Today is the 4th of July and as Americans we are to celebrate our independence from England. Turns out, I’m actually tired of celebrating independence and wanting to forget about the word. It implies not needing anyone or anything else. Somewhere along the way I decided my worth came from how little I needed other people. Somewhere along the way this becomes a very sad way of logic, even for someone who enjoys time alone. That my friends, or strangers, is madness. There will never be a time in my life I won’t need others, mostly for love, which is something I can give to myself and also must receive from sources outside of myself.

We’ve been told for so long, it is better to give than receive. So many of us feel uncomfortable receiving gifts because we have to give them. We have no one to give to anymore. I get squirmy having meals paid for or even receiving touch sometimes. It’s crazy. I’ve prided myself for so long on being independent and not needing anyone. The difficulty for me in receiving is vulnerability and surrender. So I’m practicing my receptivity to see what gifts come my way when I simply allow myself to be given to. This week, I found a ton of change, some clothes on the sidewalk and I wanted, and even had my dinner paid for twice.

In Buddhism monks must ask for ohms, I never realized how much begging for money was actually a strong way receiving. In America we look down on people who ask or assert their needs. We have become so off balance. Believing showing vulnerability is a weakness. Having needs isn’t a weakness, not asking for them to be met is. I need to be touched, I need to feel loved, I need to know that in the mystery of life there are others whom I can depend upon.I’m getting there, I can get myself to call someone now when I’m sad or even ask someone to hug me when I need a friendly touch.In the end interdependence is what we crave. Imagine what it would be like if celebrated our interdependence with England and every other country, acknowledging the mutual relationship necessary for either of us to exist. Nowhere in nature does an animal or plant claim not to need anyone/anything else. We are each others life bloods (note picture above), and it’s time we start acting like it. So, that’s the beauty of interdependence, we actually need each other…not more independence.

Here’s a beautiful poem by Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. (gulp, that’s a long title) from Riverside Church in NYC:
Recieving and Giving
I’m a novice when it comes to receiving.
Giving has become my expertise.
But giving alone without getting
becomes soon a fatal disease

If the intake valve is not opened
There’s no way to maintain a supply.
There comes a point in the cycle of life
When the out-going stream runs dry.

Straining out love from a vacuum
Is like drinking from a heart of stone.
Try as we may, at the end of the day,
We’re exhausted, frustrated, and alone.

“Better to give than receive,” we are taught.
Yet another truth I’ve learned just by living:
Only the soul with the grace to receive,
Excels in the fine art of giving.

Today I’m grateful for quiet libraries, favorite yoga classes, and massages.

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