Tag Archives: receiving

Meeting the moment 2021 #51

This is the last blog post for 2021. In true Dickensian style, it is a year that has seen the best of times and the worst of times. I so appreciate the best of moments and the opportunity to meet the worst of with witnesses and a scaffold of care sometimes completely invisible to me, and often elusive, due to my own amnesia. For many another COVID Christmas seals the deal on naming 2021 as a tough year. Most of my immediate family I connected with via zoom, although I did get to see some of them, we applied socially distanced behaviour and I got another negative PCR result. With some members of the family in a vulnerable health zone, I am a regular to the testing station, as hospital visits and new borns are on the horizon.

The best of moments hold a set of characteristics of warmth, good humour, often at a table, nearly always in the company of women, and where my arrival to the scene is incidental and I am in receipt of the harvest of much that has gone before to enable to even be in the moment. The worst of’s have nearly always been punctuated by pain, retrospective memories or some kind of unpredictable natural phenomena that no one was expecting. They have often been solitary and hidden from the gaze of others and had to find their way out through the intense work of metaphorical massage or exorcising like thought management. Moments that have taken me to heights have been able to be mined for their wealth when I have been impoverished or felt bereft. I seem to have an insatiable appetite for the rich tapestry of goodness to draw on. This wealth, is an abundance of goodness to luxuriously bathe in, as I continue to learn how to receive.

I have been working on my practice, of the discipline of receiving, and testing out little exercises to develop my receiving muscle. This season of gift giving and being thankful for all we have received, provides an opening to develop the practice. Receive has an etymology from Latin, which means to take back, back to the original place. So I have been thinking when I receive something it is a reflection of what is seen, caught in the act of being visible, being called forth and grasped with recognition, being offered to me as a reflection in the mirror. This goes beyond everyday gratitude and is perhaps a pathway to a deeper understanding and experience of being witnessed.

I am deeply grateful to all those who have witnessed me this year. This humble act of solidarity, without judgement and with the generosity of a layer of protection, has helped me over and over again this year. To those who have been in this role for me this past year, my sincere thanks. I know there are many moments you would be able to testify to me sensing my way through, falling towards an insight, burying an anxiety, driving a change, being astonished, feeling enchanted.

In court there a few different types of witnesses, the expert witness, the eye witness, the character witness and the fact witness. I notice that all four types of witnesses have showed up for me this year, and I have also sought them out depending on what I need to be seen or heard. I so appreciate the eye witnesses who have been with me for many decades and where we have such a common language and frame I need only hint at a few words and be seen, heard and understood with no further explanation. I rely on the fact witnesses to keep me leaning in and being realistic, helping me discern the truth, reality and to detect the fake news. The character witnesses reassure me of what they know, have seen and recognise what I have done and remind me of what I am capable of. The expert witness is the one who can offer up a new piece of research, understanding or replace old data with new while not taking away what is there but making sure what is available is more current and solid.

As I leave 2021, knowing the pilgrim path of placing one foot in front of the other, I bow with deep appreciation, to those who have been witnesses to me. I am overwhelmed with the acts of kindness that enable me to practice how to receive.

Thank you to those of you have travelled with me and read this blog across the year. Next year will be the 10th year of writing a weekly blog and I am looking to receive your witness with the same kindness. I would love you to share my posts with others if you find content resonates with you. In 2022 my theme is going to be invisible and visible.

“Work in the invisible world at least as hard as you do in the visible.”

— Rumi

Photo by Roman Melnychuk on Unsplash

Year of Self Compassion #42 #receiving

This week I was asked a number of times if I enjoyed my party and the answer was a resounding yes. One of the things I have had to learn this year is to receive. I have been so unable to do so much so often, reception is what has been left. Bereft and broken, alone and fumbling around I have had to put down my arrogance and fear and be waited on more than once. Vulnerability and humiliation paired up to remind me I am human.  While I invite others to be together, to find the good in one another, to celebrate and extend generosity – I haven’t been so good at doing that for myself. Hence this year of Self-Compassion.  I still have my L plates on, but as a wise woman said to me this week – L plates is a good place to start.  And starting I am, and learning I am, and practicing I am.

Learning to receive is a practice all of its own.  I think the key is the practice …. like any discipline. I was looking up the history of the word receive and it is declining in its use over of the past two hundred years or so. It has Middle English and Anglo-Norman origins from back and take. I think there is a clue in here for me to think about receiving as giving back. In receiving you are giving back, by acknowledging the gift and honouring the giver. It seems to hold a promise and potential too. By receiving you are moving a relationship forward, taking another step in trust towards deeper intimacy.

Another clue to the power of receiving, is the opposite, the betrayal of a gift being rejected. Having spent yourself and given with joy, to have that thrown back at you is a hurt that creates a hole which is often hard to be re-filled.  You are greeting the good in the other when you receive as they give witness to the good in you.

It is not always easy to receive and so I am growing my reception muscles and my birthday has helped me in that fitness quest. Inviting other to give to me so I can receive is quite a big step. To receive random acts of kindness is a whole other level and to be impacted by a stranger or an invisible human seems to always connect me to the cosmic energy of the goodness in the Universe. Universal love is made visible in those random acts.

And then there is the receiving of what is around us everyday – the big blue sky, the pleasure of a cup of tea, the blossom on the trees, the little ants going about their business underfoot, the magpies calling me to the day and the majesty of the grey box tree offering spiritual direction from broken branches, peeling bark and a precarious nest being held halfway to the sky protected from the elements and predators.

Receiving is an art and craft. I find myself bowing to the giver so often, to recognise what they have done in their lives to make the gift and the cost that has been. The act of receiving is only possible because someone else has eeked out time for me, found and prioritised resources, knowing me well enough to match their giving to what my needs are.  This is call and response. And I know the giver receives as well, I know this better because I am good at giving, and learning to receive is what is opening up  … and I like it!  And may you too be blessed with good friends as John O’Donohue writes in this blessing from The Space Between Us and find your visible and invisible soul friends in many you meet on the road.

Blessing for Friendship

May you be blessed with good friends,

And learn to be a good friend to yourself,

Journeying to that place in your soul where 

There is love, warmth, and feeling.

May this change you.

 

May it transfigure what is negative, distant,

Or cold within your heart. 

 

May you be brought into real passion, kindness,

And belonging.

 

May you treasure your friends,

May you be good to them, be there for them

And receive all the challenges, truth, and light you need.

 

May you never be isolated but know the embrace 

Of your anam cara. 

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Photo credit: Catherine Lawson