I am more comfortable giving than receiving. I genuinely enjoy the act of remembering another through small gestures - card, a phone call, something handmade and personalized - but I have trouble negotiating when I am giving as an act of care and when I am doing so out of a feeling of lack or inadequacy. I tend to rush in, heap all that I have upon another and then squirm away. I am aware that my habit of giving too much is a way of padding myself, as if by bearing gifts and doing for others, I will enhance my self worth.
In yoga the first pose we learn is tadasana or mountain pose. Generally, there are two habits in this pose: to either hang back in the heels or lean forward into the balls of the feet. I am a leaner ... anxious to take off, get moving and keep moving. Waiting, resting, abiding are not my natural states. Receiving is uncomfortable for me as it brings up my doubt that I am deserving of this gift, praise, complement or attention.
As I practice slowing down, resting and being, I find I must also practice receiving. Starting off small, I am attentive to the quieter gifts bestowed upon me. Working with animal medicine, reflecting upon the guides and teachers who manifest daily in my life, I am allowing more space to receive and hold their messages. Here are some of those gifts manifesting through my meditation practice and 49 by 49:
Aeracura, Celtic earth goddess associated with blossoming, change, abundance, growth and learning. I draw this card quite frequently and she reminds me to savor the season or phase I am in and to not rush things. Her gift is for me to trust in my process and in the unfolding of my life. She helps me pause and notice abundance in my life and in my being.
Frog medicine is about cleansing and metamorphosis. My place for retreat is a marshy area in the public garden where I go to paint, read, or write. The pond there is filled with frogs and their gift for me is to understand the times when I need to slip quietly through my world, blending in and resting and when I am to croak or call out for the energies I need to create or to join with others. Care of emotions and not getting stuck in illusions of permanence are the reminders frog brings to me. When the pond is quiet, I am amazed to find dozens of frogs have silent slipped onto lily pads without my being aware of their action. Other times, the air vibrates with the sound of their song yet not a single frog is visible.
Elephant has been a favorite friend my entire life. Recently, Cowgirl and I saw the movie Born to Be Wild and I was reminded that elephants are incredibly sensitive and caring creatures. In the movie a herd of orphaned elephants knew the exact time to journey to meet new members of herd. Elephant represents the connection to ancient wisdom and understanding available to us all when we live in harmony with nature. Gentleness, patience, endurance - these are all gifts from elephant and are essential qualities to evoke on this path of spiritual healing and wholeness. Learning to listen is another aspect elephant medicine. It goes without saying, I am a talker, often confusing a need to speak with my desire to feel understood.
Another lesson of elephant that I am just realizing is the need for connection and community as the ground for deeper healing. Tara Brach's beautiful teachings in Radical Self Acceptance point out that our wounds occur when we feel disconnected or cut off and that our healing will arise through relationship and understanding the interconnectedness of all life. Seeking out my herd or tribe has been a huge part of my journey these past two years and I am beginning to fully understand its contribution to my inner spiritual growth.
As I sit holding all these gifts I find it necessary to touch their meaning and then let go. As quickly as one gift is received, a new one rises up for me to discover. I am learning to lean back, wait and trust.