We’ve all heard “it’s better to give than to receive.” I disagree with that adage, somewhat…
What it ignores is that in order to give there must be a receiver, too. I think it’s important to be good at both.
What does it take to be a good receiver?
- You must be open to receiving. Didn’t it feel great to receive a wonderful present that was right on target? Tap into that feeling.
- You must be clear about what you want. If your heart’s desire is to become a garbage collector, firmly set that as your intention. It’s about what you want, not worrying at all about what anyone in the world, living or dead, might think about your desire.
- “Want” and “need” are not four-letter-words! They both express desire for something different in our lives. You may be able to diminish the power of your desires over your life, but I don’t think you can eliminate them entirely. To want something is perfectly human.
- You might want to clear out some clutter, to make room for something new. Whether you need to clear your mind, or your office, or your garage, if you’re full to the gills there’s not room for something you really want to come to you. (We just moved and loaded four 30-yard dumpsters full of accumulated stuff. And I want/need to get rid of more!)
- Say “thank you!” with enthusiasm. It’s the only payback required. And in giving thanks you become a giver in the multi-dimensional experience. You get to be both a receiver and a giver. (I still like to write and snail-mail thank-you notes, handwritten.)
In this I think Thanksgiving has it better than Christmas. (Raised as a Christian, I don’t feel qualified to comment on other December traditions such as Hanukkah or Kwanza.) Thanksgiving is about giving “thanks” for all that we have, all that we have received.
What does this have to do with conscious aging? Many people have led lives more as givers. As one ages, hopefully consciously, one often needs more assistance than ever before. It’s an opportunity to practice becoming a good receiver. And it’s good to be a practiced giver and a practiced receiver.