Sometimes it can feel difficult to accept a gift. I have a friend who told me he had the impulse to return a gift that seemed too generous, but he knew immediately that that was not an impulse to be indulged. Instead he wrote a (probably gracious) thank-you note.
For many years, like many people, I found it hard to accept the gift of a compliment. I would make a self-deprecating remark or explain why the compliment was misguided. I finally stopped when a friend said to me, “when you reject my compliment, you are either saying I have bad taste or am a liar. That’s not OK with me.” I got the point, and learned to say “thank you,” even if it took me time to truly take it in.
Recently another friend and I were talking about being the recipient of generosity. She said, “I can never be thankful enough for what flows to me unbidden.” What a lovely word: unbidden.
I began thinking about all that flows to me unbidden as well. I vow to receive the generosity of all that comes to me with gratitude and an open heart.
PS Thich Nhat Hanh (age 79) returned to Plum Village on January 1.