Giving and Receiving are reciprocal waveforms that are essential for life itself. Our ability to act in both capacities shapes our physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual well being.
The art of giving and receiving reveals the simple joy of the universe loving itself. This dynamic continuum of ebb and flow is visible at both the cellular level as well as in the cosmological realms. This creative equilibrium encourages natural systems to thrive while the exclusion of either stream will lead to a system’s disintegration. Our own sense of wholeness can be found at that liminal place where our desire to give is matched by our willingness to receive. Let’s explore how the elements can help us to participate in this sacred dance as we enhance our personal commitment to love and accept our own life.
Earth, my Body
Our planet is teaming with living beings that draw upon a shared nutrient pool. Plant and animal bodies are created for finite life cycles and are eventually given back to the soil and sea. Perhaps more than our physical survival depends upon this nourishment we harvest from earth’s bounty. Can we slow down enough to consciously receive our food and wonder if our daily exchange with the earth is balanced? What if giving thanks not only opens our hearts but also creates the very state that optimizes our absorption at the cellular level? Our lives change when we move beyond the simple habit of just taking a meal and begin to participate in fully receiving the energy we are transforming into flesh and bone. Our vitality significantly shifts as well when we become conscious of the foods we select to replenish our soul’s home, our body.
Water, my Blood
The waters of life…sacred springs…river of tears…amniotic cradle. We deeply understand the connection between water, waves of emotion and energy in motion. To feel is to feel everything, to be moved. Sometimes we no longer know what we are truly feeling because we hold our emotions frozen beneath the threshold of awareness. Yet we become lost if we allow our emotional streams to dry up, as we no longer receive their inner guidance. Intimacy fades too, when we lose our ability to give the truth of our heart to another. Defenses are not selective. If we shut down, we shut out our joy as well as our pain. Embracing the courage to stay vulnerable in the face of intensity restores our capacity to feel what is happening in this moment. We become available for connection by trusting our emotional and sensory channels for giving and receiving.
Air, my Breath
Every breath we take fills our lungs with gases expelled by other living beings. Our green allies appreciate our expelled carbon dioxide and we gratefully inhale their offerings of oxygen. This exchange often takes place beneath the threshold of our awareness yet we can choose to develop a practice of conscious breathing. We can learn to invite airflow into our bellies and to feel a breath wave move up along our spine. We can choose to notice where we say yes to life and allow our breath to move our body. Our body will reveal what parts we are afraid to feel because they won’t move when we breathe. Wherever we have locked down, we have inhibited our ability to oxygenate that tissue as well as to receive our body’s wisdom that is stored there. Let us give our body the attention it deserves through deep listening and compassion thereby restoring our capacity to receive inner guidance. The roots for inhalation and inspiration (breath and spirit) are shared in multiple languages. How might our lives change if we blessed each in-breath with gratitude and infused our exhalations with the spirit of gift giving?
Fire, my Spirit
It is through our ongoing commitment to our heart’s desire that we give life to our dreams. We can choose to enliven our life’s work with a playfully creative spirit or we can watch it diminish through neglect until each day becomes a draining routine. If our inner light dims, it is time to turn inward and give our selves some time for reflection. We can commune with nature, meditate, do qigong, exercise, create, dance, celebrate in community or go on a silent retreat. As we give ourselves the time and space to revive our passions, it’s important to attend to the birth of that spark. Feel how its energy flows and give it permission to fully express itself. Notice if it arises from your dantien/hara, pelvic bones, womb, heart, throat or hands. Whether it feels like we generate our own fire or that we are like a cauldron that receives it, let us glow with the sense of living our life purpose. When we are living our passion, every day gives us another opportunity to make a difference as we share the flames of our heart in action.
It is when we choose to show up for our own life that we feel we have something genuine to give. It is by daring to shine our full light that we illuminate the gifts we were born with. Our power flows from congruence between all parts of our self and our conscious choice to give voice to all aspects is required for our wholeness. Our embodied presence is the most powerful gift we can accept as our birthright and we get to share it unconditionally with others.
Let’s fill ourselves with gratitude for our blessings of nourishment and trust how our feelings move us as we intentionally open to the inspiration that kindles the flames of our passion.
When we are willing to give what we are willing to receive and we are willing to receive what we are willing to give - then we know Love. (Chinese proverb)
Sharon McCarthy, Wisewoman Healer, WHQ practitioner and Teacher Training co-coordinator