Giving and receiving

It’s the holiday season, and many of us have gift exchanges on our minds.

It’s especially sweet for me to realize today that each interaction with every person is a gift exchange. The less I paint someone as a character with specific advantages and limitations (and possible effects upon me), the more open I am to receive what they have to share, the better the chance that I can share what I have to give.

When we find ourselves in judgment of others or when we see ourselves seeing them as a means to an end or as an obstacle, we’re innocently standing in the way of the gift exchange. I say innocently because although we picked up a reliance on fear and a tendency to hide from love intentionally, we did it in innocence, because we didn’t know any better.

Contracting into fear, building up a separate personality and believing primarily in that, in the five-sense world, and in all the other personalities that appeared within it– this truly seemed like a safe option when we were in the midst of feeling fear.

When I start to release fear as a motivator in my daily experience, I gain the awareness of these wonderful gift exchanges that reflect our true equality.  Every being alive is talented at allowing love in unique and unexpected ways, no matter how the surface of that being appears.  Feeling into the energy of each beautiful being brings the connection into awareness that facilitates our mutual healing.

All these fancy lessons can be stated in the simplest of terms:
It’s easy to appreciate others when you relax.

But when life is feeling complex, we can be brought into that lesson through complexity, too. Life is ready and willing to meet us where we are and to bring us back into the awareness of love.

Here’s a gift I have to share with you today:
Imagine a place upon which you have projected disorder. In other words, when you think of what could possibly be wrong with the planet, you envision a source of conflict or disorder. It could be a war zone, the headquarters of a corporation, a government building–somewhere that seems to be a location where conflict thrives and expands.

Now look at each place as one firefly lights up within it. Someone held a door open for someone. Now there are two more. Someone fed someone. Someone experienced a moment of pure appreciation for another. Several other fireflies light up. Someone just stretched and it felt really good. Someone just had the sweetest memory. Someone really, deeply loves the color of his shirt today. Whenever he catches a glimpse of it, he lights up. He laughs at how silly it is, but he loves the color of his shirt today.

The fireflies are multiplying. Someone picked up something that someone else dropped. Someone else just realized it’s time to quit her job. Someone else had a very inspiring idea. Someone else realized that she notices changes in her life that she hadn’t appreciated before. Another person just got an idea to visit someone, and he’s going to follow up on it.  Another person just felt inspired to change a routine.

Every person is like these places–with fireflies lighting up all over. If these fireflies are what we tune into and observe in ourselves and others, we get to fall in love over and over again.

This doesn’t mean we deny when we are feeling something other than the illumination of love. By feeling the contraction that we can sense in our daily experience whenever it arises and by being willing to let that contraction of fear go (our fear–never anyone else’s–always in our power to release), we get to see more of those fireflies everywhere.

By willingly stepping through the contraction of fear (rather than pushing it down or pretending it isn’t there), we regain the ability to see love’s presence everywhere. When we accept that gift, we are able to share it with others across all time and space.

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