My daughter Sarah will leave school today to lead a retreat. The Kairos retreat is a significant experience in the lives of students who attend Jesuit institutions. At Regis High School, students attend Kairos in the junior year and have the opportunity to lead a group at the retreat in their senior year. I am grateful Sarah has the chance to not only look at her life and reflect on her own growth, but to relay her story to others and provide hope. On our drive this morning to drop her at school, I told Sarah that my prayer this week would be for her to be open to the experience and allow praise and affirmation to come back in without judgment. Like so many of us, she is one who has a hard time accepting compliments. It made me think of the many ways our posture affects how well we receive.
My friend Andrea just blogged about being open to the support around us. Many times, we pull in when things are tough, maybe as a way of protecting ourselves from more pain. And when we “clam up” we are literally pulling ourselves into a shell where we think we can’t feel pain, and we can’t receive the love and support that is coming our way. We become isolated from the only thing that can save us- connection.
Besides being a clam, we can also stand as a brick wall. We may look like we are open to what the world is ready to offer, yet we stand rigid with close fists and a carefully guarded heart, and an air of judgement surrounding us. The person who is judged most harshly is our own self.
Standing with arms open and palms up, even if only energetically, we allow ourselves to receive what is good from the universe. Yes, we are most vulnerable in this position, yet it is this same vulnerability that links us to others, and we are connected by our imperfections. We we are not so afraid to be human, amazing things happen.
So today and this week, I am praying that Sarah will stand with arms open wide, willingly receiving all the love and praise she deserves.
And what stance will you take today? Are you willing to receive all of life with ease and joy?