generosity

Giver, I dare you to recieve.

giving-and-receivingI’m getting better with this, but it still happens now and then, that cringing, awkward feeling when I’m supposed to receive… a gift, a compliment, support, praise.

Instead of basking on the loving receiving end of the give and receive cycle, I feel uncomfortable.

Eager to diffuse attention.

Worried what “others” might think.

Diligent to pay it back, or pay it forward, as soon as possible, lest things be “uneven.”

Just experienced this today, in fact.

And this is extremely common among women.

I posed the question on Facebook this afternoon… “Why is it hard for us (especially women) to receive?”

Got a few dozen awesome responses. Here are a few of them…

  • Worthiness!
  • I’ve been taught that I’m not a man and so I don’t deserve it. Not in so many words of course, but in the way I was raised to cover, hide, be quiet,…
  • We are typically taught to be givers not receivers
  • I was taught that if you don’t work hard for it, you don’t deserve it. I also think that women are taught to be self-sacrificing and giving.
  • Trained from a young age that my life was only for service
  • As women/mothers we nurture and care for so, I guess it just seems so foreign to have it done in return…

I’m noticing a theme here. Taught… trained… learned…

This difficulty receiving is ingrained in us, threads woven into our fabric. It’s time to pull those threads. It’s time to unlearn. Life is relying on us to learn how to receive just as well as we give.  Giving and receiving is a cycle, a beautiful dance, a balance.

When we resist receiving, we actually damage the cycle. We disturb the dance. We destroy the balance.

“It’s better to give than to receive.” We are taught. But giving needs receiving, to be complete. So isn’t it just as important?

When we resist receiving, we deny the giver the gift of giving.

We rob them of the warm and loving feeling that giving creates.

We are ripping people off by not receiving! Think about it!

For the last four years, I have been extending financial gifts and scholarships to dozens of clients and students of the Burlesque Experience. I derive great pleasure in doing so.

Recently, a number of graduates of the course have been expressing to me their desire to also give toward such gifts and scholarships.

I’ll admit, my initial reaction was discomfort. It’s so much easier to give than to receive.

But after some thought and prayer, I realized that not  just receiving, but graciously receiving the generosity of others, I am still giving! (Woo-hoo!)

I am giving the giver the pleasure and profoundly fulfilling experience of giving, to a gracious recipient of their generosity!

Experiencing generosity from the giving or receiving end cultivates more blessings for everyone.

Not only that, but in this particular case, it will help me continue the tradition of giving to other, toward their tuition, that might not otherwise be able to experience the Experience! We can give more! What a beautiful win-win.

It’s a prevalent problem. Our discomfort with receiving.

We sure love to give, we give give give, it feels so good, so natural.

I’m not suggesting we stop giving. It’s awesome and cultivates abundance.

But what if it also felt natural to receive?

Exercise your receiving muscle.

Share stories of receiving.

Let others close to you know that you are experimenting with becoming a better receiver.

And then…

Open your heart, open your arms… open up and receive.

Grace, generosity and a friend in need

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Zenda being Zenda.
Photo by Loving Photography

I’m doing something different this week. I’m really wanting to help a friend.

Some of you may know her, some may not. Her name is Michelle, a.k.a., Zenda LaBelle.

She’s one of the most generous, loving and accepting people I know. She’s picked up the nickname “Mama Zen” in our Burlesque Experience alumni community because there’s something really maternal about her, something really calming. She’s been a blessing of nurturing tenderness, support and encouragement to so many.

She’s the type of person that would drop everything for a friend, that loves to give and share and create and connect. I’ve been honored to watch her unfold first as my client, then part of my team, and most importantly now, my friend.

Last year, she had what some might call a ‘dark night of the soul.’ Within a matter of a couple months, her job, her car, her home… all gone for unrelated, yet eerily closely timed circumstances, and her life became a blank slate. Her sense of security was gone. She relied on friends to help her with temporary places to stay. She was down. But she did not stay down. She reinvented herself. She job-searched. She found a new job with potential for growth and long-term stability. Her spirits began to lift, and she worked to rebuild her life. Last month, she found a space of her own to call home and settled in to her new apartment. I’ve watched her return to her more natural state of joy and peace. Stronger, wiser, and more in control than ever.

And then last week, she had an unfortunate accident.

Like, she tripped and fell and broke her wrist really bad-unfortunate.

She needs surgery, she has to miss a bunch of work, she’s running out of resources, has new medical bills and rent is due.

I have no doubt that the generosity of this community can help her through this temporary setback.

She is the type of person that rallies around someone in need. Last year at this time, in fact, she organized and produced a burlesque show on my behalf, when I was in my personal crisis. That show saved me. Even moreso than the money, I was reminded by the outpouring of love, that I wasn’t alone.  That’s just one of the generous things I’ve seen her do or been personally blessed by. If I listed them all, this blog could go on all day.

I have this amazing circle of friends, and I’m noticing this super cool trend among them- and actually, “out there” in general…

We take care of each other.

There is a shift in consciousness happening where generosity is a natural response, a path and a way of life. Where the tribe gathers round when one of its members is in need.

I told her this morning that she’s been making deposits in her karmic bank account for a long time. Now it’s time to make a withdrawal. She deserves that. She is supported and held by a loving Universe, and that Universal energy likes to disguise itself as people, you and me, in action. Let’s be Zenda’s karma.

If you’re feeling inclined to send a gift, small or large, please send it to through Paypal to zendalabelle@gmail.com.

Let’s continue moving together in this beautiful circle of generosity and grace and keep the spirit moving, growing, thus creating abundance for our own lives as well. I didn’t make that stuff up. That’s just law. It’s grace.

Zenda wrote these words about grace last month to my daughter as part of her graduation/18th birthday gift…

“The dictionary defines grace as unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification, or a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace.

 My gift to you as enter woman-hood is this grace, a knowing that you are worthy just because you were born; a knowing that the divine loves you as you are no matter what; a knowing that Spirit is always with you, loving you every step of the way. Whether you stumble or fall or soar, you are complete and worthy. If you stumble or fall, grace is there to catch you and tell you are worthy of picking yourself back up with divine assistance…

Grace is the women you walk through life with, supporting you and encouraging in your journeys and adventures. “

Zenda, may the grace you give return to you now. When you stumble and fall (sometimes, even literally…) know that grace is there to catch you, too.