Soft and ready to receive
When our firstborn was six weeks old, we had a Superbowl party. I put her down for a nap in the bassinet, which was next to the TV. We were all impressed with how she slept through the din. But as soon as the TV was clicked off and the people left, she woke up.
And she wailed.
She cried like she’d never cried before. She refused the usual comforts of food, compassion, and cuddles. She was too upset to receive them.
Then I remembered something from an infant care book. Babies who seem inconsolable, it said, can be soothed by vigorous calming.
So, I put on some music, turned it up loud, held my baby firmly against my shoulder, and rocked her in 180-degree upper body twists to the quick tempo of Aretha Franklin’s “I Say a Little Prayer.”
It worked immediately. I slowed my rocking and lowered the music. Soon she was ready to eat and go to sleep for the night.
This is the memory that came to me as I meditated on the topic of receiving. One of my dear clients has had the intention to receive financial abundance, but more expenses have shown up instead.
“I must have a block,” she said, and asked me for some practices that might release it.
What’s the connection between my baby and my client?
The universe is your loving mother. You are in distress, and she is trying to give you what you want. But you have been giving so hard for so long, you’re caught in a feedback loop of stress.
You need vigorous calming before you can receive.
May the following exercises, dear client, help you calm and reset. Begin with whatever is most enticing, and then go back and forth between the journal prompts and the practices.
Journal prompts to identify your beliefs about receiving.
You may have a conscious desire to have more, but what does your subconscious believe about receiving? Investigate!
- How did your parents feel about your desire for things? Were they relaxed about it, like it’s normal and natural to want, or burdened and uncomfortable?
- Did you have younger or squeaky-wheel siblings whose needs usually came first?
- What were you explicitly taught about giving and receiving?
- Were you told, “It’s better to give than to receive”? When?
- How often were you told not to be selfish, greedy, or ungrateful? How did that feel?
- Gifts. How did your parents receive gifts? Were they relaxed and happy about receiving them? Or did they –
- Make a show of refusing before reluctantly accepting.
- Believe it implied an obligation and felt burdened by it.
- Show excessive gratitude that suggested they felt unworthy or undeserving.
- Compliments. How did your parents receive compliments? Were they relaxed and happy about them or treat them like hot potatoes – something to be quickly relieved of – by waving away, discounting (“This old thing? I got it on sale!”), or immediately returning?
Once you are aware of your programming – which I write about in “Put Away Childish Thinking” – you can choose to update it.
Practices to boost ability to receive.
Your giving/receiving system is stuck on give. Here are some exercises to wake up the receive mode.
- Receive without giving. Ask for things you want – a cup of coffee, a back scratch, a spa weekend – and resist the temptation to offer anything in return. Notice how giving is its own reward.
- Receive without saying thank you. For one day, ask for what you want and do not say thank you. Instead, smile and think, “Of course.” Notice the giver enjoy giving anyway.
- Go beyond your pleasure threshold. Let yourself receive “too much.” Stay with the feelings instead of pulling back.
- Abundance tally. At the end of the day, tally up in your journal everything you have received.
- Give away. Here’s one from Deepak Chopra: give away the thing you seek.
Allow feelings of discomfort as you do these exercises, and notice what stories come up. Investigate those stories in your journal.
It was such a pleasure on that Superbowl day to be able to soothe my stressed-out child – to feel her little body soften and become ready to receive the food and love I so wanted to give her! I hope these practices soften you, dear client, and unblock your capacity to receive the abundance the universe wants so much to give you.