What do you think about when you hear the words “giving with your body”. The perception that giving with the body is a sexual thing dismisses how we give with our body every day. Dancers give with their body all the time and that’s not only a sexual energy, it is life-force energy. The life-force energy is the greatest gift of the body and giving this energy is the spirit of giving. The spirit of giving is exactly about giving life – and giving life with the body, the force of our planet that continues to rotate on its axis and give us life.
Giving is a physical thing, a physical action. Giving (without food or gifts) is also an intention. And at Christmas we celebrate giving its it spiritual form – the spirit of giving, the mother of Jesus giving birth to the child, people giving the hospitality of their homes to others.
The time of Christmas in the Northern hemisphere coincides with Winter Solstice – the shortest day of the year, symbolically the dark before the “first star” that symbolizes the rising of the sun or coming of the savior or sun god. Inspiration is represented by the brightest star that appears in that slither of time between the end of the darkest day and before the rising sun.
Within the symbolism of Christmas, Solstice and the end of the year and the beginning of the next we have the ancient symbol of giving. People may moan about “why do we have to give only at Christmas” but the symbolism of this time of year is to remind us in even the darkest time – there is the opportunity to give and this gives us the star moments of our life. This spirit of giving is also very physical act of giving, represented most fully in the giving of the Mother to bear child, even in the humblest and darkest of situations.
So what makes the act of giving, the physicality of giving with all our body and essence, such a spiritually transcendent experience?
Giving in the body – is not a verbal experience – it brings us back to primal and natural responses. As humans we have the gift to not simply give – we have the gift to understand what another person needs so we can provide that for them.
The spirit of giving is an ability to intuit, feel, sense without words what someone needs and provide it for them, simply because we have the desire to make them feel happy, whole, comforted, loved.
The essence of giving is not giving what you want to give. It is about suspending what you know is right and feeling into the moment, the other person, and what they need in the moment.
Maybe that’s why buying something for someone at Christmas can be so confounding. What they say they want , may not be what you feel they need!
So how do we allow our body to sense better what the other person needs?
First you can mentally decide – to ask the question: I wonder what they need right now? The most important thing a person can be given is the opportunity to be received – exactly as they are. When they have that environment of receptivity – then they can allow their desires to come forth.
After you have developed a receptive attitude and intention to the other – watch their body movements. Where are they holding tension? What are their hands doing? Is their tension in their head, the way their mouth moves? Maybe there is tension in their words. Ask them what do they feel? Ask them if they can explain what their feelings mean.
In response to their body, allow your own body to breathe and relax so you can feel receptive in your body. Instead of doing or giving advice, find a way to just ask them how they are feeling and let yourself relax into a space where they can release themselves and go deeper into what they are feeling.
Avoid habits to give advice, try to understand what they are feeling. Giving advice is helpful but first it is important to really allow the person to express themselves, verbalise or feel what it is they are feeling and what these feelings mean for them.
In the body, the art of giving is best found in the arms – that’s why a hug is our most powerful way to give and be received. And when you do not have the feeling to hug someone, another option to creating a receptive space is to breathe and soften into the center of the palms, and feel how your hands and arms are connected all the way to your chest and heart. Soften the back of the heart as well, take a breath and lift the shoulders and drop the shoulder blades down the back.
Breathing through the center of the palms, hands and feeling into the heart are energetic ways to connect to the receptive part of you that can allow the other person feel the gift you are giving them or being loved for who they are.