We hear so much about the importance of giving. There’s plenty written about the science of generosity and happiness, with more listicles and pop psychology articles here, here, here, here, and here. You get the point, giving is important.
In acting, I learned the importance of giving and receiving. To make scenes come alive from their scripted unrealities, you had to listen to your fellow actor, to receive their words and intent, in order to give something back and build the dynamics of the scene. And the first thing you learn in improv is “yes, and”, as in “yes” I heard you, “and” here’s my response to that.
When you stop receiving, your scenes don’t make sense, your sketches fall flat, you miss out on the subtle cues that could awaken the words on the page. Giving and receiving are a cycle, and if you disrupt one, you inherently disrupt both. So, I find it interesting that less is written about the importance of receiving.
Why does any of this matter? It doesn’t quite frankly. My tarot card reader just happened to call out that I needed to learn how to receive more, and only then would I be able to give my fullest. One could call this bullshit “juju advice”. But one could also elicit curiosity and try to figure out what meta thing this might mean.
I’ve received a lot these past six months in Asia: exposure to a completely new culture in Cambodia, memories and reflections on Vietnam, and the sights and scenes of a handful of countries. I feel like I’ve been given so much with these adventures and stories of a lifetime.
What else could I be gifted?
I planned on visiting the temples of Gyeongju alone, but as fate would have it, I hopped on the same bus at a different stop as a hostel mate. We ended up trekking together, and I had an awesome time. I could have lost out on receiving conversation, observations from a second set of eyes, and the merriment of wandering with a companion. I learned that solitude isn’t always the right choice, and as humans having connection is perfectly normal. The ultra independent lone wolf in me has a hard time accepting this.
In Bangkok, another travel buddy brought carelessness and provoked my anger, which nearly ended our friendship. However, as I put aside my emotions, I also recognized the honesty, affection, and childlike lightheartedness that had been given to me during the trip, that I had overlooked and taken for granted. Yet again, I received the lessons of letting go of my anger and finding gratitude that I had previously failed to recognize. It’s easy to miss the seemingly tiny things that make life delightful, like sidewalks or good people.
So with that, I challenge you to receive the gifts that come your way, even if they seem small or shitty. They don’t always come in a box. Accept that breath you just took, the heartbreak you’re mending, the time spent with your family. To receive is to acknowledge the lessons and gratitudes manifested before you. With this comes awareness and strength, which are pretty dope gifts in my opinion.
This is the second of a three-part series. Check out part one. Tune in next week for the last bit of my tarot card reading, word garbage, and basic ass photography.