Over the past few months, so many beautiful people have been coming into my life to share their stories, their advice, and their feedback, and I have gratefully welcomed these new perspectives and new interpretations.
One thing that I have recently recognized is that for as long as I can recall, I have found my value in life by providing to others. If I wasn’t serving individuals, the community, or the greater whole, I didn’t have a sense of true authentic value. I think this is deeply woven into our culture and into the messages I received growing up.
Since my current health challenge has made it more difficult for me to put my experiences into language, I have been questioning what my true value is for this next phase of my life. I recently met a rabbi to whom I expressed this concern, and he gave me a piece of advice that I think is of great value and worth sharing here. He said that there are stages in life when giving to people is the best way we can serve. And there is also value in receiving. Sometimes letting other people serve us can be as profoundly valuable, nurturing, and connecting as giving to others.
You can see this on a personal level. Think about giving something to someone you love. Imagine the happiness and opening that unfolds as a result of your gift. Now imagine that the intended receiver refuses to accept your offering. You would almost certainly feel disappointed, sad, and empty as a result of being unable to give something away. Giving and receiving are inextricably interwoven.
The Law of Giving and Receiving reminds us to be conscious of the flow of love and life. When our intention is to expand happiness, every action of either giving or receiving will be life supporting.