Receive and You Shall Give

Do you recognize this man? I was just turning five years old when Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom debuted on television. Marlin Perkins was the host and he quickly became one of my grandfathers.  A question I had, but was embarrassed to ask my parents was: What is Mutual of Omaha? I understood why the show was called Wild Kingdom—those were words I could figure out. But what was a “Mutual of Omaha?”

As a child I was intensely interested in language—where did words come from, how did people come to call this with that name? At age 5, I distinctly remember holding a door open for a woman and as she passed by me and looking in my eyes, said, in a slow and deliberate manner, “Thank you.” It dawned on me. Thank you was not ‘thankyou’—a nonsense sounding phrase that people said—it meant she was thanking me.

This was an early Aha moment for me. I have them daily. How does one develop the capacity for Aha moments? Should one even attempt to analyze Aha moments? Is it like training to be spontaneous?

I would suggest that you can develop the capacity for Aha moments by learning how to be receptive. When I sat down at my computer to write this blog (a blank screen exercise each week) I had initially thought to write about my recovery from hip surgery. I started thinking about re-learning habits and to formulate some ideas. It just didn’t flow. So I waited. And that is part of developing Aha—learning to receive.

A while back I read a book by Michael Berg of the Kabbalah Centre with the ‘modest’ title, The Secret. I am wary when anyone claims to have “The Secret” but it is a thin volume so I read it quickly. “The Secret” according to Berg, the way to fulfill our lives, is to learn to give. To always give. For Berg, his Aha was to understand that to fulfill your life it is not about getting or taking but rather about giving.

Aha for me is not about learning to give—it is about learning to receive.  There are many people, in my experience, that have a harder time receiving than giving. I am one of them. My comfort zone is to give and I am developing greater capacity to receive. With receiving comes gratitude. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to two men in particular, Jack Wartell and Michael Charney, who were kind enough to share with me their experiences with hip replacement and stick by me through my recovery. And to all of you who came to our aid—with prayers, meals, baby holding, and needed medical equipment.

What I “received” this morning in writing this blog is our announcing the line-up of our speakers for Kabbalah Live 2011-12, the theme being Aha Moments. That is how I got to Marlin Perkins –a name long forgotten from my childhood. When I put Aha Moments into Google the first listing came up as aha moments presented by: Mutual of Omaha. The insurance company is now in the Aha Moment field.  Go to for a rich assortment of people’s descriptions of their aha moments.

Omaha (by the way) spelled backward is: Aha Mo(ments).

David Sanders


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