As of late and thanks to Amazon and a recommendation a la my dear heartbeat Matt Hoglund, Doreen Virtue's Daily Guidance Angel Card are my morning ritual for insight and a lean on a hippie human resource. And really, I have been pulling them for anyone that will listen at a random coffee shop or for new friends in Wyoming. I drank the angel card kool aid and I spiked it. I come off strong, no wonder it is taking me time to make friends in Denver. I digress. So I shuffle, shuffle, shuffle and pull the top card this morning and I get the Giving & Receiving card. Oddly, the angel on the card has tan skin and is holding a parrot in one hand and feeding a Mama kangaroo in the other. So weird and oh my, how I love these cards.
The card strikes a memory years ago, I must have been 24, my favorite yoga teacher once said in class that the way you inhale and exhale can sometimes be an indicator of the way you are living. The inhale representing how well you can receive, and the exhale representing what you offer and give.
We were all seated with our eyes closed (mine kind of half closed) and I learned that I can exhale like a champion. And of course, on the other side, I recognized how hard it was for me to fully inhale. Most teachers focus on the full belly breath, cueing you to round your belly like the Buddha and fill it with prana (yoga speak for breath, life-giving force). To be honest, all of my concentration and efforts were in the ability to take my inhalation even past my collar bone while pretending to push my belly out at the same time, in case someone in the class or my teacher decided to see if I was a non-receiver. So vain.
It was one of those a-ha moments in that yoga class, though. All these realization happened at once. I don't take compliments well, I divert and turn them around back to the giver. I like to do it all by myself, thus asking for help is hard for me. I like to be in charge, thus leaning on others is beyond vulnerable for me. Even at that time in my life, receiving love and recognizing love was hard for me. I liked to prove myself with actions and a job promotion was like winning a nobel prize.
And though I can easily look back into my whirlwind twenties and chalk it up to reckless youth (note: I was not even that crazy, just a head case of emotions) and a lack of wisdom, that would so be a cop out. Because what is deeply seated there underneath those realizations, that angel card and within my breathing is a pattern that I still live today.
Almost there on this angel card rant, stay with me.
When you order these angel cards, there is a little booklet that takes the cards a couple sentences deeper. For us analytical folk that need a few more definitions or perspective for full buy in to the spiritual shit we so want to believe. So the booklet reads for the Giving & Receiving card that my ratio is out of balance. And thankfully it notes that there is no such thing as perfect balance, phew. The sentence that really gets me is this: "...make sure you are giving on a daily basis without expecting anything in return. On the same day, be a gracious receiver to unexpected offers of help, compliments or other gifts".
To my surprise, and maybe for you too, the sentence that knocks me out is the one about giving without expecting anything in return. I realize today that I can breathe fine, if I remove the expectation of something in return (like a champion exhale).
This is hard for me because my pattern is not necessarily the inability to receive, it is actually the ability to remove my expectation of it all being 'fair'. I have been living in this pattern where I might measure up the things I do versus the things my fiance does, the effort I give versus that of my business partner, or the calls I make versus that of my family calling me. And it creates this gnarly tension within me that I actually think the versus notion is the blocker of a deep, beautiful, big belly inhale. The comparison is killing my breathing game and truly, my life game.
I have got a lot of work to do. And what I remind myself and I will remind you, this is a practice. This awareness, while so clutch and somewhat annoyingly spot on, is where you create your day, your week, your life when the intention to both practicing giving and receiving meets action.
How do you give and receive? Bring on the life hacks and wisdom, the angel cards have spoken.