Real giving v. 'fake' giving
Don’t offer me anything
Or I’ll think it’s a bargain:
Be the sun
Where I didn’t expect it
Make me weep
That you are here
Sit next to me
Loving whatever you see
And I’ll give you
All I have
It's just under two weeks since I wrote this poem and within days I received my first 'response', then another. The trick? I identified clearly and specifically what it was that I wanted: that experience of someone just seeing what you need, 'getting it' and you not having to ask. Although one of my new year intentions is to ask for what I need, I also want to not have to ask, especially at the moment. I don't currently want to sift through masses of information, go to a workshop, read books, attend webinars, watch any video that's longer than 10 minutes. At this point in time I don't want someone to pass me a 'gift' or recommendation that will take up more of my limited time.
So you might be wondering, how do I get this 'giving' business right? Isn't it the done thing to check you're not overstepping the mark with whatever it is you're suggesting? Whenever two people come together in any situation (work, friendships, family, love) they start to form a third unit which is the two of them combining. In order for this relationship to be satisfying to both, one of them then falls into the role of giver, and the other of receiver. They may bounce the roles back and forward as many times as they like, but the key factor is the quality of the giving. This is because the giver is at any given time, the one who is in the dominant 'male', role and therefore 'leading', as in a dance (note: by 'dominant' I do not mean aggressive). The receiver is in the 'feminine' role. You may have heard people talking about learning to 'receive more'. This only works if you know what good giving looks like, and are able to identify and reject fake giving. Effective giving leaves you feeling looked after and satisfied, disfunctional giving leaves you feeling confused and in a state of tension which will eventually come between you and the other person.
For example, you chat to a friend saying how you'd like a night out with your other half, you haven't had one in ages, and they say to you, 'I could babysit for you sometime'.... There is a likelihood you might never take them up on it, as you're not convinced they really mean it. They haven't followed through. You have the responsibility of actioning this - picking a date, asking if they're free. You don't want to impose on them. Maybe they were just being kind etc. However, if they say to you right away 'ok, when are you both free? How about this Saturday? I am not doing anything and it's no problem - I can play with the kids and watch a movie'. Then you are more likely to be able to receive. Think about it, in the first situation you probably feel heavy and lacklustre towards the offer (the responsibility is yours), in the second scenario you most likely start smiling and feeling lighter even if Saturday is initially not the right day for you.
Another example: you receive a Christmas card or Facebook message from someone you haven't seen in ages who says 'we must meet up', or 'hope to see you in 2018'. How are you supposed to respond to this? It is neither giving nor receiving. You feel you need to either take the initiative (which you may not do, as you're not convinced they really want to see you), or quietly file it. How do you feel? If they said, 'We haven't caught up in ages, I'll phone/email you soon to set up a date' - you are feeling more optimistic and perhaps pleasantly surprised.
Your employer tells you 'we really value you' but can't currently offer you a pay rise. How do you feel? Confused, in doubt, low in energy towards your work? What would a 'real giving' approach look like? Perhaps: 'I can't do anything right now, but in three months time we'll sit down with HR and see what can be done - let's put it straight in the diary'. That feels more positive. You may not be 100% satisfied with the situation, but how do you feel about the relationship?
This is tantra, and it works for all your relationships.
To get this right, you need to bring yourself into resonance with the person in question and think of them as a part of you. Instead of small talk (or while you're warming up), ask yourself 'What does this person need from me right now?', 'What might they be trying to give me?'. Breathe and feel into the space in between you. Assume that if you've found yourself in the same place as someone at the same time, that there is an effective interaction to be had. Stop for a moment and allow an idea or intuition to surface rather than just filling the space with chatter because silence is too 'real'. When you are having a conversation with someone observe how the roles change - if you are just chatting, who is giving and who is receiving? If you are asking someone to listen to you while you get something off your chest, you are actually receiving and they are giving you the space to talk and their attention. Do you want advice (unless you've asked for it, probably not, you just want them to listen). How can you make your giving better? Can you be more specific about what you want to receive? Once you understand quality giving, you are more able to receive freely, as you understand that someone who is giving effectively is gaining great satisfaction. There will be a flow of trust, love and enthusiasm in your relationship which will keep it energised and vibrant.
You also need to actively root out fake giving. Fake giving allows the other party to trick themselves into feeling good in their mind, but they're actually subconsciously messing with you. This is how the ego works - it gets you to slither out of quality interactions, thus keeping you in a state of separation. People do this all the time and it results in poor relationships or destroys them completely. Somewhere you are not being authentic, If you spot fake or ineffective giving from one of your relationships, make sure you test it - throw it back to the other party and make sure they know it's their responsibility. 'What do you suggest?', 'When do you suggest'. 'What do you suggest we do about it?'. That way, even on a subconscious level, you will be forcing them to respond to you better, with more love. If you've started to 'go off' them, and the relationship is waning, realise that this is the disfunction talking, not the real person. If you are able to kickstart good giving and receiving, you will warm to them again and them to you.
Tantra is an art, and it thrives on allowing, being present and authentic, not 'performing'. If you felt forced into fake giving, or giving that didn't leave you satisfied, you are probably falling into the mistake of performing. Why did you feel you had to do that? Whose expectations were they? So practice giving, and identify examples of real giving in your own life. Receiving will then fall into place.
Now, time for a song from one of my favourite musicals - My Fair Lady. Listen to what the lady says....
confidence - freedom - passion