One way to experience any soul quality — power, love, gratitude — is to play with it. Be curious. Create lighthearted experiments to explore how this quality shows up in your life.
Here’s an experiment to explore how the power to choose shapes your life and your story around giving and receiving. Play with it; share your discoveries here, if you wish:
Pick one day this week — Monday! Or Thursday! Or any day, really — and declare it a transaction-free day. Announce it out loud: Today is a transaction-free day! Write it on your bathroom mirror. Declare it to your beloveds.
Today is a transaction-free day!
What does this mean? Well, it’s your experiment. You get to choose what it means for you.
The essence of it is this: Make this a day when you experience your power to choose, fully and freely. Without any agenda beyond your own desire to play with unconditional giving and receiving.
Declare this a day when you’ll give freely, just because you feel like it. No expectations, no intended outcomes, just free play — to see how you feel, who you are, and what happens, when you give just because you want to.
Make this a day when you’ll receive fully, just because you choose to. No guilt, no shame. No holding on or holding back or holding in. Just receiving — fully, honestly, because you have the power to do so.
My 3-year-old granddaughter is masterful at this. She admires herself in the full-length hallway mirror, turning this way and that, looking over her shoulder at her reflection, lost in wonder. She pats her sparkly new birthday dress, strokes her arms, flashes her rainbow-colored fingernails, her blue eyes shining with delight.
Enthralled by her own beauty, she is oblivious to the grownups hovering in her vicinity. Nothing exists for her but her own joy. I’ve never given a birthday gift that was received so fully.
And when she gives, it’s with the same unconditional delight. “Would you like a bite of my sandwich?” “Do you want to come and play with me?” She doesn’t much care whether the answer is yes or no. She’s immersed in her choices, acting on her desires, and oh, she is a powerful little girl!
So, play with this if you wish. If you’re at your local farmer’s market buying a bag of produce, offer the vendor your money as a gift, freely given. Receive the food you’ve chosen as a gift, with delight and gratitude.
Let yourself experience the essential truth of life — it is all a gift.
Notice when transactionittude creeps in. When you’re choosing to give because you want to be admired, or loved, or approved of, or because you believe you should, or are afraid of what will happen if you don’t.
Notice when receiving is fraught with contingency. Fear that you’ll have to reciprocate; doubt about what you deserve, and why, and how. Shyness about expressing your joy, your gratitude. Notice when you contract away from the gift, the compliment, your reflection in the mirror.
Breathe. Return to your chosen declaration. Return to your transaction-free day.
What happens when you exercise your power to choose what and how you’ll give, what and how you’ll receive? When you give without hesitation or expectation? When you receive everything as a gift?
Who have you become, at the end of your transaction-free day?