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, December 25, 2011

Jesus as a Receiver

Today many of us will celebrate the birth of Jesus, perhaps the most well-known man ever to live. Many of us think of Jesus as a giver, not a receiver. He gave prayers, healing, food, wine, comfort, and peace to people of all ages and backgrounds. Yet he also received a great deal, something I rarely give thought to.

Of course, we’re reminded at this time of year that the three kings gave Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh at his birth.
While we don’t know much about his childhood, we’re told that as an adult he frequently received meals and housing, often from strangers. Some have suggested his robe was a gift, since Scripture says it was seamless, an expensive garment he was unlikely to have afforded. The gospel of Luke relates the story of the woman sinner who bathed Jesus’ feet with her tears, dried them with her hair, and then kissed and anointed them with ointment. The donkey that carried Jesus on his celebratory ride into town was borrowed, and Nicodemus brought 100 pounds of spices to anoint his body for burial. Finally, Joseph of Arimathea donated his own tomb for Jesus’ use.

Perhaps the most important lesson for us to remember this season is that Jesus frequently asked for guidance and strength, as he retreated alone to pray. Based on his legendary works and his frequent instruction to us to pray and ask for what we need, it is apparent that he received what he sought. Let us follow the Master Teacher’s example this season and joyfully ask for and receive what we need.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Forced to Receive

Exploring the process of learning to receive with grace and ease has been fascinating. I truly believe that we must be able to receive to live a full and happy life, but there are still those who resist learning to overcome their discomfort with receiving. Many of these people tell me they have been forced into receiving to survive.

My research shows that there are typically two circumstances that oblige people to ask for or at least accept help. The first is illness. Today the most common ailment forcing the issue is cancer, although stroke and HIV/AIDS are two other debilitating experiences that necessitate accepting assistance. People with these conditions report initial feelings of guilt and shame at needing help, which only adds to the suffering they endure. Financial distress is the other situation where people report being compelled to ask for help, typically due to job loss or divorce. Here the embarrassment and shame are even greater, as many feel as if they’ve failed in their responsibility to support themselves. Eventually, most grow to be more accepting, with some adopting a “pay it forward” mindset.

While some may view these occurrences as punishments, many of my spiritual teachers tend to see them as opportunities given to us (or perhaps thrust upon us would be more accurate) for our soul’s growth. Because giving and receiving are a process that cannot be taken apart, givers must eventually receive. As I’ve said before, receivers always bless the giver, so one who truly loves giving will ultimately learn how to receive as another form of giving.

This is the perfect time of year to increase your comfort with receiving all forms of blessing. I wish you great joy in your giving and receiving!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

It’s the Season for Giving – and Receiving

It’s the time of year that can give people who have difficulty receiving a hard time. The season of giving is naturally the season of receiving as well; otherwise there’d be no giving!

So how’s it going for you so far? Have you gotten any unexpected gifts? What does it feel like to receive a gift from someone who wasn’t on your shopping list? For most people, it’s not comfortable. The idea of reciprocating is so engrained in us that receiving without giving in return is almost unbearable for some people. I remember an episode of Fraser where Martin (Fraser’s father) and Daphne, his caregiver, struggled with this very thing. They ended up having quite a row, as Daphne would put it.

I find it helpful to put myself in the other person’s shoes. How would I feel if I gave a present to someone who did not give one to me? Most likely, I’d be fine with it. After all, why did I give the gift? Because I wanted to, not to get one in return or because I thought I had to. It could be that I saw something I thought they would enjoy, or perhaps I felt especially thankful for their friendship and wanted to express it with something tangible. Whatever the reason, remember that in the vast majority of cases, the giver gives simply for the joy of giving. Your gratitude and appreciation are the gifts the giver hoped to receive, nothing more. If you feel compelled to give something in return, how about a hand-written thank you note? In this day of email and text messages, it will not only be cherished but also unique!

Let’s remember this holiday season that our greatest gifts to one another are gratitude and appreciation.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Holding Space

I first heard the phrase “holding space” at a conference on spirituality in the workplace held at Unity of Phoenix. At the time I had no idea what the Unity Movement or New Thought were and I didn’t really know what the phrase meant, but it intrigued me. Through my studies in both Unity and Religious Science, it’s become a familiar notion to me, although I don’t know that I’ve ever heard anyone formally define it.

For me, holding space means allowing a possibility to exist in our thoughts and consciousness. Holding space is a very helpful concept to embrace when we’d like to receive something. It’s been said that if you can’t imagine it, you can’t have it. When we’re filled with doubt, worry, fear, or concern, these negative thoughts take up space in our minds. As Prentice Mulford stated, thoughts are things. For many of us, our worry thoughts are so pervasive they can literally crowd out any contrary thoughts we’d like to hold. If seeing this physically is difficult for you, translate it into time. If you spend all your time fretting, you won’t have time for believing, visualizing the best, and simply feeling good.

Can you “hold space” for what you’d like? How do you begin? If worrying is a habit of yours, as it is for many of us, try what some therapists suggest and schedule a specific, limited worry time for yourself. Allow ten minutes for worry thoughts (or less if that will work!) and set an alarm. When you’re done, gently remind yourself that your worry time is over – and you’ll have time tomorrow to go back to those thoughts if you must. Have a positive thought or memory at hand that you can immediate substitute for any fear, worry, or doubt that may creep back into your consciousness.

Thoughts are things. This week hold space for only the highest and best thoughts in your mind and see what happens.