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, January 29, 2012

Letting Go of Judgment

Following up on last week’s theme of attracting good, one way to draw into our lives more of what we need and desire is to minimize judgment. Ideally it would be best if we could eliminate it altogether, but I’ve not met anyone who’s done that, although there may well be a few who have. When I say eliminate judgment, I don’t mean finding whatever anyone does as acceptable, because clearly some things are not. I’m referring to finding the behavior unacceptable rather than the person.

The first step is to recognize when we’re into judgment. When I find myself judging another, I remind myself that I don’t know the whole story. I have no idea of that person’s history, upbringing, environment, mental state, or other factors that influence behavior. Take physical condition, for instance. Chronic pain can deeply affect someone’s thinking, attitude and behavior. If I’m not careful, I can take for granted the amazing parents I was gifted with and forget that everyone did not have the benefit of such effective, loving parenting.

One way I turn my thoughts around is to visualize a group of people who love me assembled together, smiling broadly as if for a photo. I place the person I’ve been judging in the center of the group, surrounded by all that love and goodwill. I see the individual smiling, too, even if I’ve never actually seen the person smile. This usually does the trick and I find myself able to let go of the negativity I’d been holding. I invite you to give this a try the next time you’re encountering someone whose actions you find questionable. It’s not only effective, but fun!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Attracting Our Good

Have you ever noticed that there are some people you just love to be around? I remember years ago working with a man named Jason who made me feel like a million bucks whenever I saw him. I looked forward to our brief conversations because I always felt so good about myself afterward. Other people are so bright and light-hearted that we feel good about life after just a few moments in their presence.

Scientists are now proving what many spiritual teachers have been saying for years: we are powerful magnets that draw to ourselves what we send out. Whether consciously or not, the people I’m describing are magnets for good. They see the good in life and in other people, attracting more of the same to themselves. It’s true that misery loves company, so folks who dwell on the negative are repelled by these magnets of good.

What would you like to attract – greater health, improved relationships, new clients? All of these things and more will be drawn to you as you become the kind of person others want to be with. Gratitude and compassion are simple, but powerful mood shifters, and the place to start is with you. Be thankful for what you are rather than what you have, and let go of self-judgment. Others will sense your kindheartedness and be drawn to you. As you attract like-minded people, staying in this positive space will be easier and become a habit. I’m all for life getting easier, how about you?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

We Cannot Give What We Have Not Received

Many people tell me that they prefer giving over receiving. I wonder if they’ve ever considered where they got what they have to give. It’s common sense to recognize that we can only give what we have in the first place, and what we have we received from somewhere.

If we have money to give, we received it from some entity. Yes, we may well have worked for it, exchanging our labor for pay. But first someone had to give us a chance and employ us. They believed in us enough to hire us, and we received their offer. If we have food, clothing, or household goods to give, we received those just as we did the money. It could be that we were given them, but even if we originally purchased them, we still had to have received the money, as I pointed out.

What about our most valuable gifts: our time, our love, our attention and support? How is it that we have those to give? We have the ability and willingness to give the highest and best of ourselves because someone first extended those things to us. For most people, it began with their parents, and of course believers will tell you God is the ultimate source of these things.

If giving has become a chore for you, it could be that your storehouse is running low. Those familiar with the New Testament know that even Jesus, the consummate giver, frequently went away alone to “refuel” himself, receiving rest, guidance, and peace. What is it you need to receive? Don’t be afraid to seek it, because you cannot give what have not received.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Letting Go of Guilt

Do you feel guilt when you receive? It’s critical to face this feeling, not just because to live skillfully we must receive, but because guilt is so destructive. According to Dr. David R. Hawkins, unconscious guilt “results in psychosomatic disease, accident-proneness, and suicidal behaviors” (Hawkins, D.R., Power vs. Force, Carlsbad, CA: Hay House. 2002, pg. 77). In his energy field analysis, guilt scores a 30, with only shame coming in lower with a score of 20, while enlightenment rates 700-1000 (ibid, pp. 68-69).

It was the wonderful Rev. Lei Lanni Burt who helped me make great strides overcoming my guilt about desiring more. At the time we met, there were many things in my life that I wished were different. Some were major, like eliminating my credit card debt, and others were less significant, such as having towels that matched and weren’t frayed. But the idea of asking for more, even the towels, made me uncomfortable. How could I ask for more, when I already had so much? After all, I was a healthy, white, educated American woman living in the 21st century. I felt guilty wanting more. If I did manifest more abundance, shouldn’t I give it to those living in poverty?

Rev. Lei Lanni put my mind at ease when I shared my guilty feelings with her. Her response was quite logical and made perfect sense to me. God is my source and God is unlimited. My having more does not take from anyone else. I can be free from credit card debt and have new towels (and a whole lot more are those I create.

I urge you to notice when you resist receiving. Ask yourself what is behind the resistance. If there’s an element of guilt, keep Rev. Lei Lanni’s perspective in mind. Your receiving doesn’t deprive anyone and neither does your guilt serve them.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Your Year as a Receiver

Every January 1st for the past several years I’ve attended an event that is designed to start the year off with intention. We begin by looking at the past year’s blessings and the things we’d like to release. From there we contemplate the year ahead and choose a word or theme for the year. Why not try this for yourself?

Start by listing the blessings you received in 2011, those you worked and planned for as well as those things that were unexpected joys. There will likely be tangible and intangible items on your list. What dark cloud turned into bright sunshine for you? Perhaps a job loss motivated you to go back to school to pursue your dream. Maybe someone from your past resurfaced, evoking happy memories and the feeling of youth once again. Did you experience a physical or emotional healing?

Once you’ve made headway on that list, write down the disappointments, frustrations, unrealized plans, and other things you want to let go of. This category includes strained relationships that didn’t resolve, financial challenges, health issues, and losses. To help release these things, you can burn the list you’ve made or write the items on balloons and pop them. Don’t get lost in this list; the idea is to let it go.

Finally, consider what you’d like to be, do and receive in 2012. Is there a word or theme that captures this for you? In the past, my words were joy and forgiveness, and my theme for 2012 is love. Yours might be freedom, clarity, purpose, courage, or enthusiasm. Ideally it will come from your heart rather than your head.

As you move into 2012, take your theme with you. Post it, meditate on it, and look for it. Expect it to surface and do your best to be it. As Gandhi put it: be the change you want to see.