Giving and Receiving

Monday was Halloween. It was pouring rain but still the kids came by all dolled up; some of them princesses, bunnies and frogs, witches, ghosts and some "undefined". I was one of those undefined ones when I was a kid! A last minute rummage through my parent's closet and accessible jewelry, a spatula smear of make-up and I'm ready!

Children are magnificent creatures; how easily they accept their goodies. They knock determinately and hold out their 20-foot long knapsacks towards you singing "trick or treat!" expecting full well the treat rather than the trick, but delighted out of their wits if a spook appears.

Their excitement is contagious and you close the door behind them with your cheek bones stretching higher up your face than they are accustomed to; a genuine smile.

Giving is a powerful force. Our need to nurture and share with others, once fulfilled, is one of the most rewarding feelings in life. Allowing others to give to us is allowing them to experience "giving". Next time you find yourself saying "oh no, I can't accept this" when someone offers you something, ponder for a moment what gain you might be denying them. Stifled creativity and lack of self-expression is often evident when we are unable to give to others - returning home with our gifts rejected.

In society as well as within our own minds, we have a responsibility to be receivers as well as givers. In his book "Nonviolent Communication - A Language of Life" Marshall B. Rosenberg calls it "giving from the heart" and quotes this wonderful song:

I never feel more given to 
than when you take from me - 
when you understand the joy I feel 
giving to you. 
And you know my giving isn't done 
to put you in my debt, 
but because I want to live the love 
I feel for you. 
To receive with grace 
may be the greatest giving. 
There's no way I can separate 
the two. 
When you give to me, 
I give you my receiving. 
When you take from me, I feel so 
given to. 

-- Song "Given To" (1978) by Ruth Bebermeyer 
  from the album, Given To. 

There is always a flow of energy between giver and receiver, provider and provided for, leader and follower. Remember that these roles constantly interchange and he who was Giver in one moment, becomes Receiver in the next. That is how flexible life is in nature. And of course, life is in OUR nature!

Speaking of flexibility brings me back to Yoga. Yoga is always an exchange between your body and your mind, your mind and your Spirit. One nurturing the other. Giving to ourselves is only considered a luxury by that part of us that is uncomfortable with receiving. So as you see, there is work to do, within and without.

As nature changes its face this season, and the celebrations of Thanksgiving begin, lets move with the flow and allow ourselves to give and receive with ease and joy.

It's nothing new but I thought it valuable to mention that the greatest gift is our time. Especially to those that love us.

Namaste, Michal