To Give or to Receive? That is Love’s Question

By Laurel Elstrom

It was Valentine’s Day. My partner hadn’t met my expectations. I watched my own wounded reaction, knowing it was ridiculous and not helpful. Yet the recognition that I thought I had needed a particular behavior from my partner was a wakeup call. I had to ask myself, “What if he didn’t love you? Would anything truly be lacking? Would you be less loved, less worthy, less whole?”

We humans recognize that love is the most important thing. In fact, everything we do can be traced to our pursuit of love. Yet it seems to evade us. Even when we think we’ve found it, we usually snuff the life out of it in our efforts to hold it prisoner.

As students of A Course of Love and A Course in Miracles, we are repeatedly exposed to the idea that “giving and receiving are one.” The title of Workbook Lesson 108 is “To give and to receive are one in truth.” It’s one of the basic recurring tenets of A Course in Miracles.

Students of A Course of Love will be very familiar with the phrase. ACOL uses that exact phrase, “giving and receiving are one,” no less than 86 times! Obviously this is an important truth, but how do we bring the idea out of the conceptual world and into the trenches of our lives? How do we give and receive love without attachment, strings, or expectations?

Perhaps we’ve got the wrong end of the stick. Could it be that rather than finding love or even giving love, our task here is merely to receive it? Did Jesus actually give love, or was he merely available to receive it, and in so doing, allow those other-selves around him to discover the love that was inherently their own?

If I am able to truly receive love, it frees me from expecting it to come from a particular source, such as a partner, friends, or family. At that point, I am truly available, without attachment or expectation, but whole and complete and able to show up without an agenda.

The following message was given to me in the wake of my Valentine’s Day discovery. Once again, I am shown that my challenges are actually gateways to my own awakening. Now that’s what I’m talking about! That’s love on a universal platter. What a magnificent design. Do you not realize that your entire purpose is to be loved? Will you allow creation to love you? You think that you lack love, that love is something to be found, grown, or earned. Meanwhile, love pours forth to you in every eternal moment, overflowing beyond measure in every way through every one and every thing in your experience. If you will only look with open eyes, you will clearly see it.

Did you think your job was to be the giver of love? Ha! How can you give that which is never absent? Giving love would imply that love is sometimes not present, and that is simply not possible. Love is the Source of All That Is. Love eternally surrounds you, manifesting according to your will, in the face of every other-self you see and in every beat of your heart. The heart of the One is constantly enveloping you with love, while you turn away and insist on feeling lonely or unworthy or unloved. Have you had enough of this illusion? Do you not see that every atom of the chair you sit on is loving you, as it holds you, supports you, and comforts you? The air you breathe, the food and water you take in, the body that serves as your faithful companion for this Earth Game—all is here to serve you in unconditional love, with complete abandon and joy.

It has always been so and will always be. Since the day you entered the Earth Game as a babe, every perception has risen to serve you. The sun has risen for you. The wind has blown for you. The plants that have grown, the animals who have willingly given their lives for your sustenance, the oxygen, music, and beauty, all have appeared to offer you unfailing and never-ending love.

It is you who imagined this was not so, you who have written the story of your own hardships. You are a powerful God/Goddess who has the free will to experience whatever you choose. The other-selves you believe have harmed you? They have served you well by playing the roles you have asked of them. They have reflected back to you out of their unfailing and unconditional love for you. Look to see if it is not true.

The dish that holds your food, the car you drive, the pen you write with—on and on and on, in form and out of form. Every experience is one you have chosen. Every encounter, every other-self you have attracted or repelled, all is given with love and non-judgment, according to the vibration you have held. Even what you think of as your hardships are responses to your own bidding, reflecting back to you the places where you are still closed to receiving love.

Your task, my dear sweet child of love, is not to give love, but to receive the love and adoration that surrounds you and is you in every moment, on every level. For indeed, giving and receiving are one. And as you receive love, you give it.

When your receive love from your other-selves, you free them! When you receive love from the things of form that serve you, you free your own creations. Even your story can be freed, for when you love it, you free it to be what it is, a beautiful tale of your liberation. Indeed, when you receive the love that is your home, you free your Self, for there is but One, and you are it. All who love you implore you to give priority to this practice. Receive the love that awaits your acceptance, and in so doing, you set us all free!

Laurel Elstrom is a learner/teacher of A Course of Love and was a learner/teacher of A Course in Miracles for many years. She offers chapter reviews of ACOL on Youtube,, and is available for private sessions. Contact or go to for more information.

Kinds of Easter

By Paula Payne Hardin

Easter. April 20, 2014

Some rejoice in Christ’s victory

Over death

2000 years ago

Some rejoice in the yearly resurrection

Of spring

Some are sensitive to moment by moment


When something that was dead

In our hearts

Rises with

New life

Some are open to all of this and more

There is no right way

There is no wrong way

Let’s meet beyond all that

Joining hands as we rejoice in

All overcomings

All new births

All resurrections.

Paula Payne Hardin appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show when her first book, “What Are You Doing With the Rest of Your Life? Choices in Midlife” appeared in 1992. She is also the author of “Love After Love: Stages of Loving” (1996).