Why We’ve Got It So Wrong About Giving and Receiving

Give to receive.

This is a beatitude, some would say a platitude. It is a Universal Law. It is common sense.

Reciprocity. The Circle of Life. I scratch your back, you scratch mine. Water a plant and watch it grow.

We may say we believe this, that we know it to be true; yet, as we go through our lives, we often see the opposite in practice. Some willfully choose not to practice reciprocity, but I believe most of us don’t understand it in the first place.

Discussions on this wisdom tend to focus on the giving aspect. Don’t be selfish–give. If you want to be blessed in your life, give. Give give give give give.

What about receiving?

Well, giving is the active principle here, right? Receiving is passive, right? So if we give, the receiving will just happen…? Nope.

The way in which we discuss this simple truth reveals the reason why we aren’t experiencing it in our lives.

We don’t know how to receive.

And honestly, we don’t know how to give either.

Looking at human history from the perspective of spiritual development, we can see that, as a species, we were moving through the third chakra–the personal power chakra. In other words, we have been concerned with understanding our power and learning how to use it on our environment. The monotheistic revolution, the scientific revolution, the industrial revolution, the technological revolution…

During this stage, we have prioritized our masculine energies and suppressed our feminine energies. We wanted to see how much power we can have, how much we can achieve. We’ve achieved a lot, to be sure, but at the same time, we’ve caused a lot of damage because we ignored the universal law of reciprocity.

In the pursuit of power, we have given. We have given our bodies, our time, our minds. But how many of us have given authentically? How many of us have given our true gifts?

The saying goes, “As you give, so shall you receive.”

If we give who we truly are, we will receive the blessings that are meant for us.

If, however, we give from a place of inauthenticity, we will receive likewise.

Also, because we have collectively devalued our feminine energies, we have forgotten how to receive. Actually, we have closed ourselves off from receiving.

What we have done on the collective level, we have also done on the individual level. We have divided our whole selves into superior and inferior aspects. Because we are so interested in exercising our personal power, we fabricate identities and lives that match a preferred image.

Yet we’ve found that this doesn’t really work. We try to control what cannot be controlled. We have broken from our true selves, and the result is illness–physical, mental, spiritual.

When we mistake this broken fabrication for our true selves, we give from this state of falseness and thus cannot receive the gifts that are meant for our true selves.

If we are living a lie, we push away what we are meant to receive because it scares this false self. If we are open to receive our truth, then the false self will be destroyed. We will necessarily see that we’ve been living wrongly and hurting ourselves–and by extension, the world.

They say, “It’s better to give than to receive,” but the truth is that both happen at the same time.

Receiving is a lot scarier than giving, because receiving requires us to acknowledge that our power isn’t everything. Receiving is surrendering control, which is also exactly how we need to give.

We give and receive by being our true selves.

When we give of ourselves, what it is in us to give, by doing what we are naturally designed to do…then we receive what we need to continue giving and doing.

This is the basis of faith and trust.

It’s not a promise of a comfortable life in which we always have the answers, but it is the path of a meaningful life.

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In the last several decades, we have begun moving collectively into a new developmental stage–the heart chakra. We are seeing a return of value to feminine energies. The desire for wholeness and health are pulling us up.

The time is ripe for stepping into our authentic paths. As each of us does so, we make the world a better place for all of us.

It’s time to stop trying to control everything. We only end up making messes we can’t clean up.

It’s time to be ourselves authentically, give ourselves completely, and receive ourselves gratefully.

It’s time to live from the heart. It’s time to love.

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Dreams Come True When We Show That We Want Them To

Our dreams really can come true.

They are meant to. That’s why we have them in the first place.

The idea is so huge, so grandiose; it sounds like an impossible feat. But everything can be accomplished one step at a time.

When our hearts reveal their desires to us, we are tasked with manifesting those desires. The things we truly want, the Universe wants us to have. As we set out to make our dreams come true, we work with the natural energies of the world, or Divine will. We are responsible for our destinies, but we’re not alone in making them happen.

Sometimes we feel cut off and alone because we aren’t doing what we truly want. Of course, we’re not meant to do exactly our favorite thing every minute, but we are meant to do the work that fulfills us. That’s what the Divine wants for us. That’s what the world requires from us.

The work we are meant to do isn’t always our job, so we needn’t get caught up on that idea. For some, their lives’ work is what they do in their “spare time.”

Our destinies aren’t something to get anxious about. Too often, we keep ourselves stuck by trying to look too far in the future.

Living our authentic lives starts exactly where we are right now. What does your heart want right now?

Stepping into your authentic path is just that: a step. Often, what life asks you to do at first looks pretty small. Because it’s so small, we often dismiss its tug on our hearts. On the other hand, it may be something big, so big it would turn your world upside down.

It could be anything. The thought of it might excite or terrify you. You know what it is, though.

Maybe it’s a religion or spirituality you’re curious about. Maybe it’s a hobby that appeals to you. Maybe it’s a place that holds wonder for you. Maybe it’s a social cause that breaks your heart. Maybe it’s a person who intrigues you.

If it’s something you’ve denied yourself, it will poke at you. The mention of it will elicit a reaction from you.

One thing is for sure: Your life will be better if you step toward your heart’s calling.

It might mean buying a book or a plane ticket. It might require taking a class or joining a group.

You can’t plan for how it will change your life, but you can trust that your true self knows what’s best.

So what are you waiting for?

The next time you feel a poke from your heart’s desire, don’t tell it to be quiet. Say yes to it. Whether you take a small step or a giant leap of faith, just say yes.

Say yes and show that you’re ready for your dreams to come true. Dreams don’t respond well to no. Dreams come true for those who have faith and trust–and who live by them.

Do you have faith? Do you know that your dreams can come true?

What’s the very next thing you would do if you did?

How Meaning Is Made

The question that has bothered humanity since the beginning of consciousness–and that inspires my life’s work–is “Why?”

Why are we here? What does it all mean?

We can answer all the other questions just fine–Who? What? When? Where? How? And yet the why of it all drives us mad if we let it, if we see the lack of a clear answer as uncertainty. Uncertainty leads to insecurity, which leads to fear, which very often leads to violence in some form or other. But the why is not uncertain. It is mysterious.

Over the millennia, we have created countless traditions that seek and revel in mystery. Call them wisdom, philosophy, religion, spiritual path, or whatever you will. They feed our souls and fill the void that no amount of knowledge could ever fill. At the end of the day, our beliefs are what give our lives meaning.

But what is meaning and how do we make it?

Meaning is truth created by the connection of beings through shared language.

For example, you read a book or a poem or an essay that feels like it was written specifically for you. The writer perfectly describes your experience even though you’ve never met. They’ve said it, you’ve read it, and now it’s become truth in your life. You share your new truth with your friends and family, and if it is true for them, your bond grows more meaningful.

That’s how faith traditions work. We are drawn to the truth communicated in language that makes sense to us as individuals and communities. Certain words, gestures, and practices are meaningful because they give us peace in the presence of “Why?”

The thing is, those certain words, gestures, and practices are not the same for everyone. But the end goal is.

Thus far I have sought the truth in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Wicca and other pagan paths, metaphysics, and Yoga… and I’ve found that every spiritual path I’ve encountered, at its heart, teaches the same wisdom. We’re all going to the same place; we just have different ways of getting there.

So what’s the answer? What’s the truth? What does it all mean?

We make the meaning.

Whether you see God as a person, as energy, as emptiness, as one or many or none–the truth is. The Truth comprises all of our truths. We make it. It takes all of us.

For me, everything is meaningful. Every relationship, every event, every choice, every breath. I take my responsibility for meaning making very seriously and also very joyfully.

I believe we are here to learn, to grow, to explore, to experiment, to love, to wonder, to play, to live and to die. And that really is the why it of all.

Remember when you were a kid and your parents made you do something you didn’t understand or didn’t want to do? You’d ask, “Why?” and they’d say, “Because.” It’s frustrating, and it’s probably the truest thing ever.

I believe in a divine design, and we each have a part to play in its unfolding. God is in everything, and we are in God. That’s why it is so important for all of us to live out our authentic paths and purposes.

Together as a species, as a planet, as a universe, as life itself, as the divine–we are growing and creating. Maybe it’s toward something, maybe it’s just because. That’s the mystery. That’s the meaning. We’re making it up as we go.

Your life is meaningful. It matters that you grow into the person you are meant to be.

As each flower blooms, the garden becomes more beautiful.

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty”–that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
–John Keats, “Ode on a Grecian Urn”