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  • Writer's pictureApril Beebe


I made an info graphic! I’ve been working for the past several months on deepening my capacity to receive and had a huge breakthrough when I was meditating a while back. We all know there’s a relationship between giving and receiving, but I saw that there’s a third action which is just as important and that is releasing.

I have an eensy bit of trepidation in sharing this because it’s not perfect (you’ll be surprised to learn this but I am not actually a graphic designer 😆), and the colors don’t align with my Aura-Soma training but I’m doing it anyway! So let’s go through it, shall we?

GIVING. This is the one that’s drilled into all of us from an early age. From having to share our toys as kids to the worship of people like Mother Theresa and the persistent belief in vows of poverty as being necessary for growth. ‘It is better to give than to receive’ and all that. I can feel my resentment toward cultural messages of giving as I write this because I’m a recovering over-giver, but of course it is also is necessary and very beautiful. The trick is to have balance, which we’ll get into more as we go around.

RECEIVING When I took my first Kabbalah course I learned about the concept of ‘the bread of shame’ which is the idea that when we get something without earning it there is an inherent sense of guilt that arises. I feel like that pretty much sums up the problem with western culture- the idea that we have to prove our worth, that we don’t deserve (fill in your particular thing here: love, blessings, gifts, help, support, ease, or even life). There’s this story that is often told in meditation circles about the Dalai Lama visiting the West and being asked for his opinion on unworthiness (often it’s told as self-hatred) and His Holiness has to ask the interpreter several times for clarification because he just doesn’t understand the concept. So yeah. Receiving is rather fraught. I have this entire theory that patriarchy is built upon the idea that receiving is bad, but that’s its own post.

RELEASING Here is the newcomer that for me helped bring some much needed balance to the whole giving/receiving dichotomy. Releasing is our ability to let that shit go. To be present with what is happening here and now and not tangled up in past wounds or resentments. To not hold on to other people’s energy or beliefs. To let go of everything that isn’t true. I almost feel like if someone really got the hang of releasing then they wouldn’t need to worry about the other two.

Almost. Let’s now look at what happens when there’s a deficiency in giving, receiving, or releasing.

NOT RECEIVING (orange) This section feels super familiar to me. When we give without receiving that leads to depletion (no surprise there- yet it still happens all the time), which is similar to yet distinct from the under-nourished feeling that comes from releasing without receiving. It’s like if we let go of all our baggage and wounding but don’t refill with love and life force then there’s still a hollowness.

NOT RELEASING (green) Here’s another area that feels like home for me. When we give without releasing that looks like codependency because we’re giving from a place of all the old stories, beliefs, and wounds. Giving so that others will like us- that kind of thing. It’s very, very difficult to receive without releasing and the best word I could think of for that is constipation. If we’re not letting go of the old there is no room for the new to come in. We’re blocked.

NOT GIVING (purple) This part was the most challenging for me to fill in and the one I have the least confidence in because it’s so unfamiliar for me. Receiving without giving wasn’t as much of a challenge because we have so many pictures of the greedy narcissist, and that’s familiar culturally if not personally. (Not that I’ve never experienced greed or narcissism! I’ve definitely had moments- like, all of my early 20s, for instance!) Releasing without giving is harder for me to tune into, but when I do I have this sense of someone who has done a lot of work and has a lot of wisdom and light but who isn’t sharing it. It would be like if the Hermit wasn’t holding up their lantern (tarot reference here). There’s a quality of bitterness and closed heartedness that I feel when I imagine this state of releasing without giving.

So that’s it - a meditative insight presented in graphical form 😂 I would love to hear your thoughts- on the concept(s) as a whole, but especially where you feel you tend to land in all of this. Also if you’ve found this helpful please share as you feel called. May we all find balance and harmony in giving, receiving, and releasing. 🙏😊💖

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