This essay was originally written In September of 2014. I am still learning from these words.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to live in reciprocity; being in the flow of giving and receiving.
I’ve been looking at all the things I would like to live in reciprocity with.... the gifts I have to offer, the health of my body, nature, my relationships with people (family, friends), my community….
Living in reciprocity is not about living in a constant state of checks and balances, it's a surrender into the flow of receiving and generosity.
We each have gifts that are uniquely our own and uniquely needed. As I have explored in an earlier post gifts are not something to hold onto but something to give away. What good is a beautifully wrapped gift if sits alone in the back of the closet? But do not give with expectations or guilt....these are not the gifts of the martyr or for seeking approval.
Sadly I would say that we live in a culture that doesn’t encourage the giving of gifts, it encourages ‘success’. And so we must forge a path paved with courage and determination to make space for what we have to offer. The work of our hearts will extend through the work of our hands and into the hands and hearts of others. The exchange of our gifts from person to person is a great way to live in reciprocity.
Even the gifts themselves need to be given to and the more we give to them the more they give to us. The more we sit and give time to pen or cloth or metal or song the more will be born out of it. And the more we give our gifts to others the more we are nourished by their support... And the more we will inspire them to live into their own gifts. The more time we spend in the energy of our creative power the more we are connected to Source....And the more opportunities may arise that we maybe could not have even imagined.
BE GENEROUS WITH YOUR GIFTS.
In the flow of giving and receiving, allowing ourselves to receive is just as important as generously giving. We may have to re-asses our beliefs around receiving – I know I did.
As long as we are in the right environment we will grow. There is nourishment all around us, we might just need to start taking it in.
I see so many ways in which myself and others around me block the flow of receiving all the time. With compliments, with gifts, favors, or food. And I could see that every time I did that I was sending a message (out and in) that I wasn’t really interested in receiving…. that I did not deserve it. And so I stopped doing that. When someone makes a genuine offer I receive it. It’s more of an art than a science and I am still practicing… as I am sure I will be my whole life.
When I allow my receiving I allow their giving. We all know the feeling of giving a true compliment or wanting to offer help to someone only to have it deflected even though it would truly give us joy.
DON’T BLOCK THE FLOW people!
Creating more flow for giving and receiving is like adding more water to a stream - it becomes a river.
In order to live in reciprocity we need to have faith that we will be taken care of. We need to have faith so that when we are generous it comes fully from our heart with no expectation of return… because often it might come from a different person or place then from where we first gave… and actually that is a beautiful thing! It has been challenging for me to practice this as it goes against what we’ve been taught that we must re-‘pay’ people for what they give us. Of course this does not mean that we go around receiving from people and not giving back. But sometimes things line up that someone has a lot to offer us and it is a true gift for both for the exchange to happen. I’ve learned a lot in these moments about just opening my heart to receive, and knowing that I too am a generous person and that it will all come around at some point.
I look to nature to learn from, and I see that all around me things just grow.. they are supported by the things around them and they just grow… they grow and grow until they bloom and come into fruit….
Ask a gardener about the flow of giving and receiving and they will know. Just as real as the dirt under their finger nails they know that what they give to the earth comes back - in abundance.
What we fertilize grows. And that can be said for all areas of life… work, relationships, children…..
As we tend to nature it tends to us. We may feel that we are helping the plants as we prune and nurture but are they not actually teaching us about our own nature? How to bravely sprout into a delicate shoot, how to grow, how to bud, how to bloom, and seed and how to let go when the time is right. The more generously we give to the nature around us the more nature will give to us… this can be said for our own yards but also our communities and streams and provinces and countries and the Earth itself.
I think that one of the most incredible reciprocal relationships is the one we have with plants~ that they breathe so that we can breath and we breathe so that they can breath. And also to be the planter of a bulb that grows into a plant that then becomes a flower so beautiful it reminds us of the perfection of life. This is mind boggling perfect reciprocity!
LIVING IN RECIPROCITY:
Be in the flow. Give generously and receive gratefully.
Live with faith and gratitude alive in your heart and actions.
Honor nature - give thanks for all that we are given in nourishment, teachings and beauty.
This piece is an expression of living in reciprocity with nature. I love how it sings in silver about tree and sea, the chaos of nature in beautiful harmony. Available here