A gift to receive.

If you’re anything like me you’re well versed in the arena of being the Giver. From the school of it’s better to give than to receive. If fact many of us have been so trained to give, that we don’t know how to receive.

For as long as I can remember I’ve had a hard time accepting a compliment comfortably. It’s always an awkward moment when someone offers a compliment, let alone a gift or help. I have always considered myself to be the complimenter, the giver, the helper.

I’ve never taken time to understand the importance learning how to receive gracefully. Indeed this is as important as the giving is. It’s the yin and the yang, the left and the right, the up and down. The giving, and receiving is all one thing, balancing each other out.

I’m very spiritual and recently this topic of receipt came up for me and had me thinking. How often I meditate and pray for things I already have, yet haven’t allowed myself to receive the very thing I’m in search of.

While I practice being present in each moment, I have several tools I use to keep myself centered and focused in most instances. I find myself being present in the moment, while also keeping an eye to the future for those things I want.

A few examples of this, is the current house search I am on for a larger house for my family. Yet I have a great house, in a great neighborhood, and even good neighbors! Yet I discount much of this. I pay lip service to being grateful for it, I act like I am in gratitude for my home as it is.

Yet I find I have not allowed myself to receive the gift my home truly is. It’s shelter for my family, a roof over our heads, coolness in the summer, heat in the winter, and dry in the rain. A space we have created countless memories and shared love, laughs, tears and all the emotions a family imparts together. It’s all I could ever desire from a home.

Another example is my health, both physically and mentally. I am in the best health of my life right now, in this moment. And while I am grateful for this, I understand fully how far I have come. I also know how far I have to go… The path is long, and I am on the journey, far from complete.

As I mentioned I am grateful for all the blessings I have, there are many. Yet when given a simple compliment I have a hard time trying to respond, I don’t know what to do.

I realized my inability to accept a compliment was so much deeper than originally thought. I had spent all my time on the “give”, never wanting to be selfish and “get”.

I am all for balance in life, yet this was a blind-spot I noticed within me. Giving is hugely important and should be done generously in all mediums.

Learning how to gracefully receive is a deep lesson which will bring as much peace as giving. If someone is giving to you, you’ve probably earned it in some way. Even if you haven’t “earned” it, you are the recipient of another persons “give”. It’s OK to accept and be gracious and humbled in receipt.

If you ever find yourself praying/meditating for love, be sure to receive the love you already have. If you find yourself praying for money, gratefully receive the money you already have. If you’re not in a relationship but wish to be, receive the relationship you have with yourself first.

Being grateful for something, and receiving it are not one in the same. I didn’t know there was a difference for a long time. There is always a balance in this universe, love and hate, joy and despair, light and dark.

Nothing exists without it’s opposite and all are needed. Giving and receiving are not opposites in this case and compliment each other like salt and pepper or peanut butter and jelly when done without ego or pride.

The next time you find yourself in receipt of a compliment or gift, pay attention to your natural response. If you’re the “no, I couldn’t accept that…” type like me, take a swing at simply accepting and saying “Thank you”.

Love is always in the air…

In the fourth installment and fourth tool you can use to upgrade your thoughts, I offer the most powerful one yet.

Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s what I choose to focus on, but have you noticed how the “love” word is thrown around these days like unnecessary loose change? It’s easy to “love” things these days, from the hearts we tap on social media to telling your kids you love them, and everything in between.

“Love” can certainly be cliche’ these days, an overused term which has lost much of it’s true meaning to many people. The Love I speak about isn’t a heart on social media or a quick “love you!, smooches!!” to your gym acquaintance.

The Love I speak about creates a warming, calming, powerful feeling in the center of your chest. It’s a feeling I can conjure on demand at this stage in my life, when I center myself and focus on my connection to God, Source, universal entanglement.

The Love I speak of is a deeply spiritual energy which permeates my being and releases itself to my surroundings as quickly as I absorb it in. Creating this feeling takes time, practice, patience and more patience with practice…. Learning to truly be grateful for gifts currently in your life, and FEELING the blessing of these gifts.

If you’ve felt it, you know what I’m talking about, even if it was only once for a fleeting moment. If you’ve never felt this, you may well think I’m nuts, or making it up. I spent most of my adult life not feeling this, and only in the most powerful moments of life did I experience a sensation close to it.

The feeling I had when I was first married, when each of my daughters was held in my arms for the first time, in those rare instances when I catch the eye of my wife in just the right light, with the right energy. I spent most of my life voided of this feeling of Love and only in those rare instances did I feel this “strange” emotion I briefly described earlier.

Yet, Love and it’s power is within you and available to be unleashed should you choose. This may be the most powerful tool at our disposal. Once we learn to Love, and sit in the feeling of Love can we begin to fully engage in being in the moment, living in the now.

Taken a step further, learning to Love during every part of our day is where the rubber meets the road. From getting up in the morning, to doing laundry, creating reports at the office, sitting in traffic on the way to the office. Love is found when taking out the garbage, washing the car and even during an argument with you spouse, child or co-worker.

My youngest daughter has the assignment of vacuuming the house. The other day I asked her to vacuum and she griped she had just vacuumed two days ago!! Why does she have to do it again? It’s such a chore! I smiled at her and asked if she preferred to live in a place which didn’t have a floor which needed vacuuming.

Perhaps dirt floor hovel would be easier to care for. Perhaps we wouldn’t need to do the laundry if we had no clothes. If we didn’t have food to eat, we wouldn’t ever have to worry about cleaning the kitchen or emptying the dishwasher!

“Fine. Now your just guilt-tripping me!” declared my nine year old daughter as she went to grab the high powered, cordless vacuum. If only she had to use a vacuum with a cord… the horror!

The bottom line is this. Love is in our life, right now in this moment. I don’t care what’s happening this moment, how down you feel or how the world has been cruel. Love is in your life, in this very moment. Choosing to focus on the blessings, the daily miracles we experience yet often never realize.

I challenge you to find love in everything you do for a week straight. If you can’t find something to love about it, perhaps that aspect of your life should be changed or removed.