Thursday, March 20, 2008

Carla called and we had a great conversation this morning about a lot of things; among them the issue of giving vs. "taking." A big giver all her life, now she's in the awkward position of needing help from others. It's so much more comfortable for most of us to be in the role of the helper rather than the helpee.

I am interested in the internal gesture of becoming receptive. Receiving is the feminine principle and doesn't come naturally to us in this culture. We are so oriented towards "doing" and as women towards "doing for someone (else.)"

I think all of America needs to learn to receive.

Not to take--we take enough, God knows, from the earth and from the labor of others. But to truly receive what we have, to open to it, to make a space around it, to welcome it in, to appreciate it, to savor it--we could use more of that. Without that receiving quality we're all just a bunch of hungry ghosts, clamoring for "more, more, more" while piles of unopened gifts lie scattered at our feet.

I talk as if I knew how to do this. I don't. It hasn't been until C that certain kinds of intimate receiving have become comfortable--or even possible--for me. It's because in receiving we become vulnerable and I trust my absolute safety with him.

I know that if there's no receiving, there can be no relationship (perhaps this is why we are so lonely.) It's like what Alice Walker wrote in The Color Purple (I'm paraphrasing here.) "I think God gets pissed off if we walk by the color purple and don't even notice."

Carla, you notice. Artists always notice, but now you notice more than ever. Now I see you opening up and receiving. Not just the colors of flowers, but the colors of the souls of the people who surround you. May you continue to receive that more and more and more. May you be blessed to receive all the colors of the subtle vibrations of this world, the intentions, questions, love and heartbreak as well as the amazing natural phenomena that surround us. And when you receive us, you gift us. You give us back to ourselves. It's what we always wanted.


Anonymous said...

nice commentary on receiving. what i have recently received is the latest edition of The Sun and read your story "War of Words." well done! thanks for giving. :)

Valleybee said...

I just shared this with my friend, Mary, who just had surgery and is relying on friends and finding that difficult. Thank you for expressing this so beautifully.

Carla Zilbersmith said...

damn you getting me crying again. I receive you and cherish your friendship. It's like a glowing ember inside me.

Ruth said...

I'm about to read "War of Words" and looked you up on the inside front cover and came here first. It's nice to "meet" a writer before embarking on the first journey with them.

I think one reason I have problems receiving is that I don't want to be perceived as being in someone's debt. I'd rather be perceived as their being in my debt. I'd like to get past the debt thing and be alert to the giving and receiving and act on either as they come. Clean, no judgment.

Alison said...

I'm thinking, that we all owe enormous unpayable debts, to our parents, to the Creator, or whatever you call God or Dharma or Spirit--to the world. We're in debt from the moment we draw our first breath. And maybe it's the way in which we accept that fact--having the courage to face it with humility and gratitude, rather than denial--which determines our quality of life.

(I'm aware that the above may sound a bit Christian--I'm Jewish--but I don't mean in any way that we are in debt because our parents had sex, or because we have inherently sinful natures. I just mean this whole thing is a big priceless gift.)