The Art of Asking

when-you-ask

I have previously shared that I would hear many stories in my spiritual circles about people receiving feathers into their life–an external sign of Divine Affirmation–and I would wonder why I never saw feathers in my life.

My mind would say ‘well Divine doesn’t acknowledge you’; my heart would say simply ask.

I felt shy, asking for something so “simple” (as an observation, not a criticism), so I asked, in a whisper.

I began to consistently see perfectly placed feathers (the above photo shows one).  These feathers show up on familiar paths I have walked for years and on unfamiliar paths I have just begun to explore.

The common denominator: I ask for Divine Affirmation.

If it works with “little things” like whispers and feathers, then imagine how well it works with confidence and trust!

The Practice of Receiving

As you can see in the above example, receiving requires presence and awareness. This particular feather blends into the colors of the landscape and is quite small on a huge expanse of beach, and could easily be missed if I was not paying attention.

When we are open and ready to receive, we notice the gifts (and answers) that are perfectly placed. 

My personal challenge in the art of asking is learning to connect through vulnerability to clearly ask for what I “need”, and learning to open to graciously to receive.

Trust. Trust in the process of flow, in divine, in human beings, in presence to unfolding.  Trust in “worthiness” and “enough-ness” (can you identify?). Trust that as I share my skills and talents and abundance in areas that are overflowing, others will share with me in the same way.

Sometimes I would ask clearly, and what I wanted was perfectly placed, with ease.  Before I learned how to ‘receive (and sit comfortably in) abundance‘ I would deflect it, give it away, resist it.  (Is it just me, or have you had this experience as well?)

Learning to receive strengthens my confidence to ask.

The Art of Asking: Amanda Palmer

Each time I watch this video, my eyes tear up; these three phrases speak strongly to me, inviting me to open my heart, to trust, beyond what I know. My mind says “but….”; my heart says “yes, please!”.

“I asked my crowd to catch me”. 

“Asking makes you vulnerable.”

“…give and receive fearlessly, but more important to ask, without shame.”

If you are unable to watch the video here, please use this link: Amanda Palmer: The Art of Asking.

It is my intention to learn to ask clearly, to receive graciously, and to practice trust so deep that I “ask my crowd to catch me”.

As you absorb the feel of my reflection and this video message, what arises within your heart?  Do you have an experience with asking that you would like to share?  Is there something you would like to ask for? When you share, we learn!

Much peace and abundant love,

Joy

Reminder: Linger. Savor. Relish.

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Comments on: "The Art of Asking" (22)

  1. Just yesterday, after sharing with you a life changing experience, you told me ‘its ok to ask’. I never felt worthy and that I was paying for things of the past so why ask? I didn’t feel I deserved to ask. But those times are over, and I did ask, and I did receive, and now I’m working on ‘its ok to ask’, knowing at times the answer won’t be what I wanted (or thought I wanted), but I have now learned that if I don’t ask, my chances of receiving are far less. Here’s to a new part of life-asking, no old stuff holding me back. Thank you.

    • Thank you, Gina, for sharing! The only limits to love, infinite possibility, abundance, grace are the ones we place; energy is consistently flowing, and we may tap into it, this moment, as we are, as it is. In general, the challenge of this practice is opening to receive, which sometimes requires internal work to increase depth and range of allowing.

      Yes!! to “a new part of life–asking….” Thank *you*, I am ultra-excited for you!

  2. jean sampson said:

    It has always been hard for me to ask for help. I don’t know why that is, but it just seems easier to not “bother” anyone. I think my Mom instilled in me the idea of “not imposing” on people, although many people “imposed” on my Mom and she was glad to help them. She was sort ot the neighborhood Mother/rescuer. Everyone came to “Miss Iva” whenever they needed help or a favor or just a listening ear. I think the idea of “not imposing” is Southern and goes along with “being a lady” and not drawing attention to yourself (as a kid). I guess I CAN see where that all came from. I am much better at asking the Universe for something than I am at asking people. I don’t seem to have any trouble with that one. :)

    • Thank you for sharing, Jean. Many people have a similar experience as yours and can identify with not asking for help. I am glad that you are able to ask Universe, and I wonder if it might be helpful if you remember that each person has Divine within, so when asking another, you are simply asking Universe (in different form). (That shift in thinking has strengthened my “asking” power.)

  3. I remember being in Dublin, Ireland and visiting old Aunt Breda.

    We went out behind her house to see the potato patch that she had growing beneath the Ol’ Sod.

    I ‘asked’ her…”How many potatoes will you be able to get out of the ground to eat?”

    …she did not answer…just looked at me like I was some ‘Daff Onchak’…’Crazy Yank’.

    …well today I fared much better!

    While I was going up an elevator there were two women across from me.

    One woman was scratching the back of the other…

    Joy, since I read your post earlier, I thought…

    “Lets give it a shot”

    …so I backed up in place for a *scratch*

    >>>#>>>#>>>#>>>

    Hey!

    I like this!

    *Art of Asking*

    • Well, Rand, that is a start! I think that’s wonderful insight–when learning to ask, allow it to be fun, play with the energy until it becomes familiar, then asking for “bigger” things isn’t quite as intimidating.

  4. I’m going to make some tea and watch the video. I love the suggestion in SARK’s book Glad No Matter What, to take a walk and ask the universe, “Show me the miracles!” Now that is some powerful asking!

    • Galen,

      I love SARK! She and I practice in similar ways–my challenge has been graciously accepting the miracles when they are far beyond what I had previously experienced or could have imagined. Life truly is as *magical* as we allow it to be! May you enjoy your tea and the video!

  5. Love the video and The Art of Asking………Yes it is not easy to ask as Amanda says….. I have listened to this video before – it is so powerful I have discovered recently that receiving is an issue for me and i know asking is still something I am still learning to do with out expectations, etc- I relate to Jean’s comment too- right now i am practicing asking more from the universe and listening more then i know I need to ask more when i want help and guidance. Why do we we find asking so challenging? I just heard while typing this that this relates back to loving and accepting oneself fully then asking and receiving become natural.
    Thanks for the reflection
    Be love
    Suzie

    • Thank you for sharing, Suzie!

      “Why do we find asking so challenging”? I fully believe the ease of asking is related to our willingness to receive–it’s a space of vulnerability and requires trust in the process. Learning to “sit comfortably” in peace, love, abundance, is not something many of us have been conditioned to experience; in general, when something is unfamiliar (even if it is “good”) we avoid it. Asking opens the door to a space many prefer to avoid, even when heart says “yes, please”; infinite possibility is something mind cannot fathom, but is at our fingertips, available as we are, when we open to it. What do you think/how does this feel?

  6. Beautiful message. Beautifully placed.
    Asking and receiving (being open to receiving) have always been a challenge for me, and I realized through watching this, (and love her music!) that trust is the real key to this exchange of energy and connection we all seek in our own ways.
    In so many ways I am eager and ready to give… love, money, resources, support, attention- you name it- I love to give it- yet have never found myself comfortable with or open to receiving. I know this relates directly to my financial ups and downs in life as well as to my many one-sided, non-lasting relationships…
    I wonder if there is some exercise, much like we strengthen our muscles by lifting weights, that would allow us to strengthen our “receiving” and “trusting” and “asking” “muscles”. Of course, I like the idea of starting small and keeping it light and fun, though I find I even struggle with this level of asking at times. Fear of rejection? I don’t know. Could psycho-analyse it to death I am sure- more interested in just moving beyond it. Maybe I should become a street performer. Sounds like good training ground. :)

    • Thank you for sharing, Molly! So many people identify with “not asking”–I truly do not believe the fear is rejection, I believe the underlying fear is acceptance. For once we experience infinite possibility, there are *no limits*, which sounds wonderful on paper, but, in general, is not “how” mainstream has been taught to live.

      The exercise to strengthen our ‘asking muscle’ is to ask. Begin with self, ask your body, your mind, your heart…and learn to listen and give according to what is shared. (If you believe that Divine is in all, in essence, you are asking divine.) Then, ask another, someone you trust implicitly, and listen and share in resonance with what is present in that moment. Gradually expand this circle of asking.

      This exercise might seem “backward” but when we learn to ask self and Source, and to receive from self and source, we are in essence centering into love and gratitude—when I ask from this space, each yes is an affirmation *and* each no is an affirmation. (Yes *an affirmation*…of way..a sign…it’s not personal, it’s simply energy).

      In my life, if I wish for “more”, I do the inner work to clear space to receive, raise vibration, align with resonance. This also means that my mind might be asking for “an easy way”, but if my heart is not in it, it won’t be placed…do you see? So, my mind might reach for familiar and comfortable, but if my heart says no thank you, it cannot be placed….just as my heart might whisper yes please to completely foreign and magical and it is placed, with ease….

      It is all resonance and energy…learning to have fun while playing invites depth and range, with ease…

      What do you think? How does this feel?

      • I *think* my life is full of resistance to ease and flow right now- I am physically ill, having plumbing problems galore from leaky faucets to clogged drains to broken pipes all over my house, my finances have seen better days, and nothing seems to be coming quickly or easily as far as solutions and fixes. I *feel* like everything is a struggle right now. So I *think* where am I not letting go? Where am I struggling internally, what am I resisting here? Why is all this showing up in my life? And now? When I’ve honestly moved further and made more internal/emotional/spiritual so-called “progress”, forward movement,- whatever- than ever before in my life? Why am I suddenly “stuck” all over now? Literally not flowing with ease?
        And I’ve taken days offline to celebrate with family and friends, I’ve done my best to treat myself well, to be kind to myself through all these life transitions, to be patient with myself, with the process, with all that is this life I am living…and most recently, I’ve surveyed the past few years of my life to literally *see* how far I’ve come, how much I’ve changed, and I like what I see, and I am grateful for all I’ve experienced….yet, the stuckness and the resistance and the lack of movement, lack of flow, they remain…or grow, or gather size and power it seems…
        And then I read this and think, “she’s right,” it’s just a process, a cycle, to show me where to I need to turn my focus, where I am getting *stopped up*, where I need to clear more space, so I turn inward to do this, and I’ve been here before, it usually results in some outward clearly as well… and this *feels*- ugh. Just Ugh. It might not be enlightened to feel this way, I surely am “doing something wrong” to be feeling this way…but that is honestly what it feels like. Just ugh. Why I am I here again? Deep in the struggle? Unable to access ease and flow, unable to connect with fun and lightheartedness? Why am I hear…again!?! and I don’t mean to be negative, but @#$@<!# that is how it feels.
        And so, I came across this quote today: Whatever is happening is the path to enlightenment.- Pema Chödrön

        and it seem somehow pertinent to all of this.

        And I think, okay, I asked for extraordinary and I asked for passion and depth and intensity, and I also asked for ease and joy and playfulness and flow…and maybe I haven't had enough practice yet in how to put all these things together, but I will get there and until I do, I am right where I need to be. It's the only place I can be right now.

        • Thank you for sharing, Molly.

          I gently and lovingly suggest that you release all of this and begin, right now, as you are, with love and gratitude. No need to analyze and compare, simply open to ease, flow, joy, whatever is in resonance with you in this moment. Practice receiving graciously as you ask. Practice being loving and kind with self, which opens heart, which is the portal for flow. Mind cannot comprehend “how”, which manifests as fear and doubt, barriers to the very thing you are asking for. Occupy mind with details of presence to creative expression and connection, as mind is busy, heart is able to celebrate freely, plugging into infinite possibility.

          Life does not have to be exhausting, a struggle, a process that “hurts”; life can be a celebration of the gift of this moment, each moment. If that is unfamiliar, start with this moment, see how it feels, and allow that energy to move you into the next. Again, engaging mind with creating and connecting, as heart opens to celebrating and appreciating.

          External can affirm whatever it is you are thinking (doubt and trust), so I recommend that during periods of transition, one stays focused on self-care basics and practices that amplify faith and trust, as one explores creating and connecting and resting and refreshing. When you allow your work to be that which enlivens and enriches, that resonance naturally draws to you all that you ask for. The potential challenge I see in what you have shared here (and is common for many) is if heart is asking for love, peace, and abundance, yet mind is saying “not possible for me, as I am, in this moment” what you will receive is resonant with the alignment of your request. Which is why I always suggest we center into love and gratitude as we ask, because from such a place everything is possible.

  7. “May the eternal light give, not a reason for living and working, but a sense of completeness which makes the search for any such reason unnecessary.”

    ~ Simone Weil

    He Wishes for the Clothes of Heaven

    Had I the heavens’ embroidered clothes,
    Enwrought with golden and silver light,
    The blue and the dim and the dark clothes
    Of night and light and the half-light,
    I would spread the clothes under your feet:
    But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
    I have spread my dreams under your feet;
    Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

    ~ W. B. Yeats

  8. Somewhere along the line, I got the message that it was very important for me to take care of myself–and thus I am not good at asking. But that’s changing as I get further into my spiritual path. And I do think it has a lot to do with trust–asking and assuming that your request will be granted.

    • Thank you, Charlotte, for sharing! I believe many people identify with this reflection: “it was very important for me to take care of myself”. We were raised to be self-sufficient and independent; qualities that allow us to focus on creating and living our dreams, yet often result in exhaustion and tension. We invite the experience of inner peace and joy to the experience of independence and self-sufficiency, when we learn to practice the art of asking in ways that allow us to feel the exchange of energy–we give fully in areas that we have talent and abundance, and we receive fully in areas that are not as ‘strong’ or ‘full’.

      The challenge is experiencing the art of asking as something that amplifies strength/center, instead of as a weakness.

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