Friday, January 29, 2010

Making Peace with Receiving

Tomorrow is my birthday. I love birthdays; the celebration, the gathering and communion of friends, and the wine and champagne. Well, I love it all except the attention. When I was younger I LOVED the attention. I felt glorified in it - revealed in it.

Something has shifted. Now, don't go thinking I've matured and believe I posses qualities of humility - that's not it.  I can accept gifts without pause. Yes please spend more than you earn- adore me with presents. It's a narrow focus on being comfortable with two things: 1. visual attention -for example in a gathering and it being all about me and 2. You paying for me - like a dinner where the guest divide the bill minus me because I'm the honored guest.

Last night a pre-party dinner which was at a most delicious Sinaporean $$$ restaurant. We dined on pork ribs, Roti, coconut string bean soup, spicy tofu something or other. We swam in libations of Maja-Mojito, Chardonnay finishing up with Peony white tea over two decandant, put me in a coma of sugar, desserts. It was so much fun as we hooted and howled. And then the bill came. Now my girls and I have had this tradition for years; we treat the birthday gal to lavious dinner. This isn't new. Yet when the bill game, my stomach began to knot up. I instinctively reached for my wallet - they wouldn't hear of it. I couldn't break with tradition. 

My stomach tied more knots as they divided the bill. I wanted it to before. The whole scenario was hugely uncomfortable and I was deeply aware of how uncomfortable I was with their giving in this manner. I wondered how I could live with a double standard - treat my friends to a meal but not accept the same with glee and gratitude. What the heck was going on? What was happening was not the opposite of my former "give me" state. In fact they are one in the same. The woman in my twenties who wanted the attention is the same woman today; it has just taken a different form. 

When I cannot receive I'm not in true relationship. When I only want to be seen as the generous one my focus is solely on me rather then on being in true friendship and real communion. This need, this craving is old and unrewarding; stripping it away is going to be so fun.

 Learning how to love is as great as it is humbling.

This is going to be great birthday.

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