I was sitting on the toilet, thinking of the gifts I had received, and why some of these gifts bothered me so much. I think I came to a realization and an understanding.
My grandmother wrapped up, in a paper bag and used USPS box, two iron skillets she had sold, without consulting mom or I, to an antiques dealer that visited a month or so ago. One of the skillets had been mine. The thing about iron skillets is that the new ones are not made as well as the older ones, and as mine was one of the older skillets, it was more valuable than I knew. I only found out after doing some research online. I never knew how much I liked my iron skillet until I no longer had it.
Tonight I asked myself why this bothered me, what was wrong with it, and it’s kind of hard to put my finger on, but the best phrase I could use is, “hollow gift.” What grandma gave my mom and I had no thought to it. No love behind it. She only contacted the people she had sold the skillet to because I asked her. She had asked me how to make it right, she wanted to pay me $20.00, I told her I did not want the money, and to make it right what she could do is try to get the skillet back. But I made no demands and left the choice up to her. So really there was no gift for my mom and I, only a gift to herself, of making the situation right so she could feel better.
It was clearer with my uncle’s gift to me. I had taken the time to print out a list, and I had given a copy to everyone as well as posted it on Facebook (and on this blog.) I listed a shaving brush, with holder, as one of the items. I think I specifically said a horsehair shaving brush and holder, because I had read that horsehair worked well as a shaving brush, and it was free of animal cruelty. My uncle gave me a very cheaply made in China portable grooming kit. Probably not much better quality than what you would find at your local Dollar Tree. It did not contain a shaving brush and holder.
The problem with the gift is not the physical form of it. It is the energy behind how it was given. My uncle’s gift showed either A. A complete disregard for what I wanted or B. An assumption that he knew what would be better for me (assuming he bought this because he knew I planned to bicycle down to California next year.) It shows a lack off care, concern, or love.
We are all sensitive to this. Every meal someone took the time to lovingly make by hand tastes better than anything you will pull out of the freezer isle at your local grocery store. Ever wonder why so much salt and additives like MSG is needed in these processed foods? Because the food is made by machines, which means there is no energy of love in the making of the food.
Along the same lines, if some aunt of ours spends a few months knitting a sweater, because she loves us and wants us to be warm during the winter, chances are that sweater will become our favorite, no matter how ugly we may think it to be. More than likely however, if she takes that much time to make it, the item will be very beautiful and use colors that we either like or work with us. We grimace over the handmade family sweaters, but if they were made with love, we still keep them in our closets and wear them on the holidays!
The physical form of the gift is unimportant. In fact you could say that the physical form of a gift is the physical manifestation of the energy with which it has been given. Whether that gift is clothing, or food, or even a prepaid debit card, if the energy in its giving was careful, caring, concerned, loving or thoughtful, we will receive it warmly, even if we hide it. It will touch us inside. On some level wee know the spirit with which the gift was given.
Likewise if the energy in which something was given is cold, hateful, spiteful or unloving, it will bother us. We won’t want it, no matter what it is. It could be that Ferrari we always asked for. We may even smile and think we are happy with our gift. But deep down we know the truth, and we will either crash the Ferrari, or it will break down or get stolen. Yet the loss of the Ferrari will be a relief, even if we are unaware of it. It does not matter how wonderful the physical form is, that is a manifestation of the energy in which the gift was given, and that is what is important.
Remember this lesson well next Christmas, and on the Birthdays to come! When considering giving someone a gift, no matter the reason, look inside and see what kind of energy you have towards this person at that moment. Do you secretly dislike them? Do you despise them? Do you genuinely care about them? Do you want them to be happy? Do you care about them, or feel you love them? Do they mean little to you, or a lot? Do you want to sleep with them? All of this will become a part of thee item you give them.
For example, if you have sexual fantasies about someone you get a gift for, it could be an innocent teddy bear yet they will know your true feelings. If they are not interested in you they will probably tell you, or reject the gift! If they want to get you into bed you better be ready! Understand that the rejection or acceptance of your gift is not really a rejection or acceptance of you. What is being rejected or accepted is the sexual desire you sent with the gift. They will either be interested and reciprocate, or not interested and reject. Do not take it personally. Take it as a sign of how they feel about you sexually only.
Let me repeat this… The rejection or acceptance of your gift is not really a rejection or acceptance of you. What is being rejected or accepted is the energy you sent with the gift. This is probably why a child you try to buy off with expensive toys will reject your gifts, even if they initially accept them. They will end up broken at some point. Because what they really want is for you to care about them. You are trying to substitute caring with a physical item. Yet if you have no caring to give, whatever the physical form of your gift, it will lack caring. There will be no energy of caring behind the gift!
I bought a DVD player for my brother. I spent a little energy and time looking for exactly what he asked for. He wanted something with 3D capabilities, I did the research and searching, found something well reviewed with 3D and 4K support. The Blu-ray player is not my gift to my brother, nor is the money spent on it. The gift was the energy and effort put into getting what was asked for. I cared enough to pay attention to what my brother had asked for, and not only did I look for that, I also looked for the best choice. The physical manifestation of this caring has taken the form of a 3D Blu-ray player.
That is only half the battle. I also have to work on my criticism and judgment, which unfortunately are also behind the energy of the gift. Based solely on past experience, I know, or feel I know, that this Blu-ray player will end up at a pawn shop, as soon as my brother wants some cash, and I am pretty sure he won’t be able to get it back. It is too high quality of an item, it will be sold before he can get it out of hock, I am certain off this. There are a few things here I have to address in myself, the criticizing and judgment off what my brother may do, because it is really only a possibility, as the past no longer exists, and the future is necessarily constructed of it.
The other thing is to give without any strings attached. Most, if not all of us, attach strings to our gifts. Expectations that the sweater we worked so hard on will be worn. That the toy will make the child happy. I think I was able to put the energy of non-attachment into this gift. Whatever my brother may do with it, I will not be bothered about it. I am giving it to him unconditionally, to do with as he will. I am pretty sure that if I drop by in a month or so and it is gone, and he has some story about it being stolen, or ceasing to work, etc., I will not be angry with him. Because the physical item is unimportant. My real gift to my brother was caring about him enough to listen and put effort intro getting him something he asked for. That can’t be taken to any pawn shop!
What kind of energy was behind the gifts you gave your family, friends and loved ones this holiday season? At the very least you know if that energy was negative or positive. When you gave your gift, did you have any invisible strings attached to it? Now that you are aware of the issues behind these things, can you release your invisible strings, and have the energy of giving freely? Even though it is after Christmas, if you were careless in your gift giving, do you care enough to go out and put the effort into getting at least one thing your friend, family member or loved one asked for? Start a new tradition, like a New year’s gift!
If you have received an item and it bothers you, maybe you can put your finger on it, maybe not, but you know it bothers you, can you forgive the person who gave it to you? That is yet another aspect. If a physical item is the manifestation of negative energy, can you transform it into positive energy? This is what I am trying to figure out right now. How can I transform the energy behind that grooming kit from my uncle? The skillets from my grandmother? I don’t know. I have no answers for that. But I will figure this out!
Been thinking about this, and I think I have a clue as to how to transform the perceived negative energy behind some of these gifts.
Energy is neither bad nor good. Bad and good exist only in our human perception. There is response to a gift that is given, be it conscious or unconscious. Most humans are reaction-based, there is little if any consciousness behind a response.
With my uncle’s gift my unconscious response was a mix of negative feelings. The question, for me, was, can I see this any differently? So I looked at the gift from my uncle’s perspective. He is a former military man, has traveled a lot. In the past he has given gifts that he himself has requested, such as boot socks.
Putting two and two together I deduce that in his traveling, maybe a kit, such as the one he gave me, is the sort of thing he wanted, or having such a kit, appreciated. My uncle knows I intend to travel to California, and I will have to pack light. Maybe in using his experience he figured I would need something compact and portable instead of the items I had asked for.
I have yet to send a thank you to a few family members for the gifts they gave me. Knowing that any thanks I gave my uncle for his gifts would be fake and hollow, and at some level he would sense it (appreciation in any form is also a gift), I knew I needed to find a way to think differently about the items he gave me, and this train off thought helped me to do that.
I am also convinced that my Higher Self or Source or the Universe sees further down the road than me, and maybe I will need those boot socks at some point. This has happened before, where I received a gift that was initially unwanted, yet became a cherished and useful item.
With these things in mind I could think differently about the gifts my uncle gave me. The next step Tolle details in, “A New Earth” in the chapter that talks about creating space. When space is created around something, there is room to choose a response, instead of merely reacting.
I thought of some things that brought me to a neutral place at least for what my grandmother had given me. After I transformed that energy, by changing how I thought about the gifts, I felt lighter, as if a heavy load had been lifted off.
This then is the process, to the best of my understanding. Create space around things if you are at a place in your life where you can do that. Then choose your response. If you are not at such a place, transform the energy of a gift you have been given, by changing how you think about it. Put yourself in the giver’s shoes, and try to find something that brings you to a neural or positive place.