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, September 30, 2012

Are you Willing to be Uncomfortable?

I had a powerful ah-ha moment last week.  I discovered that successful people aren’t necessarily the ones who work the hardest or are the best in their fields.  Yes, those things help, but they’re not enough.  Don’t you know hard-working people who are really good at what they do, but are just barely making ends meet?  Successful people are the ones who are willing to persist, even when they’re uncomfortable.  Here’s what I experienced.

I was at a networking event with a group of people I didn’t know.  They knew each other pretty well, though, or so it seemed, because everybody was in small groups chatting away.  I tried my best to work the room, but two different conversations I’d struck up with people were interrupted mid-sentence by another person breaking in.  No “excuse me,” just a turning away to speak with someone they knew while I stood there awkwardly.  Other times I’d spot an individual I wanted to approach but before I could make my way through the narrow, crowded space, someone had beaten me to them.  As my confidence plummeted, I became very uncomfortable and seriously contemplated leaving.  I stood there for a few minutes feeling the knot in my stomach and the tightness in my shoulders, scanning the room for someone to talk to.  Eventually I found someone to connect with, who led me to another, and then to another.  Ultimately I met at least six people I followed up with later, exceeding my expectations for the event.

The purpose of networking is to build relationships that can be mutually beneficial.  If I had left when my discomfort mounted, I would never have met the people I did.  No one would be blessed by my leaving.  Because I was willing to endure my discomfort, I had the opportunity to give and receive.  One woman I spoke with had three points of connection with me, and I’m sure we’ll see each other again soon.  Receiving something you’ve never had before will likely mean being in unfamiliar situations.  Be willing to be uncomfortable and see what you receive!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

What Does it Mean to be Generous?

Many people desire abundance so that they can be more generous in their giving.  I understand this kind of thinking. There are so many wonderful non-profit organizations and candidates for election that I’d love to support financially.  Giving money is certainly one way to be generous, but is it the only way or even the best way?

The dictionary offers several definitions of the word “generous.”  Two are particularly relevant to the subject of receiving.  One definition is “kind,” as in willing to give money, assistance, or time freely.  I like the broadness of this description, as sharing our time and skills is often more useful than money, such as providing respite services for a caregiver.  I like to expand the definition even further and include giving our attention as an act of generosity.  Children and the elderly are especially overlooked when they speak, and the simple act of really listening to them is a wonderfully generous gift. 

Being attentive relates to the other dictionary definition of generous that is relevant here, and that is to be “noble,” as in demonstrating forgiveness.  Isn’t it generous when someone overlooks a slight, gives us the benefit of the doubt, or pardons our shortcomings?  If we’re truly attentive often we’ll recognize that the other person is doing their best.  In reality, behaving with kindness and responding with graciousness are two of the most powerful ways to be generous, and they don’t cost a dime.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Who’s in Control?

“You can’t be surprised, you can’t be tickled if you try to control it.” Dr. Joseph Dispenza

It seems to me that there is a debate in the New Thought community about whose will we should be focused on.  Does God have a plan for my life (the traditional Christian view) or is it up to me to make the plan and God will say “yes” (Edwene Gaines and Terry McBride teach this)? Unity appears to take a middle of the road approach saying that we co-create our lives with God  and should be specific in our prayer requests but add “this or something better” at the end.  I must admit, after reflecting on this question for years, I’m still on the fence.

Most of the time, though, I see it as a bit of both - that God’s will and my will really are the same, although I may not know it.  For the most part, all any of us really want is to be happy.  (It’s what will make us happy that we’re often unclear about.)  I believe God wants us to be happy, too, so we really do both want the same thing.  When it comes to receiving, I suspect we’ll do best when we dwell on the feelings we want to have, such as happiness, rather than on the specifics of how to accomplish those feelings.  I’ll leave you with this little poem I came upon years ago and still have memorized:

As a child brings her broken toy with tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dream to God, because he was my friend.
But soon I snatched it back and cried, “how can you be so slow?”
“My child,” He said, “what could I do?  You never did let go.”

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Skate Slowly and Carefully

This phrase came back to me recently: All skate slowly and carefully.  The invitation would come booming over the loud speaker at the roller skating rink, calling us all back onto the floor after a special skate had ended.  This was a welcome request then, and I realize it applies now when we’re striving to receive.  Let’s all keep going, moving slowly and carefully.

With 4G speed and instant access, we have become an impatient society.  It’s easy to get frustrated when things don’t manifest as quickly as we need or would like them to.  We see no progress and assume nothing is happening.  Without allowing time for the universe to work things out on our behalf, we abandon our efforts and scramble to try a different approach.  What we needed to do was “skate slowly and carefully,” continuing our efforts despite appearances. 

I remember giving this advice to my Weight Watcher members when they would fail to lose weight.  They would claim they’d hit the dreaded weight-loss plateau because one week they didn’t lose weight.  In the weight loss world, any period of maintenance shorter than three weeks is just business as usual.  A plateau is not called until they’d gone three weeks without a loss.  Thankfully, with encouragement, most were able to keep “skating” and soon found they were truly making progress toward their goal.  How about you?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Law of Substitution

Is there something you desire to receive?  Maybe more than one something?  If so, you may find it easier to receive if you know the law of substitution.  I first learned about this law from New Thought author Florence Scovel Shinn in the Game of Life and How to Play It, which she self-published in 1925.

Ms. Shinn tells the story of a woman who was interested in having a certain man fall in love with her.  The woman asked Ms. Shinn to treat (pray) for this.  The author agreed to pray for divine selection, the man who was meant to be hers by divine right.  If this particular man was intended to be her partner, it would be so.  The woman made no progress with this gentleman, but did attract another with whom she fall in love and experienced great happiness.  As Ms. Shinn explained, “This shows the law of substitution.  A right idea was substituted for a wrong one, therefore there was no loss or sacrifice involved.”

Along these lines, many spiritual teachers state that being specific in our prayers is fine, as long as we add “this or something better” to our request.  This addition allows the law of substitution to take effect.  If you’ve been stalled with your receiving, don’t be afraid to consider the law of substitution. Remember that according to Ms. Shinn, there is no loss or sacrifice when the right idea is substituted for a wrong one.