40 Days of Receiving: Learning How To Receive
Alright. Another 40-day challenge done. Am I a different person? Yes…and no. Whenever I do these 40-day challenges I like to remind myself I’m still human. The point of these challenges aren’t to master something, they’re more of an opportunity to allow myself time to grow or learn something new.
One of the biggest life lessons I have struggled with is receiving. I knew this before my therapist mentioned it to me and it was more of an affirmation to start this 40-day challenge as soon as she suggested in one of our sessions that I was being presented with an opportunity to learn how to receive. That’s when the lightbulb went off and I dove into a new 40-day challenge.
How my 40-day challenges work
I was raised Catholic but always questioned things. I liked the concept of Lent because it was a chance to challenge myself. I rarely gave up food; I was the only one in my CCE class going all in for some sort of miracle. Although I no longer identify as Catholic, I do find the way we are introduced to The Universe/God in this lifetime should be honored in some way. I also always challenged the idea that the 40-day fad was only available to you when the church calendar said you could do it. What if I’m not in that season of life right now? Spoiler alert! You can do this whenever you want.
When it does spark a lightbulb, I intuitively decide when I need to focus on healing or work on something for 40-days. With every 40-day challenge, I have a textbook. Yeah, I told you I go all in for these things. This is my fancy way of saying I tie a book to the challenge. This time around, I figured it was finally time to dig into A Course in Miracles since every book I’ve read in these 40-day challenges happens to mention or reference it. To my surprise, it reads more like scripture (God’s laughing right now) and so it wasn’t something I would be able to finish in 40-days. I basically tricked myself into a lifelong commitment. Tell God your plans, right? Lol.
When I started this challenge, receiving meant leaving opportunities for things to come to me. Now, I’m the one laughing right now. Learning about miracles through a different lens, and how to expect them, was the best way to jumpstart this thing.
What does receiving even mean?
For a long time I’ve been in the get things done mode. I make things happen, I take the first step, I do all the things first. I am very tuned into my masculine energy. (We all have masculine and feminine energy, and should strive to balance them.) I had to do this for a long time, as a survival mode, so it’s sort of programmed in me. It’s great until I don’t allow things to come to me or let The Universe meet me halfway. Even as I’m writing this, I still can’t seem to spell the word receive on the first try so be gentle on yourself as you embark on this journey with me. #ThanksGrammerly!
According to handy dandy Merriam Webster, receive is a transitive verb. It’s action. Unfortunately, I interpret it as what I have to do to deserve something. The first definition of the word receive is to come into possession of something, meaning it comes to you. Put me in coach, I’ll catch it! The second definition of the word is to act as a receptacle or container. So…I must be a container for something to come to me? What if it overflows? I can’t sit still! And the last definition is to assimilate through the mind or senses, receive new ideas. Great. Let’s open our minds then.
How did the challenge go?
When you don’t leave room for things to happen, you miss the magic. I am the one who does my part and then when something doesn’t happen right away or how I expect it to, I think I need to do more. I’ve been programmed to think it’s on my plate to fix. Ring a bell? This challenge allowed myself to open myself up to The Universe, letting a boomerang of abundance finally come back to me. Here are some things I tried that helped me open the door for receiving a little bit wider.
Picking up sticks
On my walks, I asked The Universe to send me miracles. When something on my path would catch my eye, I would pick it up and say thank you out loud. I would carry that stick or flower with me until I would hear the words…Let it go. You’d be surprised how much hesitation happened when I would not let go of a stick. Alas, the more I did it, the easier it was to metaphorically (and literally) let something go. Next time you’re on your #hotgirlwalk, I suggest challenging The Universe to show you something beautiful. Pick it up, carry it with you, and then return it back to nature or throw it into the abyss. Whatever helps you release.
The Universe also sent me a beautiful Spring baby bird circle of life moment that I still think about often. Here’s the story:
Make zero plans on the weekends, do what you want
Gosh this might have been the HARDEST thing for me. In order to make room for people, plans, things, I challenged myself to not actively make plans on the weekend for 40-days. I am still recovering from my old 9 to 5 burnout so naturally, I’m programmed to be productive on the weekends. Whether it’s working on this blog, writing an article, working on my manuscripts, productivity is the bane of my existence. As I work on learning to receive more, not doing anything seemed like a good place to start.
It’s really hard for me to relax. It’s really hard for me not to plan things and hold people accountable for their weekend plan requests. As someone who is used to doing the heavy lifting in relationships, I used this time to challenge myself to let things fall apart if they were meant to. Someone wants to do all these fun summer things with you but doesn’t initiate anything after you’ve talked about it? Let it go. Someone invites you to go on a hike but never texts you back? Go on your own. One of the hardest things you’ll get from this practice is to let things come to you, and even when people don’t follow through, always choose yourself.
Not having plans allows plans to come to you. If they don’t, it gives you the opportunity to ask yourself what you want to do. Allow yourself to go do it. Even, and especially if you feel “guilty” for wanting to do it. Guilty in the sense where you’re worried about what others are going to think if you went to Target on a whim and bought yourself lingerie and some grapes. Guilty for not doing anything or being spontaneous and going to see one of your favorite bands alone. Guilty for note having plans! Don’t feel guilty for wanting to live your version of a lovely life. Odds are, it’s not going to look the same for others anyway so stop auditing yourself!
Live like a Roman woman
Remember in Eat, Pray, Love when Liz learns the Italian phrase: Dolce far niente? Also known as, the art of doing nothing. Part of my no-plan-weekends inspired me to tap into past Monica who danced in the Colosseum to Lizzie McGuire’s this is what dreams are made of, and lost count of gelato on the daily, because why does she only have to exist in the photos from my trip to Italy? As you know, I like to learn things from the places I visit and Italy taught me to enjoy my food and not multitask while eating. During this 40-day challenge, I reminded myself to stay present.
I also took myself on gelato dates and museum dates. I lounged around in my lingerie while eating grapes on the couch, having album listening parties with incense until my sugar would drop and I was swigging orange juice to save my life. If I died like this, at least I would look hella sexy to whoever found me. I stopped time by going outside and laying on the grass to read, I painted flowers on my thighs while binge watching my favorite shows, I took naps. Basically, I challenged myself to be in my divine feminine energy and lived like an Empress. I was really feeling myself, someone even asked me for my number.
It was almost as if not doing anything and rewarding myself for all the hard work I continue to do, allowed The Universe to give me new chapters and new characters in my life. At the end of my 40-day challenge I even received an offer of representation from an agent. Literally on the last day, The Universe was like I’m gonna show off a bit and give you this new door you’ve been asking me for. See how that works? It was a magical way to end the 40-day challenge.
Alignment and expecting miracles were two of the things from my textbook I took with me. I continue to challenge myself on these two principles, God continued to show me in magical and unexpected ways that it was okay to let go.
What now? Are you a receiving pro?
Lol. No. I am now more aware of my inability to receive and can recognize when I’m overgiving or carrying the weight of a relationship. In order to find a lovely life, you must continue to peel layers of self-awareness. It never means you’ve mastered it. It means you’re a student and you’re willing to continue to learn. I hope these 40-day challenges inspire you to look for your own miracles and by-golly finally give The Universe space to give you the things you’ve been asking for.
Maybe you’re struggling with the give and take of your relationships with some the most important people in your life. What would happen if you let go a bit? If they disappear, it only means there’s room for something more. Don’t be afraid to challenge The Universe and let God show you how miracles can make your life a little more lovely.