“Herein lies the paradox: If you want more of whatever it is you desire, you have to first prove to the universe that you are capable of having it by developing a consciousness that affirms there is no shortage of it. The only way to do this is by creating a vacuum or space for it to be received, and the only way you can create a space for it to be received is by letting go of what you do have, trusting that the universe knows what it is doing.”
~ Dennis Merritt Jones
By and large, I grew up in an environment where the tension between love and fear was so strong it could split a room in two. My parents loved me very much, but their fear of losing me was just as great. Because of this, they did everything they could to protect me from the dangers of the world. When I rebelled against their rules, they chastised me. When I obeyed them, they praised me. I soon learned that if I wanted their affection and goodwill, I should be cautious, restrained, high-achieving, and amenable. For a very long time, I was mostly all of these things. There were times where the veneer came crashing down and my anger and unruliness prevailed, but I mainly stuck to the script, and it actually served me well in a lot of ways–it kept me in the top ten percent of my class and opened the door to many opportunities I genuinely desired.
An unintended consequence of this upbringing, however, was that I began to associate love with the performance of these virtues. In order to be loved, I had to be cautious, restrained, high-achieving, and amenable. Essentially, love was contractual–a quid pro quo. In romantic relationships, I could agree to the terms for six months or so. At that point, my anger and unruliness was begging for release; I simply couldn’t be “good” anymore. Rather than suffer through the experience of gradual decline, I terminated the contract (i.e. left my partner), and the other party was often left reeling in the wake of such a swift and baffling decision.
At a certain point, it occurred to me that the price of love was too great. I had to give up too much of myself in order to be cared for and accepted, so I stopped giving it away. Likewise, I became very wary of love when it was offered to me, and I turned it down more often than not. I metaphorically threw a covering over the mouth of my vessel, and sent a message to the universe that acts of love were unwelcome.
Ironically, I came to view love as the most dangerous thing in the world, because it threatened to steal me from myself. Even more ironically, I’d find that my fear of love would dismantle me far more effectively than the love of someone else ever could–it’s like a cancer that eats you from the inside out, killing your capacity for pleasure and disconnecting you from everything you most admire in yourself.
One warm, sunny day last September, I was sitting in a park watching my daughter play. It had recently been announced that she still wouldn’t be returning to school, and I was trying to wrap my head around the logistics of balancing school and work and a happy home environment. I was being lulled into quietude by the dulcet tones of Alan Watts, and masked children were buzzing around me like happy bees. Suddenly, the world cracked open. The cover I’d placed on my vessel was unceremoniously ripped off, and I felt divine union with everything around me.
It felt like love.
And I think it happened because I’d spent so long in the desert of love that I no longer knew myself. Really, there was nothing left to protect, and so love was no longer a danger. And every moment since then has been a gentle, careful unfurling, a practice in the magickal art of receiving.
In this offering, I share some of what I’ve learned on this journey. I share it because I want you to experience love not as a quid pro quo, but as an endless bounty that gives forever, a perpetual cycle that asks nothing in return. The magickal art of receiving is the process of understanding this. It is my wish that these spells and insights support that process in anyway they can.
You are worthy of receiving, my darling. Never forget that.
xoxo Mind Witch Mama