One of my life lessons is learning how to receive. I know how to give and give and give. I love helping others and am that very good friend you could always count on. Sometimes I wonder whether I give in order to help the other person, or to obtain the feeling of self satisfaction I receive from helping.
A few weeks ago I saw a video called A Tale of Two Seas by Rabbi Dov Greenberg. The video portrayed the two seas in Israel, the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. The Jordan river flows from the North into the Sea of Galilee and then further South into the Dead Sea. The same river supplies both but the Sea of Galilee is green and full of wildlife while at the Dead Sea nothing lives. The idea was that the Sea of Galilee has water flowing in and out of it while in the Dead Sea water just flows in and remains. The Rabbi’s message was that when you both give and receive – life flows. But”If you only receive, but do not give, you do not live.”
This is also true with only just giving.
This past weekend I went on my own to a weekend self awareness retreat on the Jordan River. I am often a very social person who like to meet and mingle with new people. This weekend, however, I did not feel like speaking with anyone and was quite aloof. It may be that I was without children and had a moment not to constantly speak and answer (which was soooo nice). It could be that I was older than most of the participants. It finally dawned on me during a swim that I simply needed some time on my own. I did not need to be the one to help others or prepare Turkish coffee for those around me. I did not need to please others by offering psychic messages. I did not need to buy their friendship by selling myself. I wanted to just rest.
So during the hour to two hour breaks between sessions I was on my own. I observed others from my tent. I swam and swam in the cool beautiful Jordan River. I sat silently and peacefully around the fire. I released the need to give to others. It felt so good just “being”.
Then all of the sudden I started receiving. Someone offered me some coffee and someone else fruit. I received a free Acupuncture session. I even got a Mandala coloring book as a gift from a wonderful woman. Even after returning from the retreat, I continued receiving small gifts out of no where. By opening the dam that barred me from receiving without a uncomfortable feeling, I feel that I am beginning to properly live. To give and receive.