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, November 27, 2011

Keep Moving

Here in Phoenix, we have many gated communities. While you need to know the code to open the gate to enter, all you need to do to exit is to drive up to the gate. If you stop as you approach the closed gate, it won’t open. You have to slowly proceed toward the gate, even though it’s closed, until you’re close enough to trigger it to open.

Many of my teachers tell me life works the same way. The open door, the next opportunity, the solution is not quite visible, but we have to keep moving. I know someone who has wanted to leave one part time job she’s had for many years and find another, more satisfying one. She recently found the new job, but the hours weren’t certain, so she kept the old one just in case. This week she’s decided that the additional hours in the new job won’t come until she releases the old position, so she’s given her notice. She’s driving up to the gate!

I dated a man many years ago who, unbeknownst to me, had a similar habit of hanging on to relationships. He was so fearful of being alone that he’d start a new relationship with someone while still seeing the other person he really wanted to release, not letting either party in on this practice. I’m sure you can imagine the potential for distress in this situation, which unfortunately became very real for me.

The lesson for those of us desiring to receive is twofold: keep moving toward our goal, our good, and fearlessly let go of that which no longer serves us. If a manmade gate automatically opens when we drive up to it, certainly the Universe will manage to open the door to greater good for us as we approach.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Giving Thanks

It’s Thanksgiving week, a time for family, gratitude and memories. One of my Thanksgiving traditions is to attend a church service on Wednesday evening. A few years ago, Creative Living Fellowship in Phoenix held a particularly meaningful service for Thanksgiving.

In this service, Rev. Dr. Michele Whittington suggested that the congregation be thankful for everything, absolutely every thing, even those things we didn’t like so much. She invited us to recognize the good that one each held. For instance, she pointed out that the gas shortage taking place at the time was spurring auto manufacturers to step up production of alternative fuel vehicles, blessing our planet and decreasing our dependence on oil. People were also conserving gas by riding their bicycles more, a benefit to their health. As the evening progressed, I was amazed how much good was uncovered in the events and circumstances most people considered bad.

What is happening right now in your life for which you find it hard to feel grateful? If it’s difficult to identify the good in it, think about what that situation has forced you to do. Who have you met as a result? What new experience have you had because of this occurrence? Have you discovered a skill or quality in yourself that you didn’t know you had? If not, I encourage you to be thankful for it anyway and see what happens. Your grateful heart will make you feel better and attract more blessings to you.

I hope you have very happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Accepting Without Receiving

We’ve been looking at when to accept what’s offered and when to let it pass. There are times that land somewhere in the middle, when it may be best to accept what’s offered, even though we’d rather not receive it. It is possible to accept what’s given at the moment and then decide later what we’ll do with it.

This category can include suggestions, complaints, criticism, and well-intentioned gifts such as food (e.g., the proverbial holiday fruit cake). Maybe it’s your in-laws who always know best how to handle the kids or a co-worker who suggests a better way to do your job. Years ago when I worked in management my staff would give me homemade treats, which while appearing delicious did not fit into my weight control program well. I learned to accept what was offered, put it aside, and decide later whether I would take it home to share, eat a portion of it, or dispose of it altogether. We can take that same approach with suggestions and criticism. A reply of “thanks, I’ll give that consideration” is usually all it takes to end the conversation on a positive note. Note that you did not say how much consideration you would give it or whether you would use the advice at all.

Learning to receive with grace and ease includes learning how to accept without truly receiving. This is easier when we keep in mind that the giver is really trying to be helpful and that what we resist persists. Say “thank you” and just move on.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

When to Say “No”

Last week I wrote about saying “yes” to receive more, but are there times when saying “no” to something that’s offered is best? Absolutely. Sometimes people give just so they can receive or because it puts them in the position of being owed something. Have ever been around someone who never let you forget what they did for you?

Because giving and receiving are so interconnected, it’s natural to want to give back when we’ve received something. But what if someone offers us something just so we’ll be indebted to them? In my work with singles, I have been told about situations where a woman was uncomfortable accepting help from a man because she felt she would then owe him something. I wrote in my book about a man I dated for several weeks who became increasingly unpleasant to be with. When I confronted him about this, he finally acknowledged that he thought by now, after all the dinners he’d bought me, we’d be “farther along” than we were. I don’t mean to suggest by my examples that this is a male trait; there have been too many stories about mothers laying guilt on their children over their labor and delivery not to have some element of truth to them.

Unfortunately there are occasions when people take advantage of the connection between giving and receiving. The process works when it’s balanced. Pay attention to your inner guidance. Do you feel peace and relief over the offer or is there a knot in your stomach? Now the latter might just be your standard resistance to receiving -- or it could be something more. Proceed with caution and seek the opinion of close, wise friend, if possible. We do need to both give and receive to live a full and joyful life, but they should each be done freely, with no strings attached.