The Law of Receiving—er—I Mean, Giving?
“It’s 6 o’clock in the morning, you’re the last to hear the warning…you’ve been trying to throw your arms around the world.” –Bono, U2
Who hasn’t been this guy? Bono wasn’t waxing poetical–he was being brutally honest. Sometimes we cast our nets out into the world, energy, energy, energy, and we think it’s giving. Giving energy and thoughts, ideas, action to make a better life for ourselves; or make more money; or get to the top of the ladder. Actually, it’s not giving–it’s a lack of receiving.
Deepak Chopra, in his Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, defines the Law of Giving & Receiving as, “The universe operates through dynamic exchange…giving and receiving are different aspects of the flow of energy in the universe. And in our willingness to give that which we seek, we keep the abundance of the universe circulating in our lives.”
Everything in life is a circle – meaning, you don’t give to receive (that would be placing expectations on a gift, big karma “no no”), but you do need to gracefully receive the gifts that come your way. When you give, you automatically receivw. That is nature’s way of calling it even.
What’s a gift, you ask? Well, it doesn’t always have to be wrapped up in a Tiffany box with a big white bow and a smiling movie-star man. Gifts are, when seen with the right positive outlook on life, everything around you. The red cardinal picking around in your backyard, not flying off in fear when you sit down at your patio to drink coffee in the morning. A coworker bringing you Starbucks – just because you looked like you needed it. A cool breeze on a summer day, just when you were about to remark on the heat.
When I say, “learning to gracefully receive,” this is the challenge. At the core, it’s pretty easy to give. You can give your time, energy or resources to another person, a cause, the Earth, or yourself. But receiving…now that’s trickier to understand. Think about the last time someone “gifted” you with any of the above (time, money, energy, resources, attention, or an actual physical gift). Did you gracefully receive it, or did you dance around uncomfortably? Did you express your gratitude, or did you dance around the thoughtfulness by excusing away the gift?
If you’re the latter, welcome to the club of “Receivers Anonymous.” You’ll get there – you just have to work on it. For years, I was uncomfortable with any type of the above gifts. If someone said, “you look beautiful today,” or “what fun kids you have,” I would dance around and change the subject (most of the time to the negative). Suddenly, I’d change the subject to, “oh this old dress? It’s nothing.” Or, “yeah, just wait until the kids get tired in an hour–then you’ll see.” Not only was it my outlook on life, but it was severe insecurity and lack of self-awareness. I subconsciously blocked my receiving–which in turn, actually hindered my giving.
Once I started acknowledging the fact that I had to pony up and understand why I was uncomfortable with the gifts–learning to love the fact that yes, it is human nature to give and nurture flow, and to trust that process – I could receive and give myself. Now, I make it a point, as Chopra advises, to bring a gift to everyone I encounter. Whether that is a prayer for everyone in my yoga class; or a compliment as I walk into a meeting; or the gift of my time to my children or friends–I automatically receive in self—worth.
Try it – not only will nature call it even, you’ll be a card-carrying member of RA. Give on!