Saturday, July 23, 2011

Learning to receive

I was raised by a family of givers. In fact it became a joke in our family that my mom and my Polish grandma would have arguments over who would pay for lunch - as in, "I will!" "No! Let me!" "I insist!" "Carol!!!" "Mom!!!" These continued sometimes to the point where they were stuffing bills in each other's purses! I now jokingly call arguments over who will give more "Polish Bargaining." I remember when I used to teach at a little center in town. I would ask the owner what her rate was and always she offered something I considered too low. I'd offer more. She would counter with something in between and say, "That's my final offer!" And we would laugh over how we both wanted to be more generous. Many of you remember Judith from the Center for Expanding Consciousness - she is now the gracious owner of the White Springs Bed & Breakfast in Florida, and I'm sure, just as generous hearted as she always has been!

So when I began to learn to receive I had to bite my tongue and learn to say, "Thank you" when someone complimented me rather than saying, "REALLY?" or worse yet debating the verity of their statement. If someone said my eyes were pretty, I'd be more likely to say, "Oh gosh, they're so bloodshot!" or, "Oh yours are too!" It was just an old habit to argue away a compliment or to feel I had to immediately "pay it back." A friend once said to me, "Could you just say thank you?" That hit home. Now when someone pays me a compliment, although old habits die hard, I try to breathe in the love and simply say, "Thank you." I give compliments so freely and easily, it strikes me as crazy that it took so long to learn to receive them.

Likewise I have had to learn along the way that receiving graciously from others when I am in need allows me to give more. It truly does keep the flow going. Two stories really stand out. When I broke my foot in 2004 a dear client offered to make me dinner. Knowing how much I had struggled with cooking on crutches, I finally said, "Yes thank you!" I will remember her roast chicken and potatoes till the day I die. That was one of the most nurturing meal I have ever eaten! And this dear woman made so much that I ate well for days. By receiving I was able to conserve energy and continue serving my clients in the midst of an injury. I was so grateful for this act of kindness.

Likewise, when I was going to teach a class many years ago, I needed a $300 room deposit. Normally that wouldn't have been a problem but it was after the holidays, and I had had some surprise bills. As usual I trusted the money would come. Well, lo and behold, another dear person on this list, out of the blue, said God had told him to send me $333. I was nearly bowled over to say the least and grateful to tears. The money paid for the room deposit and was Doreen Virtues number that says, "The masters are with you." Furthermore the seminar was being held on 3-3. This gentleman didn't even know I was planning a seminar at the time. His gift enabled me to serve others in a much larger way and more importantly reinforced how much heaven really loved and supported me in supporting others.

So many times I have been on the giving side of life, helping friends, doing web site for free when I used to have the time, donating money quietly when needed, cooking for others. I LOVE to give. But I have learned over time, as the angels say, that receiving is also a gift to the giver and an act that keeps the flow of God's love spilling effortlessly from one human being to another. You can always pay it forward when you have the ability, but this week declare willingness to receive and then practice doing so.

When a homeless man, with only a tattered bicycle, held the door for me at Circle K and gave me a wonderful compliment, I stopped, looked deeply into his eyes, and said, "Thank you. That makes me feel so good." I acknowledged him as if he were the richest man in the universe. I believe in that moment, he felt he was. He was rich with kindness and he had shared that wealth with me. In receiving, truly, we give as well.

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