The Love Languages of Giving and Receiving.

My love language for giving is speech. My heart most naturally flows from my body in the form of words and the way it shows up in the world tangibly is through writing and in yoga.

When I teach yoga I speak rather than show–I prefer verbal adjustments over physical (largely out of practicality because it allows me to assist an entire class continuously rather than just one individual and because I perceive the most clarity in my directions this way) and so much of my voice as a teacher is not in creative sequencing or unique transitions but in the words I choose to bring the yoga to life. Words allow me to explain how what we move through on the mat can be translated to what we move through in life, transcending the utility of my classes far beyond the physical.

My love language for receiving is touch. Which I guess makes sense–for a person who is most comfortable in their head to crave the things that drop us into our bodies. What makes me feel the most loved and supported and connected is the weight and warmth of human hands on my body. I know this is something I need from the world so I seek it often.

Of all the places stress and tension and worry lodge in my body, they show up first & most prominently in my feet–mostly I suspect as residual from the injuries sustained in my years as a dancer. But also because to this day I spend most of my days on foot and maybe also because of the powerful connection I’ve always felt between the soles of the feet to the rest of the body. Who knows. But I crave touch here more than anywhere else (hold the foot fetish jokes, friends). After three years together, my boyfriend knows this so well that he instinctively picks my legs up and holds my feet in his hands each time we sit down at home.

He picks up on my bliss and, wanting a little for himself, tries to get me to massage him too. I try, reluctantly. It feels unnatural, hard, frustrating. I don’t get the intuitive feedback that some people get of what pressure/movement/location feels good to another. My heart’s not in it and to be honest, I don’t love it. I share my love with him through words constantly and there’s no shortage of physical affection, but it’s not the love language that is mine. Though I want him to experience the same love that I feel from it, I do. Recently I’ve learned rather than pushing through it myself, I’d be better serving him by gifting him the service of another who’s love language is also touch. This person for us is Liz Sanderson. I’ve never met someone more powerfully or deeply connected to the love language of touch than Liz. Her massage is intuitive and reverent and transformative and there is no greater gift I could share with a receiver of touch than her love.

Today, in this sustainable community in the Manaia Hills, I traded my love language of giving for my love language of receiving. There’s a woman in this community who is a giver of touch and a receiver of words. So I articulated her through movement and life on the yoga mat and then afterwards she took me into her hands and pressed the energy back into my skin. We walked away both empty and full–back into the world knowing deeply a wholeness that only comes from equitably and authentically giving and receiving in alignment with our truth.

Knowing what we bring to the world and what we need to receive from others to sustain us is the energetic rent we pay for taking up space on this earth. We owe it to ourselves and to others to find out what brings our light out into the world and what currency it’s best shared in as a gift.

So ask yourself this: What sense makes me come alive? What sense do I use to enliven others?

Onward my friends, to the land of giving and receiving and to the wholeness that awaits you there.

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