A dear friend living in the shadows of cancer,
With death on the horizon,
Sat with me and said,
“Throughout my life, I never learned to receive…
Now I may have to.”
My mother spent her final two years on her back
In hospice care.
It was almost as if,
After a life of doing and giving,
Her soul needed to receive.
Receive, allow, hold space while others do—
These were not words I learned in business school.
Action was always preferable: make, do, or give.
But action unchecked,
Or tainted with the harshness
Of an ego that doesn’t care,
Slides into attack, consume, and take.
No one taught
Of honoring the sacred balance
Between giving and receiving
Embracing the world and letting it flow through me.
Of taking time to savor beauty,
Walk without purpose
Drop into awe for a sunset so beautiful
If we truly received the Earth
In the depths of our beings
How could we harm her?
We would tend her like a child
Hold her in our bellies
Nurture her to grow.
We would be like a partner following her movements
As she follows ours.
Today, I contemplate fund-raising
What still is needed to bring out the book
My stomach roils.
Writing for hours, days, years
Is what I do.
But asking and then receiving
Is light years harder.
Perhaps if I can do this
I will learn the lesson
Practice intention without entitlement.
Not be a taker, requiring support.
But more of a mom, a caretaker
Who can hear what asks to be born.
It will challenge, of course.
But, I don’t want to wait,
like my dear friend nearing the end,
To let others give
And absorb their kindness.
To ask. And hope.
And then, with heart open and grateful,