Receiving: Week 1 of a New Practice
I am practicing receiving and all of my housemates are participating in various ways. (see blog from July 4, 2013)
*No laundry. (I have to ask someone in the house to do my laundry)
*My breakfast is prepared for me.
*5am coffee. Someone is getting up every morning to make my coffee.
Today was the 8th day of receiving coffee from my housemates. Five people have awakened at 5am to make my coffee and SERVE it to me while I am preparing for the Sacred Sanctuary Writing Space for Heal My Voice writers and authors.
Each experience of receiving has been completely different.
Day 1 Allegra. She came out of her room like a focused bolt of lightning. This was her purpose. She and I were Buddhist Monks. We were each here serving God. Her morning job was coffee. My job was to prepare for the meditation. I opened my heart to receive. There was a sacredness to our exchange.
Day 2. Laurel. I felt guilty and embarrassed. Laurel had prepared an evening of food and games the night before. I was not feeling well and went to bed without any explanation. So, here she was getting up after four hours of sleep to serve me coffee. She was kind, sleepily focused and checked to see if I needed anything else. (The discomfort was in me and I refrained from saying anything about the night before. Focus on receiving no matter what my actions were.)
Day 3. Damian. We had a 2 hour conversation the night before about why I have trouble receiving. It came down to not wanting to inconvenience people and feeling like I have to give 10 times before I can ask for or receive one thing from anyone. Self-sacrifice is at a deep level.
When I asked him what the experience was for him; getting up on a Sunday morning, the only day he could sleep in and serving me coffee at 5am, he paused…a long pause. He said, “What if I told you it was an inconvenience but I was going to do it anyway.” I started to laugh out loud. Uncontrollable, side splitting, belly laugh. Waves and waves of this!
What a concept! That in relationships, we do things that are inconvenient because we value and care about the person and we do things to support them. This was a practice in receiving! To receive even though I knew that this was inconveniencing the other person.
Damian set his alarm. Prepared the coffee and then checked with me on two details, whispering the questions to me as if any question would disturb my process of preparing for the Sacred Sanctuary Space. He wanted to make sure he had the coffee and the proportion of cream just right.
Day 4. Andreas. I already had a story made up that he was too busy, that he would forget, that he had a meeting that lasted until midnight and wouldn’t be able to get up. He was also the only person who didn’t mention the coffee to me yesterday. He had the coffeepot prepared so he could push the button and focus on me. He came into the dining room to give me a hug and ask me how I was doing. He served me coffee in my favorite mug and brought water in my favorite cup. Attention to detail and focused on me.
Day 5 Andreas. No coffee. He came down at 6:15am, apologized and let me know that he overslept. When he didn’t arrive, to make the coffee, I decided that I could make up a variety of stories about why he was not making my coffee. I observed the thoughts then moved into making my own coffee. The coffeepot was already set up and all I had to do was push the button and the coffee was made.
I connected with the feelings. Coffee. Not so many feelings. Reflecting on it as an exercise. Other things…If I was relying on him to take me to the airport, I would have knocked on his door to wake him up. And there were other things where I would have felt abandoned, unsupported, unseen. It doesn’t feel good. I can see where I have limited myself from receiving because I don’t want to be disappointed. I lower my expectations. I stop asking.
The other thing is how powerful my mind and expectations were. Why didn’t I think he would show up for me? And then, there it was…I co-created this experience with him.
Day 6 Rachelle. Her energy was happy and sparkly and serving me coffee seemed to fill her with joy and purpose. In a conversation several days earlier after Damian and I talked about inconvenience, she shared that getting up at 5am right now was an inconvenience. We both laughed and knew that we were going to practice this together anyway; to see what happened.
Today, I saw no evidence of inconvenience. If anything she was so filled with joy, she appeared to be floating from the kitchen out to the back patio where I was leading an early morning coaching call before the Sacred Sanctuary Space.
Day 7 Laurel. She is the person who has been making my breakfast almost every morning. It is easy to receive from her because her heart is so open and full and generous. She was up early getting ready to go to Oregon for a family visit and made and served me my coffee.
Day 8 Allegra She is going to be out of the country for a few weeks so she volunteered to make my coffee on the last day of the Sacred Sanctuary Space. It seemed so natural for both of us to be awake. Allegra and Laurel came up with the original schedule and posted it on the board. Taking charge from the very beginning of the Practice. Easy flow of giving and receiving.
So, what have I learned so far with receiving?
Giving and Receiving is an exchange between two people. The giver has the choice on how to give. The receiver has the choice on how to receive. The exchange can have a variety of feelings and it can be graceful, inconvenient, joy-filled and more.
It is up to us whether we allow ourselves to participate in the exchange.
Even when we feel inconvenienced, we can show up with love in our hearts. Even when someone is telling you they are inconvenienced you can receive with love in your heart. Shutting down receiving creates a disconnect from a flow in every part of your life. Love, money, sex, inspiration, and connection.
And the journey continues…