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A Lesson in Receiving


For many of us the act of receiving is a challenge. We are so gifted at doing and giving, sometimes, to the point of exhaustion, we forget the joy in receiving.  The art of receiving is something I am working on as I get older.  I am learning that it is good to receive.  It allows others a chance to give to us and it allows us a chance to regroup.

A few months ago, I started practicing yoga.  I am not a stranger to yoga but I have not had a regular practice in a long time.  This past week, my nearest and dearest and I went on vacation with my parents.  “Let’s take a yoga class together”, my nearest and dearest suggested.  I was excited to take a class with him and even more so when I found out it would just be the 2 of us in the class.

Around the same time we had our yoga class, my parents had massage appointments.  We were excited for my dad to get a massage but he needed extra help both before and after the massage.  We had made the plan that my nearest and dearest would help my dad get ready for his massage before our yoga session and when my dad was done the therapist would come get us so we could help him after.  It was a great plan on paper.  But as they say ‘the best laid plans…’

Dad was done with his massage about 15 minutes into our yoga session so my nearest and dearest ducked out mid downward dog to get my dad and hang with him until my mom was done with her massage. I continued the yoga class solo, trying to embrace the gift of time and peace that my nearest and dearest was giving me.  Soon my dad had joined us in the yoga room where there were comfy couches so he could hang and relax watch us do yoga.  My nearest and dearest jumped back in and tried to catch up to our yoga practice.  We quickly realized that this plan wasn’t going to work, because dad wanted to move around and chat.  He didn’t want to be quiet and watch us stretch.  Without blinking an eye my nearest and dearest jumped up and said, “Enjoy yourself, I got this” as he ushered Dad out of the room.

At first I struggled, with the time my husband had given me.  “He is my dad, my responsibility, I shouldn’t be enjoying myself while my husband shoulders the burden”, I thought to myself. But then I thought, “No, he is giving you this time. Take it.”  So I did. I stretched and breathed and gathered insights from the yoga instructor. I trusted that my nearest and dearest was taking care of dad and ok with everything.  I had an amazing time.  As my nearest and dearest and I walked back to our room I thanked him for that time.  And he gave me a big smile and said, “Thank you for taking it.  I wanted you to enjoy the class and I am glad you did.”

Our first impulse is to power through, to not take time, to not allow others to help.  But all that does is build anxiety and resentment.   When we can allow others to give to us, when we can accept help and share the burden life opens up a little bit.  Anxiety becomes less and resentment is non existent. This week pay attention to how often you don’t accept someone’s offer to help and then practice the art of receiving.

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