every year during the second weekend of january, my spirit grandmothers and i vision quest together to discover our “assignment” for that year. a few years ago, my assignment was forgiveness. a couple years ago, my assignment was healing. this year i’ve been assigned to ask and receive. the grandmothers and i tend to alternate between resisting our assignments (because they are always the hardest things we can imagine being asked to do) and surrendering to learning the lessons in the particular area we’ve been assigned.
i feel more comfortable giving than asking, more comfortable giving than receiving, more comfortable giving than sleeping, eating, driving, dancing, or walking. giving is easy for me. giving comes naturally to me. i mastered giving a long time ago. i’ve been aware of my fear of asking for years. i’ve done my best to practice asking when i feel safe from people who are safe, which with my trust issues, rarely happens. i didn’t understand until yesterday how much i’ve resisted receiving.
for most of this year i’ve been laid out flattened, moaning, and feverishly sick, often too sick to take care of myself. in the flattened moaning position, i have no choice but to ask for everything from a glass of ice water with a bendy straw (since i can barely sit up) to assistance getting out of bed to go to the bathroom. many people (a dozen, at least) have offered to help me. i’ve graciously (i hope) declined their offers for help. i’ve accepted help from the men who live with me (and nurses in the hospital) but from no one else. friends offer to bring me things, drive me to appointments, go grocery shopping for me, sit with me, anything they can think of that might help me, and i thank them for their generous offers, claim that i have everything i need, and politely decline. i’ve forgotten to practice the receiving part of my vision quest assignment this year.
yesterday morning a friend i’ve known and loved since middle school texted to ask if she could drop things on my doorstep to help me heal. my first instinct was to decline. and i tried. i really did. but she persisted. i was in a too physically weakened state to out-resist her perseverance. in the end, i relented and even asked if she would lend me her favorite books because escaping into a book has been my most effective temporary forgetting of pain these past several weeks. she brought me an extra large bag of books, herbal remedies, organic soups, coconut water, and supremely healthy seaweed snacks. when she arrived at my apartment, she texted instructions to stay in bed while she left her offerings outside my door. later, when i had the strength to get to the front door and found her gifts, i wept. i wept with gratitude all day long. i wept because she wouldn’t accept my refusal to receive. i wept because she loves to give as much as i love to give and she knew exactly what i needed better than i could have known. i wept because she loves me and she was determined to show me that love in action and i felt loved as i pulled out every item from that extra large bag. i feel loved with every sip of coconut water and every spritz of herbal throat spray. i feel loved holding her favorite book in my hands and knowing there is a stack of books waiting for me when i finish this one. i feel loved, which is a feeling i’ve resisted receiving for too long.
please receive the love that is offered to you. please let that love fill your heart and heal whatever hurts. and if your heart opens just wide enough, please weep with gratitude because you are deeply and completely loved. thank you for receiving my love. i receive my greatest joy by loving you.