The Art of Receiving

Those of you who have been joining me on the mat lately may have noticed that the focus of our time together is often centered around the facets of receiving. I have found that this intention has been incredibly useful and equally challenging for my own self discovery and growth. Like so many who utilize this practice of yoga and mindfulness we find that our hearts become full and generous, with deep desires to serve those in and around our tribes. We may provide an ear to listen, food to eat, or an energetic gift of compassion and peace that may stretch to the corners of our country's boundaries and beyond. The other side of giving is often overlooked but is an equally important practice; the practice of receiving. This act is just as heartful as giving, but the practice of receiving with humility is often more challenging for us. This challenge is what brings me back to this topic over and over again. Let us take a look at why this foundational and communal experience is so valuable.

It is so easy to find information on how to give and the multitude of benefits that accompany that practice. When we give, our bodies release dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin. These chemicals act as positive reinforcements to encourage us to continue to give because it balances our mood, thus creating a happier mental state. From a societal perspective giving is revered as an elevated practice. We have all heard at one point or another that it is better to give than to receive. Many of us hear this as small children when it is in our nature to collect things, to observe, to keep and admire. This is part of our learning process, when we hold our environment, observe it, admire it we become inherently closer to the world around us, and then it becomes safe. When we try to separate someone from the safety found through understanding we are breaking this natural process by not allowing them to create the safe bubble that produces independence. The practice of giving is something that is done by those who are developmentally ready and able. This is where the nurturing aspect of our nature comes into play. Also, you may notice an undertone of hierarchy that is sometimes implied by this statement of giving vs. receiving, which compounds the concept that receiving is less necessary. Now if we have all these givers and no receivers we are left in a bit of a quandary. To have balance and harmony in giving there must be someone to receive your gift. Otherwise, the giver is unable to receive the benefits of giving. Herein lies the issue, how can we mutually receive at any season of life without shame? The solution is simple in theory: remain open to receiving.

Learning to receive when we have been taught to give and not take requires strength and humility. To accept the gift that giver or creator is offering is sometimes scary, especially if it seems to be a gift of service or a gift that is somehow beyond our means. This can sometimes trigger an unworthy self response of an inner fear. For me personally, I have become aware of the challenge presented by these fears. Over the last few years I have observed that when I am offered a gift, specifically one of energy I have troubles accepting because I am afraid they will see something in me that is undesirable. This fear has kept me small.
It has kept me from creating relationships within this tribe and with those who wish to connect with my light as they offer theirs. This fear has the potential to create rejection. It can potentially isolate both receiver and giver who were poised to have a beautiful exchange, leaving both less powerful. These exchanges are paramount on our journey towards the divine. As we begin to trust, not only in ourselves but in others, our beliefs influence our surroundings. The ripple effect takes hold in our communities creating safety and though that safety, trust is born. When trust is born, freedom takes flight. Then, we all benefit as we stand together in tolerance and uplifted in peace.

Choose to no longer cheat yourself out of a gift because you are worthy to receive it. If this gift was not meant for you it would not be offered to you. This is an opportunity to get a little closer to your intuitive nature, to get back in touch with the harmony of humanity. By accepting these gifts and receiving them wholeheartedly you will in turn gift the gifter and you both will become fuller, wiser, and more supported as you each bravely step into this space and receive.