Photo by Maja Petric

Shifting focus

Do you know those radios where you have to turn a wheel to tune in to a radio station? When you turn the wheel of your radio, then you receive certain frequencies. Sometimes the reception is good when you have tuned in to the exact frequency. Sometimes reception is a bit distorted.

It is the same with attention. You can tune in to certain frequencies. For instance the frequency of abundance, or the frequency of joy. And then you receive a certain ‘radio station’. The last few weeks my internal tuner has been focused around the frequencies of giving and receiving. I want the ‘radio station’ where there is a certain balance. That would be my optimal radio program. I would then give freely, from the heart, not because I have to. And I would spontaneously receive from people who want to give in that very moment. Also freely, not because they feel obliged. This, for me, would be the frequency, the radio program of abundance.

But now that I was trying to find that radio station, I noticed that my radio has not been tuned in to the right frequency. And so I was receiving distorted programs. In my case my radio has been tuned more in to the frequency of giving than of receiving. Not in every area of my life. Not at all. In my professional life I was tuned in quite right the last couple of years. Clear reception, right program. But in some parts of my personal life my tuner, my mindset has not quite been receiving the correct program.

Somehow I was not quite tuned in to receiving as much as I was tuned in to giving. I even think this is a cultural thing. I see many people that have difficulties receiving. It is something of the ego. Having to receive can make you feel slightly inferior. Receiving can bring along fears, about not being able to reciprocate for instance. Many people have been brought up with the fear of being a burden. Asking can bring along the fear that the other person will say ‘yes’ when they actually mean ‘no’, or that they might think negatively about you.

The ability to give on the other hand can make you feel slightly superior. Giving brings you appreciation and gratitude. It gives you the feeling of being able, of being in control. Actually, the appreciation that you get when you are giving, can even become the reason for giving. And that is the moment when giving doesn’t come from the heart anymore.

Giving also doesn’t come from the heart when it becomes something that you must do. When it comes from an inability to say ‘no’. When giving becomes something that you must do, then it will leave you depleted. The belief that when you say ‘no’ the other person will not get what he or she needs, is part of the distorted radio program. It ignores the option that the needs of the other person will be met by someone who can give from the heart in that moment.

Giving and receiving can become complicated when it is only seen in the context of two parties. What if you would see it like this: Thomas is babysitting the baby of Mary. Mary helps Ann with a computer problem. Ann gives a ride to Jim. And Jim helps Thomas with his taxes. You give to somebody whatever feels joyful to give. This will meet the needs of that person. And you receive from somebody else which will meet your needs.

This way of looking at giving and receiving already feels a bit more attuned to the right frequency, the right radio station. It removes the fears of being a burden and of being responsible for the needs of other people. The fear that the giving will not be from the heart. That the giving will be of the depleting kind. It requires some trust as well. The trust that needs can be met in a non-depleting way, by the one who is able and willing to give in that moment. It also requires a receptive and appreciative attitude. It requires the opening of the heart instead of closing the heart in fear.

This is exactly the shift of focus I mean and that will tune us in to the frequency of abundance. Insight comes first, and then comes the practicing. I saw clearly that when I was focusing mainly on giving, even if it was from the heart, I was not aware enough of what I was already receiving, from family, from friends, from nature, from life. By shifting my attention to what I was already receiving, I got in touch with the feeling of appreciation which gave a lot of positive energy. It is a mindset.

Another big shift was letting go of being in control. Letting go of having things my way. This feels very vulnerable. There is something you need, and then you have to let go of how this need will be met, by whom and when. To just stay open and receptive and wait for the right opportunity. To trust that this opportunity will come, and to stay in the not knowing how and when. My ego has issues with this. There is the temptation to allow negative thoughts to enter my mind. But part of the mindfulness practice is seeing what is going on in the mind, and to not go along with the negative thoughts.

Being able to say ‘no’ when giving will not come from the heart, prevents depletion, just as trusting that your needs will be met somehow and letting go of the details. Becoming aware of and appreciating what you are already receiving, gives energy.

The past week this has taken the following form in my life. Saying ‘no’ to open source work when it didn’t feel joyful on one day, and two days later doing it anyway because it felt good. Letting go of filling in the details of an appointment with two other people, because there was resistance on the part of one of them. And then a few days later all the puzzle pieces came together and everything went super smoothly. No resistance anymore. In previous years I could get quite stressed having to cook something special for Christmas. This time I was able to wait for the right mood to go look for recipes on the internet. I found several nice vegan recipes, I asked and got help from my daughters in cooking them and it was a success. When we were busy cooking, my husband spontaneously offered to clean the bathroom, which is actually my task, and I was grateful for that.

One night I couldn’t sleep because I felt a bit ill, but I did have inspiration to write part of this blog post. So I got up in the middle of the night to write, got back to bed again and fell asleep. Then on Wednesday, the day I usually post a new article, I had no time and no inspiration to finish the blog post. I practiced letting go again. In the evening there was the opportunity and inspiration to continue and finish up.

This week I tuned in to abundance, and it was a nice contrast to last week when I was experiencing lack and depletion. As I said, it is a practice. I know from experience that I can flip back in to the wrong frequency easily. It helps though when you know there is an other option.

I wish all of you a mindset of abundance. See you next week!

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