Love the Life You Lead. Spring 2014. DAY FOUR: Julie Daley

How would your life change if you came to know it as a gift you’ve been given with love?

To love the life we lead, to really love it, means we live from love, and love does not claim ownership. True love never claims ownership. To love the life we lead, we must come to receive this life for the gift it is.

Just the other morning, I was waking from a series of deep dreams, one of which was about dying. It wasn’t a morbid dream at all. Rather, it was alive and fresh and full of life. In the dream, it was so clear that I couldn’t know the day and time I would die. In the dream, I could clearly see that if I couldn’t know when my death would come then my life is not, and never really was, mine, meaning it is not something that I (the ego part of me) made happen. In seeing this, I (again my ego) could see that life is a gift. It is truly a gift. That gift is not something I have control over. It was given. And it wasn’t until waking from this dream, that I consciously ‘received’ this gift. I didn’t have to. I chose to. I chose to receive the gift, and in doing so, something shifted in me.

What happens when we receive a gift, truly receive it?

We don’t feel we have to give something back because we were given something. That isn’t true receiving…that’s being uncomfortable with receiving. I know. I’ve done it far too often. I get a gift, and I feel like I have to give something back. I know it’s to avoid having to feel the ‘receiving’.

We don’t just take it. That’s taking. That’s not receiving. Taking is unconsciousness. Taking lacks vulnerability. I know this, too. Too busy, too uncomfortable, I’ve forgotten even receiving the gift – not the thing, the gift.

When we truly receive it, we open to the giver and the gift. We become aware of both and we are moved and changed by the act.

When we truly receive it, we are conscious of the nature of a gift. It is given. It is given without expectation out of love. Now, many times in our lives gifts aren’t given this way. Rather, they’re tied up with all sorts of expectations. But I know I’ve received true gifts more than once in my life and even though I felt some discomfort at first, when I truly received them, my heart opened and I felt profound gratitude.

One such day was a few weeks after my husband died, unexpectedly. I lived on nine acres, half of which was meadow. He died in mid-April, so the grasses were growing fast. On the morning of this early day of May, a friend knocked on the door. When I opened it, she said hello and then she told me (as she pointed to them) that her husband and teenaged son were there to cut the acres of grass for me. I was astounded. At first I argued (I knew her but not all that well), but she graciously told me they were doing it anyway. As I stood there in the doorway, big tears began to fall. I was so moved by this gift that was given without any expectation in return. I had been worried about how I would take care of things, worried because the grief was still interfering with any kind of rational thought process. I accepted it. I invited her in for tea. She stayed with me until they were done with the weed cutting. And with her there with me, I realized how alone I had felt and what a gift it was to have someone in my home with me. She (and her family) gave me gifts unimaginable. And when she left, all she said to me was, we love you and if you need anything at all, we are here. And to this day, I remember this gift given with true love. She taught me that. To truly give a gift is to give it without expectation.

Back to my dream:

As I was in this half-awake/half-asleep state, before my mind began to get to work, the grace of the gift of this life was profoundly evident, as was the possibility of a different way of living, knowing that this life is given with such love.

If life is a gift, then life is not asking for anything in return. Life has offered this life in love. But, most of us forget life is a gift, and in doing so we forget how it is to be with something so remarkable. This thing called life is truly remarkable. It is awe inducing, if we let ourselves receive and be moved.

We don’t have to give anything back. Many of us take, and want more, and never feel like we get enough. And this gets to the heart of our dis-ease, the heart of our not loving our lives. To love our lives, means we must come to know love. Many of us don’t want to go into our dis-ease, but when we do we discover a longing to know this kind of love. And when we see what we’ve been given, and we give thanks, we begin to respond with like graciousness, with an organic reciprocity. It is humbling, and it is joyous.



About melindarabrams

Melinda Abrams, CPCC, MSA is a champion of the shared experience. She consistently moves individuals and groups to deeper levels of connection and support, and models ‘being moved’ by what is present in the space. She believes that in this creative combustion, capacity expands ….simply, naturally, magnificently. In addition to coaching corporate executives, Melinda takes great pleasure collecting and sharing messages about Loving the Life you Lead on facebook and her blog Moving Leaders. She loves coaching, delivering experiential programs at outdoor education centers, teaching teleclasses, holding weekend retreats, and guiding leaders to MOVE. Melinda brings over 20 years of teaching and leadership development to Moving Leaders. Her work spans experiences with youth, corporate clients, and both business and medical graduate students at Duke, University of North Carolina, North Carolina State and Wake Forest Universities. Her commitment is to serve emerging leaders as they move towards shared enthusiastic leadership. And YES! Melinda is also an artist. She creates unique handpainted scarves. In my art, my coaching, and my spiritual practice I consistently return to wonder and awe. As I turn to wonder and create from there I experience a profound connection with source. This movement brings me to this latest series of scarves. I love the idea of wrapping oneself in an idea–an intention– a possibility, and creating beauty with that intention. My hope is that when one chooses this scarf to wear, they turn from disconnected bland to soulful brilliant. Of course when the scarf is open and hung you can read the message, yet when it is draped and worn, the message is simply seen as a design. My promise is that the wearer is reminded to turn towards the message and that the message is shared through the wearers actions and interactions with others. Melinda Abrams Melinda loves living in Chapel Hill, NC with her husband and three children.
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