The Unexpected Lesson of Learning to Receive!
I am a giver. That is obvious to the people who know me best. Like many of us who enter the fields such as teaching or nursing, we thrive on giving. In fact, on the Enneagram scale, we are Number 2’s. We derive our sense of self from doing for others and that bolsters our feelings of self-love. However, like most gifts in life, there is a shadow side— a hidden need to receive recognition for all the giving. I am also a Number 1 on the Enneagram scale and according to descriptions of 1’s, they are driven to fix the world. The shadow side of this number is we think everyone wants our help because we are so capable.
As I have explored the facets of my personality and my inner world this year, I decided to let go of the need for acknowledgment of the gifts I was giving and the belief that I alone had the answers to help everyone and everything, and guess what happened, this past week during my 62nd birthday, I was given so many unexpected and unasked for gifts of love, care, and recognition.
When I Give Just for the Sake of Giving, I Receive!
I started receiving messages like
“You are one of those people who make my life better just by being in it.”
“Thanks for demonstrating love.”
“Happy & blessed birthday Andrea you are a blessing to so many “
“Happy birthday to an amazing healer, mother, wife, daughter, sister, teacher, etc.! May the year be an extension back to you of all you give to the world.”
Frankly, I was a bit floored with all the attention and gifts of love. I think it showed me that I could let go of the old story that “I was forgotten in the hubbub of Christmas” or “I needed to give in order for people to like me.”
Setting an Intention, Not a Resolution for 2021
This year amid all the pain around me, I realized that the greatest gift I could offer to the world was my positivity, my sincere belief in “the best is yet to come”, which by the way, was the anthem under my high school yearbook picture. And it gave me joy to positively impact many people regardless of whether I received an acknowledgment.
So as 2021 begins, I remain optimistic that the light and inspiration I offer others will improve their lives and mine. Therefore my intention is to continue giving and be eternally grateful for all the gifts given to me.
Intentions come from the heart, while Resolutions come from the mind. Figuring out the difference can be challenging because our mind is always chattering at us and the wisdom from our heart is often hard to hear.
Try Setting Your Intention and Firming It Up with Yoga Nidra
According to Richard Miller, PhD, a Clinical Psychologist, and Yoga Teacher, your intention, or “Sankalpa” as it’s known in yoga, is already inside you. You just need to discover it. He suggests meditation as a place to start. “When you hear the call, you must be willing to sit with it, feel it, and deeply reflect on it.” But that is not enough, according to Miller, who adds that “the final stage is the willingness to do what the heartfelt desire requires of you.”
In practicality, let us say you want to lose weight in 2021. What you might meditate on is “why you want to lose weight?” “What is behind the desire to lose weight? Your heartfelt reason is what you are exploring and if it really holds meaning for your life. If what you are really seeking is acceptance or feeling less pain, then losing weight is the process by which you meet your intention.
Here is another helpful hint, instead of stating the intention as “I will” or “I won’t” or “I want”, you state it in the present tense as if you are experiencing it now. For example, “I love myself enough to treat my body as a holy temple eating only what nourishes that temple.” One great way to get your intention to be powerfully felt in your body is through the practice of Yoga Nidra. “In Yoga Nidra, we discover a profound level of openness. Our self-imposed limitations dissolve and we are pure being,” Yoga Therapist Anne Douglass explains.
Here is a Free Yoga Nidra practice I have offered my students. Before getting comfortably on the ground, state your intention for the New Year, and see what happens.