The Art of Receptivity
December is a wonderful and peculiar month. It can be full of equal measures of joy, fun, bliss, violence and magick. Peculiar. I used to want a ‘perfect’ Christmas, whatever that means. I think there’s something about other people not knowing the ‘work’ which goes into a natural and easy Christmas. A bit like natural makeup, you know the type to take one hour or three. What does it matter if I’m seen covered in flour or the food isn’t right? What does it matter if I’m in loungewear till 4pm? Why do presents have to cost January? Oh and what does it matter that I have never, nor will ever cook a traditional (says who?) Christmas dinner. The House of Love Schock is a Turkey free zone my friends. It’s a ‘we cook anything, except what everyone else is cooking,’ kinda week.
Jan of this year (2018) I contributed to an article in Psychologies ‘Get as Good as You Give,’ I did attempt to find the piece online, but alas it escapes me. If you find it, email me the link and I’ll bob it in here. Speaking with journalist Elle Tucker we wondered why was it so hard to be imperfect and what the hell did it mean to truly receive anyway?!
Out of that began a year long enquiry for me, ‘what if receptivity was my art?’ As in, what if I lived a life so FULL of receiving I made it an actual art form. Something so beautiful it removes any of the weirdness of giving and being given to. Every compliment given, ooh lovely I’ll keep that somewhere safe, thank you. Every job opportunity, inhaled and cared for, making the choice from whether it is a good fit long term and when I say long term I mean 25 years, not a couple of months. We live too quickly, but I’ll talk about that later in the month. This blog is about to explode into all sorts of different directions.
What if I got so good at receiving - people, God, The Universe, love from my husband, friends, family, Shadow our cat….that it sort of acted like a catalyst to create a new super highway in my brain. The super highway of receptivity AND at the same time as I was receiving I was also giving. Jesus said ‘Give and it is Given.’ To be fair he and his entourage rarely spoke about receiving, but in today’s language, receptivity as an art form is lighting me up. You might also be thinking, were you there Gail, with Jesus? Well you know me….never say never.
I often wonder about Jesus and his trustees, can you imagine what they must have looked like arriving in town…I’m thinking a mix of camels, donkies, maybe a sort of buggy or two. Really great threads, layers, I feel they did layering really well. And do you ever think about their fundraising needs? I do. I reckon Jesus was one of THE earliest and best fundraisers. In the book of Luke, there is mention of more than one lady donor to the great cause Love. How sexy is that? Bear in mind The Bible was written by a fella some 400 years after JC and the original boy band had fully and truly departed from their flesh suits, but that is also a conversation for another day. Back to JC the fundraiser…..Imagine it as an ‘honest trailer’ (and if you haven’t watched any of those, get over to YouTube immediately…well after you’ve read this mash up of my thoughts for the day.)
JC the leader, son of God, here to remind people everyone is part of universal Oneness and yes - you to can make a few fish and loaves stretch really far. And I mean REALLY far. Trend setter, all round good guy, blind to illness and ready for love, great at booking tables with twice as much room as is needed, and not afeard of tipping them over and throwing a right hook if needed.
Mary Magdalene, Mystic, teacher, Beloved, she wasn’t looking for love or a family of brothers. Trained by Isis, Egyptian Priestess, her mission to raise consciousness for a cause so great it would be talked about for thousands of years. All she has to do is help JC to visit the underworld for 3 days, coming back in time for the great awakening. In years to come kids will paint chicken eggs and adults will dress up as giant bunnies to remember somebody coming back from the ‘dead.’
Featuring Mother Mary and Joseph, teachers of forgiveness, the importance of having a good trade and not asking too many questions.
The boy band, they go where JC goes. Full of support, love and devotion until they aren’t. Jealous of Mary Magdalene, no longer wanting to play backing singer…a rift begins to form.
Jesus. The Last Supper. At Cinema’s December 25th.
Back to normal voice…. If you’ve never noticed….and it was my friend Robert Holden who showed me and many others this, in a recent Enneagram Experience - look to Jesus and Mary, that space right there, the wee vee is what Christian mystics rever to as the ‘The sacred heart.’ Can you see it? The balance of divine feminine and masculine. The beginning of something, and an ending. Da Vinci was a gifted artist, he saw the divine in everything he co-created, his religion is still much debated. For me it matters little, his artistry and capacity for Love as shows in everything he does is far more interesting.
As I say, December gives us a lot to ponder. For example, what is Christmas to you? If anything. Maybe it’s down time, up time, late time, beach time with the family. Maybe it’s simply December. Let’s not forget ALL the other celebrations going on world wide, here’s a quick list across the rest of month and early Jan…for fun! Although….if you win a pub quiz because of the below, let me know and yes, I’d love to share the kitty with you. *Art of Receptivity remember.
2 December ADVENT SUNDAY Christian (Western Churches)
3 December to 10 December HANUKAH Jewish
8 December BODHI DAY Buddhist
8 December IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY Christian (Roman Catholic)
10 December HUMAN RIGHTS DAY (National)
21 December (Friday) WINTER SOLSTICE (Alban Arthan or Alban Arthuan) Druid AND YULE (archaic form Geola, pronounced Yula) Wiccan / Pagan
24 December CHRISTMAS EVE Christian
25 December CHRISTMAS DAY Christian
26 December ZARATOSHT NO DISO Zoroastrian (Iranian)
31 December OMISOKA Japanese AND HOGMANAY National
1 January GANJITSU Japanese AND THE CIRCUMCISION OR NAMING OF JESUS Christian (Jewish)
4 January BIRTHDAY OF GURU GOBIND SINGH (1666 CE) Sikh
6 January ETHIOPIAN CHRISTMAS DAY Christian
11 January BIRTHDAY OF SWAMI VIVEKANANDA Hindu
Amazing right? All those wonderful things going on and here we are in the UK, arguing over how to make eggnog or if the tree angel is sitting straight or not.
A wee reminder in the West in particular the reason Santa looks like he does is because Coca-Cola drew him that way. Meanwhile (a few decades or so ago) The British Royal Family had Prince Albert introducing an outside tree indoors, calling it a Christmas Tree and hallmark had all those boxes of glitter they wondered what they were going to do with and created cards. Turkey’s are a hangover from the odd holiday that is thanks giving. Nothing wrong with giving thanks, but not when it’s thanks for your country original settlers, this is our land now. Nope. Also…it always struck me as odd we don’t actually eat fish on 25 December from a Christian point of view, but there you go.
December is a marketer’s dream in the UK, but I wonder have you noticed how brands are recycling adverts? A subtext perhaps to spending a little less on new, and reflecting on what we already have? One can dream.
Iceland had their Christmas advert banned. Genius. It went viral and ensures more people note that Iceland, the store, considered at times as a shop for ‘poor people,’ has managed to ban palm oil from all of its products and yet the ‘posh people’ shops are dragging their plastic wrap covered ankles. Sort it out folks. Bring back brown paper bags for fruit and veggies at the very least. And thank goddess for the fill your own places popping up here, there and everywhere. Magick.
I enjoy this time of year, but it’s never a year end for me so I think that goes some way to taking the pressure off. I LOVE Hogmanay, giving thanks and enjoying all the elements, yes this includes Whisky, but I never wake up on Jan 1st with resolutions or thinking ‘Thank F*ck a new year.’ This takes the pressure off.
Instead of resolutions I choose a word or theme to explore for the year. It’s simply a wee bit more loving and that’s really what this time of year is about. It asks us to love a lot of other people, but I’d like to ask you to love yourself as well. Spending time with people you like, finding forgiveness in your heart for when you want to stop a family member short, fighting over the last of something in the shop…I wonder if we can all care a little less about what we think it should look like and let it look like what it is. Whatever that is for you.
There are a lot of folks without family or friends everyday of the year, at Christmas the emotional blackmail starts early on TV and in big stores, but maybe there is a way to help out not simply this month, but a couple of hours every month. In the UK, The Samaritans, The Salvation Army, Homeless Shelters, reading projects, even digging your local allotment for someone with arthritis all help. This is about community, not emotional immunity.
So this is a helluva long blog…with a lot to think about, but you know, that is how my heart operates, she feels a lot, wonders and ponders how best to help. Let’s reflect on where we began today? Oh yes, receptivity. Right well….I’m working on receptivity being my art, which also includes starting as a voluntary trustee for a lovely local charity, more to follow on this and a few other things which I’ll save for your stockings, should you hang them.
Thank you in advance for all the goodness you are sending and have ever sent. AND if you have ever complimented me or said something loving and you felt I didn’t receive this fully I am sorry for that, I’ve learnt this year what it really does to the heart and the nervous system not to have something fully received in a loving way it was intended. I’ve realised also sometimes it takes different people different amounts of time to receive and this is a loving reminder for you or someone you know who might be a wee bit like that. Know today, on this fine day I receive all the goodness you share. I hope you can and will do the same for you. I wish you all happiness across this and every month and I send you so much love darling readers.
Here’s my prayer,
May we receive love easily
May we see the good in all
May we laugh a lot and make eye contact with everyone we see
May we stop for conversation and to watch the stars
May receptivity be our art
May we create art together
May we remember love
May we be love
Blessings my darlings, so many blessings.
Remember you can bless someone else with a Love Schock Meditation. Head here to find a stocking filler or five.