The Art of Receiving
Many people have learned how to give but a lot
of people still have difficulty receiving. On
some deep level, the saying "tis better to give
than to receive" is still omnipresent in our
bodies. Despite the inherent fallacy in that
phrase, there is still guilt and discomfort for
"taking" or for being "selfish"!
Yet we do need to receive for many reasons: to
feel supported, to benefit from another's
wisdom, to experience inspiring kindness, to
recharge our batteries, to accomplish greater
tasks that cannot be done alone and even to
allow the "giver" a chance to share their
love... Receiving completes the circuit
It's amazing how long it might take us to
realize this. For me, I had a major realization
in 2006 while I was producing the Healing Garden
event. In the weeks leading up to the big day, I
had taken efforts to remind each practitioner to
bring friends to help them. I really wanted them
to be sufficiently supported. At the festival,
after coordinating the general setup of all the
booths and it was time to finally setup my own
booth, I saw I had completely forgotten to
arrange some help for myself; I had excluded my
own needs from the picture. From that moment on,
I realized that I should practice asking for and
Since that day, I have learned so much from
being willing to involve others at certain
junctures. It's humbling and it's inspiring
to see other people's generosity in action.
It's empowering to receive support because we
can accomplish a lot together. We don't have to
feel overwhelmed if we are able to communicate
our needs. With this practice, I was able to
coordinate increasingly more volunteers for the
Healing Garden project. In 2009, I engaged
nearly 100 volunteers in the making of the event
- with a dozen people helping me with my
installation. I understand now that I can be of
greater service when I'm willing to receive
help. There are some big things we can do only
with the help of others.
You can see this meme moving through our
collective consciousness right now - as we
start to unite and collaborate in the
transformation of the political, social and
economic matrix. We are learning to crowdsource
the collective genius and goodwill to support
each other through these challenging times. We
are learning to ask each other for help and
creating innovative platforms to receive it. Be
it an online social networking platform like
Facebook or a fundraising platform like
Kickstarter or Indie Go Go, people are
discovering that many hands make light work.
So from the macrocosmic realm of the global
village to the microcosmic reality of our own
communities, we are practicing more
vulnerability and transparency. We are
increasingly understanding how we are
interdependent and interconnected. When one
country goes bankrupt, it affects everyone
eventually. When one country goes to war, there
is no true peace for anyone. When one person in
our family is in pain, we all suffer in some
way. So when we ask for help, we are not only
helping ourselves - we are helping humanity.
Of course, some of us have been alone in our
suffering for so long, that we block others from
helping us. We may not trust any offers of help
or we may subconsciously deny people entry
into our tender hearts. For many souls, the
idea of being rejected when they most need help
is so utterly painful that they would prefer to
suffer in privacy. How can we receive if we fear
that others will fail us? How can we receive if
we fear there may be strings attached?
In our journeys, we may witness situations where
we are doing it solo because we are unable to
think of anyone to help us. It tends to be
situations that involve our personal needs and
the conscious concern may be that we are
inconveniencing others. Other subconscious fears
lie underneath: being unsure that the help is
unconditional, wondering if there will be an
impossible price to pay later on or if someone
will be resentful. Interestingly enough, when
the situation involves a humanitarian cause or
community service, people are more willing to
ask for help. Somehow, our personal needs are
seen as selfish whereas the needs of the many
are considered noble causes.
To receive, we must accept our inherent value
and trust that it's safe to be supported. To
receive, we must let go of guilt and feelings of
"selfishness" or "incompetency". To receive, we
must be willing to trust the goodness in others.
To receive, we must understand that Cosmic
Reciprocity exists so we don't actually
"owe" anyone. This means that in giving, the
person is also receiving on some level. In
receiving, we are also giving on some level.
Cosmic Reciprocity also means that there is a
form of justice and fairness that is beyond our
human perception. Ultimately, we exist
within a spiritual ecosystem that is in perfect
homeostasis, with a constant flow of energy
being exchanged which cannot be measured in
numbers, values or dollars. While our body
systems work ceaselessly for our well-being
until they must return to the ether, our souls
are evolving the life force for the
gratification of this Universe. There is an
unfathomable circuit of love in which we belong,
even if we don't always recognize it. May we
relax into the grace of this generous existence
and stop counting, paying back or owing each
other. All our debts are forgiven and our
value appreciates indefinitely...
A Few Tips for Receiving
When someone gives you a compliment or gift:
a) Receive it with appreciation and feel
good about their wonderful gesture.
b) Focus on how this act reflects their
generosity and remember that goodwill is spread
when you receive graciously. You both deserve to
enjoy the circuit of kindness!
When you feel like you need help:
a) Trust that others are willing to offer it.
b) Identify the ways that you need help and
practice communicating your needs clearly.
c) Let go of self-talk that breeds feelings of
guilt or inadequacy.
d) Engage in self-talk that celebrates the
kindness of others and the interconnectedness of
our human condition.
e) Practice unattachment to outcome
f) Be open to unusual solutions
If someone cannot help you:
a) Don't take it personally - never see it as a
rejection of you in any way
b) See it as an honest response and realize that
you don't know their full story.
c) Continue seeking support elsewhere
d) Trust that help will come in some form and it
may not be what you imagine. Be open to the
creativity of the Universe!
Practice asking for advice or help on platforms
a) It's a great training ground
b) Since you are not directing your request at
anyone specific - only those who are ready and
willing to help will respond.
c) Let go of expectations and extend the fishing
line playfully to see if anything catches.
d) Don't measure your self-worth by the amount
of responses you get. It's not a popularity game
- it's just a tool in your repertoire.
e) Not all responses are necessarily relevant or
helpful, but it is refreshing to consider
Acknowledge the Circuit of Kindness:
a) Congratulate yourself whenever you ask for
help and are willing to receive.
b) Celebrate others when they are willing to ask
for and receive your help
c) Remember that they trusted you enough to
d) It's a bonding experience and you both
benefit from the exchange regardless of which
role you took.
~ little woo,
October 7, 2011