From Scarcity to Abundance
My 2018 word of the year is abundance. It came to me easily and fairly quickly. It's the perfect follow-up for last year's word, grace. Abundance is not merely about money and having enough. It is about seeing things from an abundant viewpoint rather than through the lens of scarcity.
In the past several years, I spent lots of time in survival mode with fear around money. This is easy to do when you work for yourself and have no steady source of income. The uncertainty of that lifestyle isn't easy. However, it's filled with wonderful gifts. I've learned how to trust life to take care of me. I've learned to move through fear. I've learned to ask for help.
During my years traveling nomadically with very few expenses, I learned how to live frugally. When I moved to Asheville, frugality served me, but I had a lot more daily expenses to think about. Due to this change, frugality morphed into an ongoing sense of scarcity--the fear of running out, not having enough, not being able to buy what I needed, not feeling safe and so on. At times, the fear was overwhelming and exhausting. I spent lots of time worrying and micromanaging the details of my life and my business trying to "fix" and "improve" my situation.
Of course, that didn't work. Because fear inhibits creativity, blocks inspiration, adds desperation to one's energy field and essentially drives opportunities away. The harder I tried to change things on the outside, the less they changed or improved.
Fortunately, at the beginning of 2017, I recognized that a major shift was in order. I began to hold what was happening to me as a continuation of the intense training I'd experienced living nomadically. Most of that training was about learning to trust life. This was simply an extension of that training. This allowed me to recognize that I needed to move out of my own way and allow more grace into my life. Letting go of the rudder of control was a huge relief! The more I moved out of scarcity into trust, the more blessings manifested in my life in miraculous ways...sometimes very quickly. The more I stopped hovering, the more grace showed up. The fear and feelings of hopelessness turned to inspiration and excitement.
At the beginning of this year, I decided to take that shift even further by putting abundance up front and center, so that I would remember not to slip back into my old ways. So far I've noticed that viewing life with abundance means putting space around when and how things manifest. It means staying focused on what is needed right now and not worrying about the future. It means practicing gratitude and appreciation for what is. It means seeing abundance in non-material aspects of life.
Energetically, scarcity feels tight and restricted, while abundance feels open and alive. Abundance is a mindset, not about how much we have. It's holding space for the best-case scenario, not the worst. Brain studies have shown that we tend to default into thinking and expecting the worst. At some point in human history, this tendency probably helped us survive. But now, it interferes with our ability to be present and attentive to what is right in front of us.
I remember reading a book a few years ago about a guy who traveled across the U.S. with no money. Instead, he relied on the kindness of strangers. What was most interesting about his experience was that the people who had the least money and resources were the most generous. The reason for this was because they understood what it felt like to have little and how meaningful generosity can be when you're in need. There was less distance between them and the stranger with no money.
Abundance is about not being afraid you're going to run out. It's about trusting that if you share, more will be arriving. It's about seeing money and resources as a flow that moves through your life like a river, not as a limited amount that must be dammed up and hoarded.
Seeing life as abundant is a spiritual practice. The payoff for this practice is greater peace, freedom and joy (and a natural desire to share and be generous). It's the transformation Dickens captured with the character of Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. We can practice it at anytime by simply feeling gratitude and appreciation for what we have and trusting that whatever is needed will appear. No need to hoard, grab, cling, control or manipulate. Just allow, let, surrender, trust, accept, welcome and embrace.
And ultimately, of course this leads to the most abundant place of all: love.