|Ask and you shall....|
I'm not entirely sure why I chose it. It just felt right. Perhaps I need to be a little more open, to take in, to ask for help (A-S-K to G-E-T), to pay closer attention, to slow down. You can't receive if you are distracted, if your hands are busy and your heart is closed, if you refuse to be imperfect, if you are arrogant, if you are fearful. To receive, you must be open and ready and brave.
And to create, you must receive. You must be open to something larger than yourself. You must take in inspiration. You must read and think and watch movies and talk and cook and listen, to drink in other people's brilliance so you can distill it into your own unique contribution. You cannot create from a place of emptiness. You must always be filling the well. To give, you must first receive.
I didn't make any resolutions this year. It seems to me resolutions are false promises we feel obligated to make, vehicles for later use as examples of our weakness or failure. As I thought about the things I wanted to improve in my life, areas I wanted to change -- fairly common ones, like losing weight, and wanting to be a better parent to my kids, and wasting less time -- I realized I was focusing on what I was lacking, being critical of myself, finding ways to make sure I didn't measure up. Instead, this year, I would like to receive. Receive kindness and acceptance and abundance and love. Receive wisdom and help and gifts and good fortune.
I don't want to lose weight because I feel bad about myself and feel I don't measure up to an arbitrary and impossible standard. I want to get stronger and more powerful in my body, to have my best health, to feel good in my body and in my clothes, not to satisfy other people's judgments. What I really do not want is to feel deprived. If I think about dieting, it immediately becomes about what I cannot have, what I must withhold. So I want to think about receiving when it comes to my body. I don't want to "lose" weight, I want to "receive" health and strength. I want to eat foods that make me feel good, that help me receive energy, and sometimes even comfort. I want my body to be a gift I accept rather than a failing with which I lash myself.
As a parent, I was berating myself for being impatient and irritable, being too busy, for yelling, for being inconsistent. Instead, I would like to receive calm and humor; to receive wisdom and love for--and from--my kids; to receive forgiveness, for their faults and especially my own. I would like to receive my own acceptance of all the things I do right. I read a post about the fact that kids remember the donut, not the hole; in other words, they see what you do give, not what you don't. I want to give them lots of big fat delicious donuts of time and love, and to receive the joy of doing so.
As for productivity, it is so easy to look around at the mess and piles and clutter and to-do lists and feel like I'm failing. It's easy to shame myself for wasting time on tv or games or magazines or internet. It's easy to call myself lazy and weak-willed. Instead, I would like to receive acceptance and tolerance for my attempts to restore my spirit when I'm drained from a full day of work. I would like to receive clarity about what really restores my spirit and what numbs it, and to receive an ease for moving toward what heals me. I would like to receive approval and recognition for all the hard work I do every day. And I would like to receive the ability to discern what really matters and what list should be just crumpled up and thrown in the trash happily unfinished.
The most beautiful thing about the word receive is that it feels like something or someone outside of myself is bestowing that thing upon me. A gift. As if the thing I want already exists, is ripe and ready and waiting for me, and I simply have to accept it. It's right there, I just need to open my hands and take it. No working for it, no striving, just opening. Receiving.
And that's the truth, isn't it? It's right there. All of it. It always has been. It's time I finally start receiving it.