Back to the Body


Why Is The Art of Receiving Important to All Women?

"I want to go to the Ball" proclaims Cinderella! And she wanted a great dress too. Perhaps a shiny tiara. What would you think of an up do? She was tired of cleaning up after her wicked step-mother and sisters. She wanted to receive. So, she made an audacious wish. She wanted to dance and feel beautiful. Why couldn't she have a handsome prince? Cinderella made a choice to INCLUDE herself in her vision of what her life could be like. She decided to include herself in the pleasures of what is possible in the world. So she wished up a fabulous fairy godmother to support her in creating her dream. This is where so many of us get screwed up in receiving and creating our dreams. We think that any time we wish something for ourselves we also have to include world peace. In other words, whenever we want something for ourselves we believe we have to attach a gift for someone else. Here's what true, when we manifest our dreams for ourselves we often change the world around us. Think of Cinderella. She changed the life of a prince, her step-mother plus sisters and probably a kingdom. And, she did it all while wearing a great dress and groovy glass slippers.

Why Is The Art of Receiving Important to all women?

Most women have developed extraordinary “giver” skills in all aspects of their lives. It is in our biology… we are wired to care-take. As a result, many of us women are living unbalanced and under-accomplished lives where the door only opens one way, out to others.

Are you living this way?

Do you understand "receptive states"?

When you learn to enter receptive states, you open up pathways in your body that you previously couldn’t feel or see before. Being able to receive stimulates energy, pleasure potential opens exponentially, your heart opens, you create connections both to your own self and to your relationships. Being able to stay present by learning how to remove your receiving roadblocks during pleasure --- truly receiving, allows you to fill your body with positive energy. When you receive as well as give, you are not only healthier in mind, body, and spirit—you give yourself the key that unlocks the door to your goals, your hopes and your dreams.

This is so important, that we have created a special weekend in Manhattan to support women to learn the tools of being an extraordinary receiver.

It might start with knowing what you want.

Do You Know What You Want?

A lot of people are afraid to say what they want. That's why they don't get what they want. But this is what I bet.....I bet you know exactly what the people in your life want. I do. When we start including ourselves in the world -- the world becomes a more colorful place. Opening up your desires is like flexing a muscle. I know it can feel scary. I know that you might be frightened of not getting what you want, or sitting in disappointment. Wanting what we want, and putting words to it can be risky. The point of knowing and asking is not to always get everything that we want, but to get more comfortable with knowing and speaking our needs. How about even admitting that you have needs?

Being Grateful

Baby Steps in Practicing Receiving

Acceptance is to receive willingly. Life is generous and wants to give you things. When people try to give you things (acts of service, kindness, gifts, emotional support) and you push them away, they notice and give less. Start paying attention to the way that life is always trying to give to you. Remember that you have to have your receptors open. Practice saying "Thank you".

1. Thank you for taking out the garbage.

2. Thank you for bring me coffee.

3. Thank you for calling me back.

4. Thank you for checking in on me.

5. Thank the friend who tells you that you are beautiful.

6. Say thank you for the compliments from everything from your earrings to your work product.

Try receiving the pleasure of simply being in the world where people offer you simple acts of service, notice you and compliment you. Notice all the ways that the world wants you to receive. It's far more abundant than you might have imagined before your receiving receptors were open. Please practice! Look for opportunities to thank people. Notice any of your behaviors that are pushing receiving away. Please take note of where you have trouble with accepting compliments, kind words, gifts and acts of service. Can you do it anyway? Can you say thank you and feel the offer in your body without receiving it? Just the kindness of the intention behind it? Learning how to be grateful is key to being receptive to how life gives to us.

"And what desert greater shall there be, than that which lies in the courage and the confidence may the charity of receiving" Kahlil Gibran

If I accept the gift do I owe the receiver?

It goes like this, if I accept your best wishes and flowers on my birthday do I have to send you flowers on your birthday?

If you give me oral sex do I have to give you oral sex?

If you give me a back rub, do I have to give you one too?

So many of us are frightened to receive because we are frightened of obligation. What is true is that it is not often possible or desirable to "return the favor". Here is the most common list of why people don't receive in their lives.

1. Are you concerned with what someone will think of you if you do not reciprocate?

2. Are you concerned about what you will think of yourself if you do not reciprocate?

3. Do you think that most people have ulterior motives when they want to do something for you?

4. Do you feel under-deserving of anyone doing something for you?

5. Are you afraid that you will have to do something you don't want to do if you let someone do something for you?

An experienced receiver does not fear this idea of being indebted to the giver because the dance of giving and receiving goes back and forth --- sometimes receiving and sometimes giving at other times. It is only when you don't have practice at both that it is easy to be confused about what your needs and rights are.

Blocks to Receiving: The Fast Acting "No, Thank you!"

People love to say "No". They have all kinds of reasons not to receive. I love this idea of being able to receive everything and decide later. I have had this habit of saying "No" and pushing away new ideas that challenged me. I often receive the idea and then open to it moments to weeks later. My first response is often "No". Frankly, that is pretty dumb. I am working really hard at changing that pattern.

An experienced receiver doesn't block or reject right away. They have open receptors to gather information from and about people. They get information about their environment and listen to their feelings.

Experienced receivers can receive in the moment and then decide later about what you do with the information you have received. How many times do you wish you had paid attention to an offer that you pushed away and might have been beneficial to you? When you open up your receiving skills, it helps you to be better informed about what you want and do not want. Often, the only reason we don't receive is that we don't fully understand circumstances, people or events and that is because we never really received them to begin with! Instead, we pay attention to what we WANT to hear instead of what is actually really being said.

It's like trying to form your response while someone is still talking. The more you practice receiving, the more likely you will make appropriate choices. People who do not practice receiving often are "flying blind" making decisions without all of information. When we say "Receive everything---decide later" is to remind yourself to pause, wait and give yourself time.

Classic Reasons Why We Don't Receive and Why You Don't What You Even Want to Receive

1. You have made up your mind that other's people needs are more important than your own.

2. By becoming an expert on other people's needs you forget about your own actual desires.

3. You have been taught that a good person is a person that does for others and has no need to receive. Think of others not of yourself.

4. You are so busy doing that you have little or no experience in "receptive states".

5. You are worried that people will think you are selfish, greedy and only think of yourself.

6.Most of your energy is spent on doing for other people which leaves very little left for yourself.

Giving vs Enabling vs Receiving

When we enable, we constantly put other people's needs not only in front of our own but at the expensive of our own best interest. Doing more is not an effective strategy to get others to give. Working on your own receiving practice will build your energy, resources and capacity to give. Receiving is replenishing and energizing like a good vitamin drink. In turn the people in your sphere that you care for will benefit from your receptive recharge. Skilled Receivers are attracted to not only those to whom they give, but also to those who can give to them.

A skilled or active receiver is a person who excels in their ability to experience different modes of receiving in various states of experience such as allowing, appreciating, listening, opening, feel grateful, relaxing, welcoming, accepting, letting go, yielding, feeling, enjoying and including. Valuing what skilled receiving can bring into your life is a very over looked gift. What can you receive today?

Practice receptive states

Try listening to music

Walking or simply sitting and allowing

When you open up to receptive states vs doing states it can become easier to open up to your desires. Learning how to receive and identify your desires is a bit like exercising a muscle. You need to practice. Understanding your stories that keep you from receiving can be helpful.

Why don't we teach people how to receive? We give lots of praise and information about giving. And of course the clear instruction that it is better to give than to receive. We all know about all the aspects and benefits of being a good giver. Givers get high marks in most societies. The truth is that we place little value, and often shame, in "receiving". But there is a catch 22 in there. It really sucks to give to someone who can't or won't receive. We have to do a better job educating people about living a balanced life of giving and receiving, as well as, removing the shame from receiving.

It's time to stop ignoring the importance of learning how to be a great receiver. To learn The Art of Receiving. And when it comes to the erotic life --- becoming an extraordinary receiver is the best gift you could ever give yourself or your lover.

Pamela Madsen is the author of Shameless: How I Ditched the Diet, Got Naked, Found True Pleasure...and Somehow Got Home in Time To Cook Dinner and creator of Back to the Body: Sensuous Retreats for Women.  Her work can be found at

To subscribe to Pamela's newsletter and claim her free offering, 3 videos to get started reclaiming your body, go to

Join Pamela Madsen in New York City for a Special Event, A weekend for women on The Art of Receiving, February 8-10, 2019

Pamela Madsen