What is receiving?
As we move through our own self-exploration, receiving may seem like the next area to master. We hear about it as it relates to pleasure, money and creativity. We know about it in love – in forms like attention, compliments, or help and support.
The fascinating refrain I often hear from clients is, “I’m working on receiving.” Sometimes even, “I’m not good at receiving.” And I have to wonder— is receiving something we are “good at”? Is it something we practice? Or is it something that is just like our capacity for pleasure or creativity? Something that we inherently know how to do – have only forgotten.
Perhaps it’s a little bit of both.
How receiving is both a practice and something that already is
We were not often taught how to receive. We may in fact be rewarded for templates that seem at odds with ‘receiving.’ The ‘good’ mother, daughter or friend. The caretaker. The one who ‘has it all together.’ The public servant. The person who can do it all on their own.
We also may have experienced fracture when it comes to receiving. In a time when we felt misunderstood, like we weren’t truly seen. When asking for help was deemed its own kind of weakness. When experiences in love or career suggested that it was not safe to open ourselves up in that way.
Many times, it feels safer to ‘do’ and ‘achieve’ for ourselves. It can feel easier than allowing for the vulnerability of asking from another. Safer than the pause of the unknown. Still, if we can notice our relationship to receiving (i.e. how we know or have known it), and can notice our edge, there is always room to deepen our capacity for it. We can learn how to receive our own touch, time and attention. We can look to our bodies, particularly our breast and pelvic space, to do so.
A breast massage practice as a way to receive
Our bodies innately know how to receive. It may exist under layers of clunkiness or lived experiences, but inherently, receiving is a range or frequency like any other. Use the following sequence as a way to drop into your heart and breast space – to meet your edge and remember what you have always known.
Create a space to be held
- Take a moment to consider the space where you will be practicing. Clear any clutter and allow for any items that bring a sense of honor, pleasure or comfort– a candle, freshly cut flowers, a meaningful token, crystals or stones, or a curated playlist. Allow these elements to be pillars of your experience. When we create the space (or the masculine container), we allow for receiving (or the art of the feminine) to come through.
- Settle into a supported position, either seated in a way that allows you to rest over your sit bones, or lying directly against a bed, floor, or stack of pillows.
- Connect with the feeling of your spine extending up from the small of your back. Imagine a sense of buoyancy here. Register the feeling of your shoulder blades like wings around your spine.
- Now, bring your attention to your heart space. Nestled and protected within the curve of your lungs and the bones of your rib cage. Allow your breath to come into the space between your breastbone and spine. A gentle expansion with each inhale. A softening with each exhale.
- Imagine again your heart space. Receiving your breath. Drinking it. Being fed by it. Imagine the back of your heart filling with each inhale. The front, now filled, expressing its voice with each exhale. Connect with a sense of buoyancy in your chest. Imagine your heart blooming here.
- As your heart continues to receive, gently offer the question, ‘‘what do you want to receive?’ or ‘what do you need from me?’ Allow a beat for an answer. If you’re met with silence, know that your heart has received your breath, your question. Allow the silence to be enough.
Receive your touch, your attention
- Using an oil (rose, castor or sesame oil are beautiful options here), begin to brush broad strokes around the perimeter of your left breast. Imagine that with each stroke you are receiving your touch, your attention, your love.
- Notice the cadence of your breath as you do and allow it to be a barometer; if it becomes shallow or absent, bring a hand back to your heart space and land there. Our touch may bring about a charged or clunky frequency, at first. We may notice a very busy mind. Allow these pieces to be present, breathing into any sensation that arises. Is there a way you can make these strokes less about something you’re ‘doing’? Can you pay attention to the particular sensation that’s arising for you – a swell, a buzz, an ache? Bring your attention back to the bones of your hand against the bones of your chest as an anchor, if you need to.
- Now, turn your attention back to your heart and offer the question, ‘are you ready to be touched?’ or ‘what kind of touch do you desire?’ Notice if you are intuitively drawn to the quality of your own hand, or another type of input. A Chakrubs breast massager can be a powerful and supportive option here.
- Continue to ask your body, ‘how would you like to be touched?’ and follow her lead, repeating the same sequence with your right breast.
*If you are still tuning into your body’s desires, you can use the following sequence as a guide.
- Imagine the shape of your left breast within the four directions or like a clock. Beginning at the North (or 12 o’clock), moving towards the West (3 o’clock), towards the South (6 o’clock) or the East (9 o’clock), apply sweeping strokes in towards your nipple.
- Notice what sensation you are feeling as you do. What areas feel dense, sticky or awkward? Which areas feel pleasurable, relieving or curious? Breathe into each of these, letting them rise to the surface. Complete 3-5 rotations around your breast, until you feel complete.
- Now, with one hand, lift your left breast up towards the North (or 12 o’clock), and then let it fall towards the Earth. Repeat this 5-7 times. Imagine any congestion or stickiness raining down into the Earth, being absorbed by the wet soil below. Remember the parts of your body that are in contact with the ground – the backs of your thighs, the nose of your pelvis, your root. Breathe into these.
- Now, cradle your breast between both hands, either at the North and South, East and West, or whatever position feels intuitive to you. Gently move your breast tissue around those same directions, lingering in the spaces that you need to and holding your breast there.
- Release your breast when you feel complete. With one to two fingers, trace the circumference of your areola towards your nipple. Grasp your nipple between your forefinger and thumb, gently drawing the tissue away from your ribcage.
- Repeat steps 7-15 on your right side, either following a sense of intuitive touch or the sequence on offer.
Remember what is
- To close, bring one or both hands back to your heart. Imagine a golden thread encircling your heart in an infinity symbol, connecting the front and back. Imagine this shape widening to reach the front and back of your body, touching your breastbone and your spine – a union between both parts of you. Now, imagine that this shape starts to spin. Sweeping from the front, to the left, to the back, to the right – creating a sense of levity and power.
When we show up for ourselves again and again, we realize receiving is not something that we know how to ‘do’ – only create the space to remember. We allow our hearts to fill into their fullest expression. We see how receiving becomes something that just is – a rhythm, a frequency within our wild feminine shape.
Image by Jenny Sotelo