened over her inability to do it all. She was exhausted caring for her business, home, family, and self. I resonated with her statements, having been there myself many times. The other was with a close friend who told me she sometimes wonders if she is the only one who struggles with certain issues. She acknowledged that my recently admitting my own difficulties along the same lines encouraged her – she realized that she was not alone!

I do believe in goals and know the statistics about how much more people who have written goals achieve compared to those who don’t. But let’s not get caught with perfection as our goal. We do not have to do it all, have it all, or be it all. What if we let ourselves just be for a while, and see what comes. If doing so for a whole day is unrealistic, how about an hour? Let us do only what is truly ours to do and free ourselves to explore the opportunities and paths that come when we let go of perfection.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

To Be Inspired and Motivated, Stay Connected

Last month I heard a very accomplished and delightful speaker talk about how she has achieved her success. Her path has included a combination of trial and error, synchronicity, and lots of hard work. We in the audience had a choice to be inspired and motivated by her story or discouraged and overwhelmed. Our selection will likely have a tremendous impact on what comes next for us.

Between the writers I know and the small business owners I network with, I hang out with a lot of goal-driven, success-oriented people. We like to hear stories of how other people are making it; they give us ideas that are new to us, encouragement to keep going, and hope. The best examples are those who share their hard times and missteps, along with their best decisions and successes. This speaker did all these things, so if we in the audience stay centered and focused on we can do, we’ll align ourselves to receive the things we are working for. We’ll remember that we don’t have to be perfect to be successful.

This sounds great and simple enough, but it’s not that easy. Her journey was long and included countless late nights, risk taking, and a strong, seemingly unwavering drive to succeed. Are we up for that much sacrifice and effort? Were the opportunities that arose really the result of the law of attraction she used skillfully and we could emulate or was she just in the right place at the time, events never to happen again? I don’t know about the rest of the audience, but for me it’s about this time that my old friends doubt and fear stop by. If I don’t quickly shoo them away, even more debilitating worry comes to call. Now I’m in for it!

If this resonates with you, take heart! I’ve found that being around like-minded individuals invaluable for staying motivated and hopeful. Thankfully there are dozens of support groups, networking organizations, and professional associations to assist you, along with various churches and other spiritual centers. Check online and ask around. Make sure the culture of the group is optimistic and supportive. If one doesn’t fit, try another. They need your energy as much as you need theirs.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Being in the Flow

One of my long-standing issues has been knowing when to act and when to let go. At work, at home, with the kids, it’s been a challenge for me to find the right balance. I struggle between “let go and let God” and “God helps those who help themselves!” Have you ever found yourself stuck between these two approaches?

Over the years, it has gotten easier for me when faced with a choice of which path to take to accept “it depends” as an answer. I’ve had a tendency to favor the take action side and am learning to be more comfortable with the idea of staying in the flow. A teacher who has been very helpful to me with this practice is Steven Lane Taylor, author of Row, Row, Row Your Boat. He has devoted the past ten years or so to helping people understand what it means to be in the flow, why it’s an ideal place to be, and how to get and stay there. When I’m caught in my classic dilemma, I go back to Steve’s teaching and visualize myself in a boat, where I gently row in the direction I want to go and let the current do much of work.

This week I heard a very accomplished and delightful speaker talk about how she has achieved her success. While she has worked extremely hard, many things have also seemingly just flowed to her. She made it a point to remind us that when we’ve asked for something and it arrives, we need to be prepared to accept it. Even when we’re in the flow, we may have to choose to let go of the good for the greater. Steve has pointed out that at times the river branches off, and we have to make a choice.

If you find yourself in the boat with me or like the idea of letting the current help you, I invite you to visit Steve’s blog. Receiving with grace and ease is so much easier when we’re in the flow.