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The years of learning RECIPROCITY. (Yes, that's plural on purpose.)

You might be asking yourself, what is rih-suh-PROS-uh-tee? Reciprocity is the practice of mutual balance or flow. Take only what you need and when you truly are in need, you will be provided for. It sounds dreamy (like these waterfalls in Puerto Rico). Saying reciprocity feels peaceful and calm. But oh my goodness, the practice of reciprocity feels like hairy gremlins watching your every thought. These bandits think they are protecting you, but they actually complicate the practice of reciprocity. Which is why I have had the same "Word of the Year" since 2021. (It's a good thing I am a "long game" kind of girl.)

What is the opposite of reciprocity? I am glad you asked. Scarcity. Understanding the opposition of reciprocity, I began to see how many of my choices (conscious and subconscious) were derived from scarcity. I was convinced that my time, money, creativity, energy, love, and resources had a finite amount.

It doesn't help that we live in a bulk, more is better kind of world. Remember the days when businesses had to lock up toilet paper? Fear. Scarcity. Isolation. Every person for themselves! Danger lurking around every corner? It's no wonder it took me three years to accept reciprocity. How did I do it?

1. Breath. Yes, even my autonomic breath reminded me that I was living in scarcity. Tight. Short. Shallow. That was not a space I wanted to be. Simply placing my hands on my belly and feeling my breath connect with my body began a change within me.

Full. Expansive. Slow. I can't explain what happened next, I just know that my breath changed my body and slowly my heart and mind came along for the beautiful ride.

2. Only take/use what you need. You can apply this concept to nearly anything; opinions, advice, food, clothing, money, time, but not hugs. Get as many hugs as you possibly can. (minimum of eight, eight second hugs a day). By only using/taking what you need you, you live in the moment and remove excess in your life. It's not about "maximizing" your life it's about "optimizing". Full is not better. Less is not worse. As you clear out the excess you have the ability to open your heart space to ask the most important question "Do I need this?" How often do we consume unconsciously? I cannot explain the satisfaction in recognizing something incredible or beautiful and can say "That's amazing!" "I am so happy for them", but "I don't need it."

Yes, I practiced this for over 1,000 days and I am not perfect, but I understand myself. I trust the universe and higher power that when I am in need, there is enough for everyone. I am content and joyful. I am happy for others and I hope the same for you in 2024.

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