When someone wants to do something nice for you or give you something, do you ever find yourself arguing with them or politely turning them down? Do you ever say, “No, it’s OK, I’m fine. Thanks anyway.” If you have ever done that, this message is for you.
Easter Sunday marked the one year anniversary of my blog and book project. Last March I finally listened to the inner voice that had been bugging me for ten years to start sharing all the lessons I have learned since the death of my first husband. For years now my husband Mark has also been encouraging me to start a blog. Four or five years ago he bought me a book entitled “Clear blogging” using the first proceeds from his own blog. I thanked him for the thoughtful gesture and placed the book on my office shelf where it sat untouched until last year. OK, I’m a slowly learner.
After a year of thought-provoking interviews with other women and an overwhelming response from readers, I feel deep gratitude that this blog is resonating with others. It reminds me of one of the most important lessons I learned through the process of loss and rebuilding my life. That lesson is about the critical importance of gratitude and expectations in order to move forward with your life.
This is where my dear friend Ras comes in. Several months after Malcolm died, she and her partner Marilynn called to say that they wanted to come spend a weekend with me to help with my healing. Ras is a Reiki Master and she was on a mission to use her healing hands to do my battered body and psyche some good.
So they packed up Ras’s massage table and drove several hours to my house, bringing a good supply of red wine with them. When Ras pulled out her massage table I began to resist her. I didn’t want to be a burden.
- Ras, it’s OK. You don’t need to do this. You didn’t come here to work. I’m so happy that you’re here, that’s enough.
- I know that I don’t need to do this. It’s not work. I want to do this for you and for me too.
- I know but you really don’t need to. Maybe some other time.
This went on for a few minutes before Ras looked at me sternly – or as sternly as she is capable of, which isn’t much given how kind and giving she is – and said,
- You need to learn how to receive. You’re very good at giving but you’re not good at receiving. It’s just as important to receive as it is to give. When someone offers you something or when something good happens to you, here’s what I want you to say, “Thank you Universe, now give me more!” OK, repeat after me, “Thank you Universe, now give me more.”
I laughed of course and then, typically, I began to argue with her. You can’t do that. It’s impolite. You just don’t say stuff like that. Good point, but really. Her eyebrows shot up.
- Repeat after me….
Ras won, as she always does, and so did I because I learned a very important lesson that day and it’s one that I’ve shared with many good friends (right Wendy?). We are taught at a very young age that it is obnoxious to ask for more when someone gives you something and it is inappropriate to expect more. Be grateful for what you have received and for what you already have, that’s enough right? Perhaps that’s true where social interactions are concerned, but Ras’s larger point is that this is about your relationship with the Universe. This is about believing viscerally that you are deserving of all the good things in your life and in fact you are deserving of every single thing you desire (provided that it does not come at someone else’s expense).
Ras wasn’t suggesting that I vocalize her phrase, but instead that I say it to myself and to the Universe to make it quite clear that a) I understand that I do in fact deserve the goodness that just came my way, and b) I fully expect and deserve more or better in the future. It’s about gratitude and expectations all wrapped into one lovely bundle.
Find the good, make room for more
Pick any transformational author and look through their work. They have pretty much all said that before something new can come into your life, you must be grateful for the goodness that’s already there. I acknowledge that it’s not always easy to feel grateful when you’re facing a lot of darkness in your world, but regardless where you’re at there is always something good to be found.
After Malcolm died it took a long time for me to locate any bright spots in my life. Ras’s gift, and her lesson, were that moments of gratitude can come courtesy of the many small gifts that friends, family and the Universe bestow on us daily. The more you focus on the good bits, the more they seem to multiply. The more you expect good outcomes, the more they seem to show up.
After nearly ten years of living with cancer and watching my first husband die from it, I had become quite jaded and cynical. It was not an easy process to turn that around, but when I did begin to shift my thoughts and expectations the results were significant. My life, my business and my relationships were transformed.
So the next time that someone offers to do something nice for you or do you favour, instead of telling them why you won’t accept it, say thank you and accept the gift. Then in your head, repeat after Ras, “Thank you Universe, give me more!”
Thank you to all my readers for making the last year such a successful one. Please continue to share your thoughts and pass the message on to other women who might benefit. I’m grateful to you all. (You know exactly what I’m saying in my head right now.)