The Seasons of Self Receiving the Abundance of Life

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by Lynn Woodland

The late summer season is a time of fulfillment: everywhere we look, gardens are producing a perfection of ripening crops and burgeoning flowers. Soon it will all be gone, but now nature is a feast. With the darkening of fall so close and the heat of summer so present, this time of year urges us to appreciate the moment; to “be” rather than strive, to live in the fullness of what is and be grateful.

I always experience a kind of stillness toward the end of summer. The expansive growth of spring and summer has spread outward nearly to its limit and then, in August, everything seems to stop for a moment as energy, set all in one direction for nearly half a year, approaches a turning point. In the creative process, it’s akin to the final completion of a project, right before the empty letdown that sometimes precedes the beginning of the next one. By contrast, the stillness of late winter is a time of living empty and pregnant with possibility right before bursting into new growth. Late summer is a time for living full. Chinese medicine relates this time of year to “grounding” and digesting. It’s not enough to work hard and produce a successful metaphorical crop. For health and wellbeing, we also need the capacity to be present in the moment, to be in touch with the earth around us, and to take in and digest the fruits of our labor. We need to be willing to receive.

Receiving is a key, yet often overlooked, aspect of empowerment. It’s easy to become so fixed on the goal and the process of achieving that we forget to be receptive. We may even unconsciously deflect what we most want without realizing it. When we feel burned out, that we’re doing too much alone, or that our efforts are greater than the rewards and we’re somehow missing out on the joy of life, we may be forgetting to receive.

It’s an easy thing to forget. Our culture is extremely goal-oriented and therefore future-oriented. Consequently, many of us have this tendency ingrained to some extent. We might think that our happiness depends upon achieving certain external outcomes such as a successful career, lots of money, the perfect relationship or a nice house, and postpone happiness to achieve our goal. We tell ourselves that we’ll get our reward later. And, while we may succeed in getting our external goals, we may never experience the happiness we hoped for. By the time we reach one goal we may have already formulated the next one and skip right over the joy of having arrived because we’re so focused on how far we still have to go.

Receiving isn’t simply about accepting what we want when we want it, on our own terms. We often think we have no problem with receiving -- it’s just that what we want hasn’t shown up yet! We hold out for the big prizes while deflecting dozens of small gifts each day. Perhaps God only gives us as much good as we can stand to receive and, if we refuse or ignore the small gifts, we won’t be burdened with bigger ones!

If life’s big gifts elude you, ask yourself if when you see a nickel in the street will you pick it up and feel richer or will you pass it by, wishing it were a $100 bill? When someone compliments you, do you appreciate it and say thank you or do you look away, make a joke, and say something self-deprecating? If someone offers to buy you lunch, do you graciously say yes, automatically refuse, or accept but feel uncomfortably indebted? When you receive presents, do you enjoy them or are you hard to please with gifts? Is your mind so busy with thoughts of what you’ll have to give back in reciprocation that you don’t feel much pleasure in the receiving? When someone offers to help you, do you gratefully receive help or insist that you can manage alone? Do you assume you can manage alone more easily than with help? And, when someone loves you, do you feel blessed by this most precious gift or do you retreat in fear? Do you find the love of only a specific few to be valuable and fail to appreciate the many others who care about you?

If you’re starting to recognize in yourself some of these signs of poor receiving, you’re not alone. This is the perfect time of year to begin a new habit. Notice that there is always something to receive from life. Make a point to recognize all the large and small gifts that come to you and receive them fully. Keep a written account of them. Receive each gift as gratefully and openly as you can, letting go of any of your usual methods of refusing or ignoring God's gifts. The more you cherish what’s offered, the more you’ll find yourself attracting what you most cherish. And the next time you walk outside, take a moment to just give yourself entirely to the sensations of temperature, breeze, smells and colors. Breathe deeply and let yourself fully experience the pleasure of the moment. If your mind needs to chew on something, simply repeat over and over a phase such as, “I am overflowing with the richness of life.” Enjoy!

_Lynn Woodland is the author of Making Miracles — Create New Realities for Your Life and Our World, from Namaste Publishing. This article is an excerpt from her year-long, online “Miracles Course” coaching program for living a miraculous life. Lynn welcomes your comments: <lynnwoodland@comcast.net>. For information and free downloads see www.LynnWoodland.com.