Happiness Tip #3: Opening to Receiving

There is one self-sabotage habit most of us have in some way, shape, or form. It prevents us from feeling the aliveness of life and may limit our access to abundance.  It is so sneaky, most of us have no idea we hold this pattern.  So what is this insidious beast? The form of self-sabotage that I’m talking about is that we don’t let ourselves receive.  

Receiving gifts from the universe in the form of helpful people, money, energy, and love, is about participating in the cycle of abundance.  

You may have heard the adage, “you can’t give from an empty cup,” which is a simplified explanation of why it’s important to practice the art of receiving.  

In case you want proof, here are some examples of ways we don’t receive:

-When someone gives us a compliment, we diffuse it, point out one of our flaws (to balance it out), or deny it.  I catch myself doing this sometimes.  For example, one of my meditation teachers said to me, “you’re very organized.” and I replied, “only with some things.”  

-We don’t ask for help when we need it.  There may be boatloads (yes, boatloads) of people willing and able to help us with any given particular challenge, but we close ourselves out from receiving by not communicating what our desires/needs are.   Over the past few months, I have seen this in my business.  I felt swamped with a few tasks such as responding to emails, keeping up with bookkeeping, etc, and I didn’t see it as an option to hire someone to help.  I recently did add a new member (now two of us in this!) to my team, and it has been an enormous energetic and emotional release to be able to receive that kind of support in the work I do.

-We don’t accept generosity when it is offered.  In some cases, without being asked people will offer their support to you.  Whether it is help completing a task, financial support or some assistance that helps to lighten the load we close the circle of giving and receiving by not accepting gifts from others. Not only does this starve yourself from receiving gifts, it robs the giver from the experience of being generous.

It’s not quite as simple as receiving every gift that comes your way.  Some gifts might not feel like there are strings attached or hidden agendas.  What you want to be aware of is if you are blocking off receiving gifts that are healthy.

There are many approaches to practicing and playing with the concept of receiving.  Your emphasis could range from more gross or explicit, to the more subtle or energetic side of the continuum.  

Here are a few ways to open up the doors for receiving:

-Next time someone offers to pay for you at a restaurant, coffee shop etc, let them.  Say yes. Welcome it.  You may even say a mantra silently to yourself, “I am worthy of receiving this” or “I allow myself to receive free gifts from the universe.”

-Practice self-forgiveness.  Forgive yourself for past mistakes.  Often times shame, or feeling “less than” is what blocks us off from feeling worthy of receiving. Ho’oponopono is one of my favorites.

-Practice receiving gifts from yourself.  If you have an hour or two, or maybe a half day, ask yourself, "what would I like to receive from myself during this time?” For me it might be quiet time, a walk in the woods, a nice herb bath.

-Receive the moment.  You may start simply in a quiet space.  Maybe you’re sipping tea in the morning.  Maybe walking in the woods. The practice of receiving is to feel the moment as it is.  Dropping your to-do list. Dropping thoughts about the future. Connecting to the simplicity of the moment.  Not trying to make the moment otherwise.

-When you eat, feel the food as a gift.  Reflect on the people, Earth, creatures, elements that all were a part of the growth of the food.

-Everyday create a gratitude list.  I think the key here is to begin to see gratitude for small things such as the shirt you're wearing, the texture of a blanket, the temperature of the room.  Usually when we create gratitude lists, we start with the most obvious such as our loved ones.  The real juiciness of the gratitude list will come from simple things.

My suggestion is to start with one or two of these and go from there.  What I’ve learned from this exploration of receiving is that this work continues to unfold.  Deeply into this exploration, we may discover hidden wounds we’ve acquired or developed that essentially tell us, “it’s not safe to receive,” or “I’m unworthy of receiving.”

Also, we'll have a special workshop on this practice of giving and receiving at Rhythms of Nature Spring 2018!

 These practices can help us to feel at flow with the universe. They may help us to feel the aliveness of what we can offer as well as what we can receive.