I discovered the Japanese word Itadakimasu while reading Ariana Huffington’s book Thrive, it means, “I receive”. The Japanese utter this word before eating. The phrase is a way of expressing gratitude for the food they are about to consume, a form of saying “Grace”.

I am in love with the word Itadakimasu and the concept it stands for. I am currently consciously working on learning to just “receive”.

For most of my life I have tried to control by doing, acting, and behaving in order to “receive”. I was the ultimate performer. If someone did something nice for me, I instantly wanted to give back. Mentally and emotionally, I could never just sit back and receive. I always wanted to be the one giving and not receiving. It was a twisted power-trip that played out in my mind — if I received more than I gave, I felt in-debited, less then, and that I had to somehow make up for it in a gigantic way.

And so, I became generous out of a very unhealthy need to stay ahead and on top in the “approval game”. I believed that people’s love and admiration for me was strictly conditional — contingent upon how I behaved, what I did, or what I first gave to them. Me receiving needed to be validated and justified by me first giving EVEN MORE.

I wanted people to perceive me in a certain light, and I was hoping by giving I would earn the right to someday in the future, receive. It was the farthest thing from being genuine and authentic! To think I could actually control specific outcomes or people’s reactions/opinions is absolutely absurd! Furthermore, what people think of me is none of my business!

It has taken a very long time, but I am finally trusting that EVERYTHING that comes into my life is divinely meant! And I mean EVERYTHING — the incredible blessings, the materialistic gifts, the stellar experiences, the friendships and relationships.

And then also understanding, that the excruciating-being-completely-knocked-down-heart-wrenching moments in my life are also meant. The awful moments are a chance for me to grow and get closer to my truth. Me, trying to outwit life in order to avoid emotional trauma, or in order to be deserving of my deepest-truest desires, is not trusting that life is going to unfold, the way it was always meant to unfold.

None of it is within my control, and once I surrender to the concept of Itadakimasu, life will flow the way it was always meant to. Surrendering doesn’t mean I sit back and do nothing! In fact, it means just the opposite – I still need to show up moment after moment, do my best and give it my all!

Surrendering means letting go of my attachment to a specific outcome and being mentally cemented to life turning out in only one way. When we set an intention, the universe has an incredible way of organizing around that intention – however what actually gets delivered may look slightly different from what we had originally hoped or wished for.

But when I can have the faith, the patience and the trust to Itadakimasu, whatever life delivers, I can now graciously accept. I can stop fighting so hard against what I don’t want, or trying so hard to be deserving of what I do want. I can just receive in peace and bliss.

I want to replace my depleting-legalistic-tit-for-tat view of life with the idea of being able to receive unconditional love and grace.

For to truly receive, as Ariana Huffington puts it “… he or she did nothing to deserve the gift or benefit; it was freely bestowed. At the cornerstone of gratitude is the notion of undeserved merit. “ That definition is the same as unconditional love and grace to me – there is no work that has to be done first, to have earned the grace and love. There is no duty, responsibility or owing – it is all just simply meant.

Marianne Williamson, another author I am totally smitten by, told Oprah that we are like a computer that is waiting to download a document. The document is already there, we just have to clear the way so that it can download. However, our fears, manipulations and control dramas get in the way and end up blocking the download and mucking up what was divinely intended. Deepok Chopra also speaks to this concept. All the spectacular greatness that is meant for your life could never be earned by our own doing – it is part of something far greater than we could ever imagine. To have a soul desire means it was placed on your heart for reason and it is a premonition of something magnificent to come.

But we first have to be willing “to receive” the download.

Can you let go of trying to earn what is ALREADY divinely meant? Can you learn to itadakimasu?
To trusting. To receiving. To the amazing “documents” our lives are meant to download.
Jenn