The Gift of You


Early in our marriage, I brought to Layne’s attention that I was feeling like I was the one who was planning all of our together time, our dates. When we talked about it, he received my perspective graciously.


One day about 2 weeks later, out of the blue he said, “how about we go out for dinner tonight, just us?” As I responded to him with an emphatic NO, that part of my consciousness that can watch myself doing something and at the same time comment on it, said


“What the hell is wrong with you?  this is exactly what you asked for!”


This conversation led me to contemplate the intricacy of receiving. What I realised is that I, like so many of us, had never really learned how to fully receive a gift.


Receiving is a yoga in itself—one that demands a high degree of sensitivity, awareness, and skilfulness.  The nectar in receiving is not in simply accepting the gift, but actually assimilating it. As Sally Kempton writes,


“When your digestive system won’t assimilate food, you don’t receive nourishment, no matter how much you eat or how many supplements you take. In the same way, when you can’t (or won’t) receive the love and support that a real gift represents, you never quite feel nourished by life.”


How about starting by receiving the gift of yourself, just as you are. Yoga philosophy teaches that you have descended from grace, as grace. So that receiving the gift of who you are means assimilating the idea that you are absolutely worthy and that your life, that YOU, are perfect just the way you are.


The gift within “receiving the gift of yourself” is the realisation that you don’t have to try to be something you’re not. Oscar Wilde said it best: “Be yourself; everybody else is taken.” This involves deferring to the genius of other people. In other words, you don’t have to do it all; you can give the gift of letting other people offer their gifts.


Yoga isn’t something that’s practiced exclusively on your mat or mediation cushion. It’s meant to teach us how to engage with life at all times. In the Tantric philosophy that I’ve studied for many years now, the focus isn’t so much about emptying ourselves (as is the case in many meditative disciplines), but opening to receive the gift of ourselves and of life.


Sometimes just reminding yourself to open up to whatever form love takes, whether it’s the gift that comes in a box with a bow, or the gift of your husband planning a date; will help you receive the love that’s being offered, but also the grace that comes along with it. That grace is the energy of love that pours through the Universe.

© Julie Smerdon 2021

Photo:  Pete Longworth

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