The holiday season is upon us. The previous days and weeks have been a worldwide phenomenon of manufacturing and buying stuff, an obsession that keeps corporations healthy. Now, we have arrived at a more challenging, yet enriching holiday tradition:
The process of receiving, whether, gifts, a hug, or a savory, nutritious meal, focuses the limelight on us, the receiver. It is easy to deflect, to focus on textures, flavors, and colors, to try to shine the light on the gifts or the giver. But that’s not what the beautifully wrapped gift or thoughtfully presented meal is saying. “I invested time, money, effort, and skill in appreciation of you.” “I love you.” “I honor our relationship.”
Responding with, “The broccoli was nice” or “this is beautiful wrapping paper.” Not only misses the point. It also delivers the subtle message, “I do not accept the appreciation, the sense of belonging you have offered to me.” By not honoring the intention behind the gift, we are reinforcing a wall of separation between us. Every meal or complement is all about who you are to the giver. Receiving with heartfelt appreciation builds relationship and strengthens harmony.
Every time you receive, try taking several seconds to feel the act of receiving as appreciation, upliftment. If you feel uncomfortable receiving, it is easy to deflect, to focus on some aspect of the gift or the giver. Yet, it is such a huge opportunity to step fully into the mixture of honor and pain. Really, take some time to feel what you are feeling as you receive. Community lives in the heart, not the head.
You might feel, “I don’t deserve.” “I’m angry from an old argument and can’t let go.” “I should have bought a better gift.” Or “I don’t even want this.” Receive every offering as an opportunity to get to know yourself, to allow old wounds to heal, or to accept deeply that you are appreciated and connected.
Receiving is also an opportunity to appreciate the host, the giver, the caroler, or the cook for the warmth and connectedness you feel. The simple act of feeling your heart when receiving strengthens relationships and uplifts mood. Your heartfelt appreciation is the true bounty of receiving. Whatever you express while feeling appreciation will shine with love. Everyone is uplifted.
It doesn’t take the holidays to appreciate and uplift. Every time someone holds a door open for you, smiles at you, or in any way makes a small effort to honor or appreciate you, feel it deep in your heart: The pain and the love. Then feel the appreciation well up from within you.
You uplift the world every time you notice and feel acts of kindness.