Giving can never be one way.
Today, Giving Tuesday I have been thinking a lot about giving and receiving and hoe they are actually the same thing. We often don’t ask for help because we somehow believe that if you give me something than you are left with less but that’s not how the universe works. The universe is constantly creating balance.
I was talking to a coaching client today about my experience when my daughter was born. I got to thinking that other cultures do a better job of taking care of the mothers after birth, they understand that babies are pretty durable. I decided to ask the women in my life to come and spend a day with me, my toddler and my new baby girl. I wanted 30 days after my then husband went back to work. It turned out to be 45 days. Women started calling me saying that they didn’t get a day. It was quite overwhelming.
The first thing that I noticed was that I felt better than I expected to after my second child so I am grateful that the first couple of women were pushy. They insisted that they didn’t come to not do anything and for me to go rest. It felt strange to receive when I felt capable of doing.
Next, my then coach gave me the assignment to ask each woman what they got out of the day before they left. The answers were all over the map and not things that I would have thought of for them. What it taught me is that the reciprocity happens instantly, we just don’t usually ask what someone has gotten by giving to us.
This was one of the hardest things that I have ever done. It brought up questions like, “What does it mean that all these women were willing to do this for me? What does it say about who I am in the world and what is required of me? It’s interesting because thinking about it now I don’t think I was afraid of the receiving at all, I was more afraid of what receiving would command of me.
I often tell people who I am offering some kind of generosity to that it actually has very little to do with them and more to do with the fact that someone else has done things for me and this is how I repay them. I met a wisdom keeper recently that told me that she tell her people she isn’t giving things to them but through them and the better be generous with it. I love that!