“Open your hands, if you want to be held.”
If you have a cell phone, it’s happened to you. You’re in a rural area, on the periphery of the closest reception tower, when a call comes in. You can see from the display on your phone who the call is coming from and you know they have news you want to hear. The reception is inconsistent and the conversation is broken into snippets of words that you try to string together to understand the context of what is being said. Instead, you end up with confusion and frustration just before the call is lost and your phone’s battery surrenders in exasperation. Poor reception sabotaged your call. And it’s not just you, the receiver of the call, is also experiencing the disappointment. What about the person on the other end of the phone who dialed your number with the anticipation of hearing your voice, or sharing a story with you? By the time reception has returned and you’re reunited via radio waves, the moment has passed; enthusiasm waned.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about receiving, and the reality is, I’m not a very good receiver. I call it “independence” but it could look like stubbornness. After nearly every yoga class on the beach, I gather up my gear; 6 yoga mats, six blocks, at least a dozen t-shirts, 2 beach towels, my book of inspiring words or meditations, straps, essential oils, my donation jar, and at least a pound of sand clinging to my legs and my goods, and begin plodding to the parking lot, when one of my students offers to help. “No, no, I’ve got it,” I protest. Thinking that I don’t want to burden or inconvenience someone with what is my responsibility, I tell them I’m balanced under the canopy of bags and bungie cords and rubber and sweat. And while I think I’m doing the right thing because I am capable of carting a yoga studio on my back, I’ve just recently come to realize that when I deny another their offer of generosity, I am effectively eroding a bit of joy from each of us.
There is happiness being spread all around us. Its energy is greater than radio waves and more reliable than cell phone towers.
My mom loves birthdays. And the birthday she enjoys the most is her own. Just putting that in words makes her sound self-centered and materialistic but she is neither. Instead, she is generous and joyful. From my earliest memories she has taken the extra effort to make my birthday, and the birthdays of her family and friends, special events. So, when it comes to her birthday, she relishes in the attention and the gifts and the cake and the candles. If I wrapped up a tomato in a bright colored bag, and told her it was picked especially for her, she would be giddy. My mom is a good receiver. She understands that giving a gift is a gesture of love, whether that gift is a diamond bracelet, a box of chocolates, kind words, or a hand-picked tomato. And she would receive them all with the same enthusiasm and delight, which bounces back to the giver of the gift, in an equal measure of joy. I love giving my mom gifts because seeing her happy response, makes me feel good inside. We are each, joyful beneficiaries of whatever is wrapped in the box.
Recently after a meditation class, a yoga student asked me if I had been trained in mindfulness. Ugh, no I shook my head in embarrassment, feeling like an imposter who had been exposed. My training consisted of a day in 2014 and lots of practice in the years since. But my student went on to say that I presented the meditation in a way that felt genuine, as if I had had the experience of formal training. This was a compliment of epic proportions because she was a Mindfulness coach who regularly worked with an internationally known Mindfulness expert. And I received this compliment with surprise and embarrassment before I came to my senses and thanked her for her kindness.
There is happiness being spread all around us. Its energy is greater than radio waves and more reliable than cell phone towers. It passes from the giver as kind words, or a helping hand, or a vine-ripened tomato, but as a receiver, we must have our arms extended and our heart open in order for it to be gifted, because when we are able to accept love, in whatever form it is offered, joy blooms for all.
Laurie Kasperbauer, RYT 200, enjoys the spiritual and physical benefits of yoga practice and instructs both group and private classes. Laurie is also an active Florida realtor specializing in properties in Naples and Marco Island. She can be reached at Harborview Realty, 291 S. Collier Blvd., Marco Island, or by calling 712-210-3853.