It’s the holidays… gift-giving season! The tradition of giving during this time of year is so ingrained in our culture that it’s become part of our language: “as happy as a kid on Christmas morning.”
But what about the rest of the year? And what about giving our energy – our time and our talents – instead of merely strolling into a store and buying a present? And – so often overlooked – what about giving the gift of allowing people to give to us? Because often the greatest joy we can give is allowing someone else to give back.
Giving and receiving necessarily constitute a flow of energies – the yin and the yang. We can’t have one without the other. But all too frequently, those who give without a second thought have great difficulty receiving. And if you can give, but you can’t graciously or easily receive, you are blocking that energy as surely as if you take, take, take… but never give. Similarly, if you are accustomed to receiving but do not give easily, whom can you call upon in time of need? The energies are too far out of balance; who will be there for you, if you are seldom there for them?
Back in the 1990s, I encountered a health crisis. My pattern had always been to give more than I received. I was a bona fide giver. But I was less able to receive. So when I had my crisis, I was unable to allow anyone to help me. I felt it would be a burden to those who cared for me and loved me, so I was determined to handle it myself.
What a huge lesson and turning point for me! I remember lying in the hospital bed, listening to Judge Judy on TV. (Judge Judy was not my favorite, but my roommate’s. And as usual, I was unable to assert my wishes above hers.) I was surrounded by beautiful floral arrangements and gifts from my friends. I was amazed how many people genuinely cared and were there for me. And then, I had an “aha!” moment – I was out of balance! I would feel horrible if people would not let me be there for them, yet that’s exactly what I was doing!
So what is your pattern? Are you balanced in your giving and receiving? Are you giving to yourself and others? Are you receiving joyfully, giving thanks for what is being “gifted” to you? Now is the time for truthful and authentic reflection. Are you genuinely giving and receiving, filling your heart and hearts of others? Just notice! Where are you as a result of your choices? Are you taking responsibility for your experiences?
My experiences have taught me I must take care of myself first, so that I have the energy and ability to care for others. I’ve learned to take time to connect… connect with Spirit, connect with nature and connect with those I love. By doing so, I flow with the delicate balance of energies every day.
I challenge you to take inventory, and give yourself the greatest gift of all this holiday season… awareness! Because once you are aware of that flow in your life, you can choose to direct it instead of just living it.