Receptivity

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“Turn your palms up in a simple gesture of receptivity.”

The above is a phrase that has stuck in my teaching and practice for years, a phrase that marked the moment when my yoga practice turned spiritual, a life-changing asana cue. That cue is a reminder that difficult concepts can begin in child’s pose. Balasana becomes the taste, if you will, the quiz preceding the exam.

As a yoga teacher with a broken leg, I am now taking the test. No longer just an option at the beginning of a yoga class, no longer something I say to students in any kind of rote fashion, I am now being forced to receive. My whole life at the moment is a not-so-simple gesture of receptivity.

Why is this not so simple? Receiving – asking for help – is HARD. It is beautiful because it provides the opportunity to see just how loved we really are. It provides countless moments for gratitude. But receiving – like anything else – is a muscle. And if I am learning anything from physical therapy, muscles have to be worked to get strong.

So thank Goddess for Goddess Cards (see what I did there?). One day when I was having a particularly challenging time receiving/asking for help with my broken leg, I reached into the goddess cards I’ve kept by my bed this whole time and picked out Hathor, the Egyptian goddess of receptivity. The piece of wisdom this card shared that blew my mind is:

When you receive, you have more resources to give to others.

Our ability to give is directly proportional to our ability to receive. Mind. Blown. As an AmeriCorps member, my life since graduating college has been about serving others. I have learned so much through being of service this year – running a food pantry, teaching kids about social-emotional learning, providing parent education. Who am I, then, to limit my ability to give by limiting my ability to receive? I am learning that each time I accept help with grace, as the Goddess Cards say, I increase my ability to give in the future. While it can be hard to have that kind of extended foresight, it is vital in living a life of sane and happy usefulness.

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