Giving & receiving, offering & taking

Today’s gift for your birthday-week gift basket is an e-book: Stories Dance on the Rainbow Bridge.
To download the ebook, click here.

I trust the twelve (true) stories in this collection will serve you in some way.
Each of them first appeared on my blog.

Writing them brought me delight, clarity and comfort.

Dip into them to nourish those qualities you want to cultivate in your heart.

Stories are soul food.
Share them with your beloveds.
Share your own stories, too.

Love, Hiro

 

This week, I had a visit from a dear friend who is in pain because the relationships in her family are fraught with anger and fear.

Power plays and the bitter stench of blame have contracted her heart.

She has a vision of family as sanctuary and support, as a safe haven of love and acceptance.
For much of her life, she has struggled to reconcile this vision with the truth of her relationships with her parents and siblings.

When she arrived at my home this weekend, her neck was buried in her shoulders, her body anxiously alert for any sign of disapproval or rejection.

That stance colors her world bruise-blue.
When she’s feeling not-enough, everything sounds, feels and smells like criticism to her.

She cannot receive love and acceptance, even though she longs for them — even though they are freely given.
She cannot take in simple pleasures — delight in a meal, a friendship, a quiet moment reading in the sun.

Armored against the shame and blame she carries in her body, every offering feels like an assault.
She is afraid to be herself.

She is afraid to take what’s offered because she fears it will hurt her.
She is afraid to receive what’s given because it might destroy her peace.

This isn’t always my friend’s relationship with her world.
She’s a playful, funny, creative woman who delights in art and music.
She dances a wicked salsa; she enjoys a wide circle of friends.

But that fear of disapproval, that jagged chip buried in her heart, makes her both needy and unable to ask for or receive what she needs.
It shrivels her self-confidence.
The ground under her feet feels unreliable.

We’ve all been there.
In that place of shame, we lose our discernment–
the clarity with which we know what serves us and what doesn’t.

What to say Yes to — those offerings that truly nourish our hearts.
What to say No to — gifts that diminish us into a truncated version of ourselves.

It isn’t always easy to tell the difference.
Not when your own pain distorts or inflames your vision.

Truth doesn’t come bearing dessert and roses.
It is more muscular — more nourishing.

We are interdependent beings.
Communion — deep truth, deep love, deep connection — is our sacrament.

Giving and receiving are the threads in which the pattern of our relationships is woven–
the silk of offering, the gold of taking.

To know how to choose, and what, and when
to give, to receive — freely and fully
to offer without demand, to take without shame or obligation–

this is the wholeness we seek.
This is the wholeness we are.

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