By Danie Davis
The common phrase of “there is always give and take” just doesn’t sit well with me anymore. I will explain why.
In the last couple of weeks or so, the idea of receiving has popped up in various ways that has changed my perspective. It has caused me to stop and reflect on that word, what it means and why it is different from “taking.” In my pondering, I have had several moments where nature has taught me a few things that I would like to share.
Yesterday, a small thunderstorm rolled in and there was a light drizzle of rain, and my family and I sat outside and enjoyed the storm. After the rain stopped, my husband told me that before it started raining, it was like the grass, trees, and flowers were in patient anticipation for the rain that was about to fall. Then, after it rained the plants rejoiced in what they received.
The word “receive” caught my attention and I thought about how right he was. The plant life doesn’t take the rain that falls. It receives and then rejoices. My thoughts have kept dwelling on this concept and I have gained a couple of more examples from nature.
A tree, for example, doesn’t take the sunlight that is readily available. It instead receives the sunlight, and there is no less light when it does receive. The tree rejoices from what it has received, and with that light, it grows and gives back to the world in its own way. A tree does the same with the air surrounding it and the water that gives it nourishment from below.
Another example comes from the bird feeder hanging from a tree in my backyard, because I love watching birds. This afternoon, while I sat in my patio chair and watched the birds come to the bird feeder, I realized that they were receiving what I had put there just for them. All they had to do to receive it was to show up at the bird feeder and eat. They chirped happily and bounced from branch to branch around the feeder, and I felt such joy knowing what I gave was being received.
From my pondering and joyful moments with nature, I have come to learn that receiving has a feel to it that is vastly different than the feel of “taking.” Receiving feels like being open, selfless, joyful, and purely grateful. There is an acknowledgment of abundance when one receives, while “taking” seems to be linked to the idea of scarcity, selfishness, fear, and greed.
Just like I have learned how to breathe in joy, I am now learning how to breathe in receiving. It has been a neat experience so far, and I am trying to make some personal shifts where this topic is concerned.
A friend of mine recently stated the perspective of how we need to not just be givers by doing, doing, doing.
Rather, we need to have that balance of being a giver and a receiver. This made me ponder on how true that is and that I want to be both of these things.
This balance is so important because with it we are able to do and be more.
Let’s go back to the example of a tree to illustrate this balance. A tree that receives light and water is a tree that can grow.
As it grows it has the capacity to give more and receive more. This balance is beautiful and right and joyous. It is a pattern that I can see in many different ways.
One more thing I want to mention is the balance of receiving and giving within human relationships. I find myself asking, “Do I allow myself to be received by others when I authentically offer myself? Do I receive others – not just their actions and loving intentions – but truly receive them in a way that they feel like they belong and are accepted? How does this balance of giving and receiving work in my relationships?” (Serve Daily submission.)