White and grey cloud shines through the gap. All around the branches and leaves are dark and still. A gentle breeze begins to flow. Around the edges slender drooping branches waver in the wind. The longest branches bob. The leaves vibrate and shimmer. Quiet whispering accompanies the wavering. For a moment the gap sings with life and movement. Wet leaves waver in the wind. The gentle breeze disappears. Now only a few leaves vibrate in the barely noticeable cool autumn breeze.
Your Healing From An Inability To Give And Receive
In the English-speaking world, a cool breeze is freezing the people's wallets. We live in an incredibly affluent society, yet meanness and miserliness are rife. How many of us turn charity collectors away when they knock at our door or approach us in the streets? They only want a few pence, yet some people think, "No I can't afford it."
Paradoxically it is often those with the most money who have the greatest problem in being generous. Poorer people have, in my experience, a greater understanding of the need to share. Why are we so mean and miserly when we have so much? The answer is because we are afraid that if we are generous we will not have enough for ourselves.
Meanness is born of fear.
It is not only charity collectors who suffer from our meanness; it's our partners, our friends, relatives, and employees, indeed everyone with whom we come into contact. So many of us are simply plain miserable when it comes to giving of our time, money and interest in the service of others.
How many times when we are engaged in a conversation do we give of ourselves to be interested in the other person's hobbies, passions and life story? How many times when we leave a shop after being served do we say thank-you? How many times do we say thank-you for a lovely meal and complement the staff, after we have eaten at a restaurant or caf ?
Meanness doesn't just apply to money; it applies to our whole life.
Being generous is important. When we are generous we are free. It is completely natural for us to be generous, open, loving and giving. When we are miserable we are crippling ourselves as well as others.
I remember when I worked as a management consultant I was told by the managing director of a company that his staff were always pressing him for a pay rise. He also said his staff were discontented. He asked me to find out why.
I had private meetings with each member of staff. I asked each person to list in order of priority what he or she wanted from his or her boss. I expected them to put more pay top of their list. I was wrong. Top of the list they put more appreciation!
On further enquiry I discovered that their boss hardly ever appreciated anything that was done in the business. I was also told he never missed commenting critically when something went wrong. When they were asking for more pay, what they were really saying was, "Why don't you appreciate us more?"
Over lunch the boss asked me what I had found out. I could tell he was a little nervous of the answer. When I told him the result of my enquiry he was genuinely shocked. He was simply unaware he was behaving in such a mean and miserable way and vowed to change his approach.
Our inner mentor encourages generosity. I am inspired to give freely. Giving as I am guided, freely and abundantly, takes me beyond my selfish little desires and awakens love in my heart. Sometimes I am able to develop giving, into a creative relationship of mutual giving and receiving. What is given and received is not always the same, but is a creative relationship that is mutually enhancing.
For example I used to do woodland work for a local charity. This involved hopping on a minibus, driving out into a woodland area and doing conservation work. However it didn't last long. I was not being supported in this work. I could not make friends with the people I was working with. The whole experience felt dead.
Today I still do voluntary conservation work in woodland. I even pay for my own transport to and from the conservation area. The difference is that the person I work with has become a good friend. I bring my own lunch and eat with him in his home. We have great chats about life. When he works in the woods I carry his equipment, lift and lay logs and plant trees all for free. Sometimes I'm invited to stay for tea and look at the stars through his telescope. This creative relationship is at the heart of my current voluntary work and I love it.
Many of us also find difficulty in receiving the help and support we need and deserve. We may find ourselves in relationships where giving has become a duty or obligation. We give out of guilt because we feel we should.
If you are in a relationship where you give out of a sense of guilt and where giving has lost its spontaneity, perhaps your relationship has become unbalanced. You may be doing most of the giving and providing most of the support but are not receiving what you need in return. It is vital to know that you deserve support and appreciation. When I find myself in such a relationship I discuss the balance of giving and receiving with my partner, friend or employer, to make sure that my needs will be understood and met. If the relationship continues to be unbalanced after a number of such discussions, I would begin to review the relationship and reassess the role it plays and the value it has in my life.
When we are able to give and receive in this way we feel our creative power. This is because we are supporting life and being supported by it. We are called to give more to our creative relationships. Our gifts become buried treasure that we offer to create abundance for everyone. We know that by giving more to our creative relationships, we are really giving more to ourselves. I invite you to give and receive, create relationships and find yourself in the ever-growing embrace of the radiant inner swan.
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