As the holiday season is approaching, a friend and I were talking about gift giving and of the politics that can surround the purchasing of presents. One observation that we made was the need in others, and ourselves from time to time, to reciprocate. And not only to reciprocate but to make sure that we have reciprocated ‘enough’.
There are probably a hundred well-oiled sociological reasons why, but it is quite astonishing how uncomfortable it can be to receive and to watch the scramble to return the favour. When I was speaking with my friend, I was recalling to myself how often, as a child and at birthday parties, I would conveniently ‘forget’ to open gifts out of the embarrassment of receiving, or how another friend once told me that she keeps a cupboard filled of Quality Street chocolate boxes as a ‘just in case’ someone stops by with a present and she doesn’t have one to return. The social anxiety around gifts can completely dampen the grace of the intention.
Therefore, this week’s challenge is perhaps a seasonal challenge called the Gift of Graciousness. Can we set the intention to receive in a way that allows the kindness and thought behind the giving to be acknowledged and appreciated without any politic of having to counter the act. Can we give the Gift of Graciousness and receive in a way that allows the gift giver to enjoy the gift of giving?
This may feel natural, it may feel joyous or it may feel uncomfortable. We can bring in our mindfulness practice to really notice what it feels like to simply receive and perhaps even move towards receiving with gratitude. For it is in the receiving with gratitude that we are able to give back The Gift of Graciousness. It’s a win- win!
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