Years ago, someone young and wise pointed out an extraordinary truth to me. I had just uttered the phrase “give and take” while in his presence–and he immediately stopped me and said:
“Give and receive.”
“What?” I asked, not noticing the enormous difference between these two phrases at the time.
“Give and receive,” he repeated. “You’re not taking anything. You are receiving something that someone has chosen to give to you freely. It’s just as important for you to be open to receiving it as it is for them to give it to you.”
I was speechless. I’d never really thought about the grace involved in accepting an act of kindness, a favor, or some other blessing. It had always felt a bit like a burden to me, as if I now owed someone something - or as if by receiving an unexpected gift from someone else, I was taking away from what they should be keeping for themselves.
It wasn’t until I began to freely give more things away on my own end (objects, time, help, money, love) that I truly understood the beauty and flow of giving and receiving.
It is a wonderful gesture to be able to openly and willingly share what we have with everyone around us. In fact, we are BLESSED when we give… especially when we give even when we think we barely have enough for ourselves. Why is that? Because in the sheer act of giving during times you believe you have very little, you train your brain that you actually have more than enough. You leave the ‘lack’ or scarcity mindset behind and move into a world of abundance!
So what about receiving? Well, it takes one to have the other. Yin and Yang. Lover & Beloved. We need both, you see! Truth be told, you are doing a favor by joyfully receiving because you are allowing the giver to fulfill his own karmic destiny!
To the left is my friend working on a project for me. Both the friend & the art project are gifts to me.
Want some practical tips on how to practice “giving and receiving graciously”?
-Every time you purchase something new, give something away. I love this one. Sometimes, I’m not sure what I enjoy more - finding a new & special relic to add to my wardrobe/ home/bookcase, or the act of going through my existing things & finding something special that’s ready to be given away.
-When you think your life is horrible, do something for someone else. Works like a charm! Not only does this get you out of your own head & help you gain perspective, calm down, and shift focus, but you are also helping someone else. You are healing another human being while at the same time healing yourself.
-Make a care package, just because. Have an old friend you feel like you should call? How about a family member going through a tough time? Have a lover living on the other side of town? All of them will appreciate your surprise care package!
-Say “Thank you”… and that’s all. When a friend or stranger gives you something - anything - even a simple compliment, don’t immediately feel the need to reciprocate. Show your sincere gratitude…and that’s all. Your time to give will come later, in the future, when you feel it arise on its own, unprompted.
-Give and Receive in Love (and in Bed) Okay, this could be a blog post all on its own. Let’s delve in deeper some other time. For now, remember this: being a giver is a wonderful thing… AND… so is allowing your partner to be that giver. Practice enjoying yourself as you are receiving.
-Practice the Mantra “I AM abundant” and “I AM accepting of the gifts the universe brings to me.” Big or small, a gift is a gift. Hey, I love piles of money as much as the next person, but some of the simplest treasures have touched me most deeply.
Like finding these hearts in my pocket on an ordinary day. No idea how they got there. I ended up giving them to a store employee.
Remember: asking for help is another way of practicing receiving. Just yesterday, I texted a friend, "If you are around today, I want to run something by you. If not, no worries, but I feel like you might have insights to share.” Moments later, a call came through from her.
“What service!” I laughed. To which she replied:
“Sometimes all you have to do is ask.”
Sometimes all you have to do is ask, and you will receive exactly what you need.