We’re eight months into the year, but I still think about my word for the year, abundance, almost every day. It’s become like a mantra to me, humming in the background especially when I’m around people or in situations that make me feel exactly the opposite of abundant. It’s like a gentle reminder in the back of my head that says “you don’t have to think about it like this”. It’s not that I bounce through life feeling joyous and constantly abundant, but I don’t really think that’s how life works. I’m learning that it’s all about course-correcting your inevitable small, petty thoughts so that you can live a full, rich life.
Easier said than done, of course. In the past few months since my first abundance ideas post, I’ve had a lot of ups and downs and challenges both big and small. I’m sure we all have.
There was that time when I lost my job and my apartment, and everything was so scary and uncertain. I remember just chanting “abundance” to myself, and believing so deeply that I was going to find a way to make the situation work out on my own terms. People were telling me I’d have to move an hour away from all my friends, or that I should take the first job I was lucky enough to get, but all of that felt wrong and small to me. At times I felt like maybe I was being naive by believing that everything was going to work out exactly as I wanted it to, but in the end it was the naysayers who had it all wrong because I ended up in my ideal situation. I learned that I’m not interested in people’s doomsday thoughts and worries, because thus far they have never been true.
Another time, I left the booking of my hostels in Japan until only a week before and everything seemed like it was sold out. I panicked, thinking I’d have nowhere to stay (an absurd, scarcity kind of thought), or that I’d have to change hostels every night. From that I learned a different kind of abundance: there are more options than there appear to be. Instead of throwing up my hands on Hostelworld, I Googled other booking companies, did some detective work, and finally decided to call the hostel itself. They told me there was one free bed on the night I wanted and everything was magically resolved. And then when I arrived, it was a whole other kind of abundance – it hadn’t been my first choice, but it was perfect: ideal location, cozy and comfortable.
When I heard two friends were going to live together back home, I instantly got all kinds of small, petty thoughts about feeling left out, left behind and forgotten. I was sure that they’d become closer as friends and love each other more, which in my scarcity-brain equated to them loving me less. I had to remind myself that of course, love is an unlimited resource, and love is not, as another friend recently reminded me, transferrable. We love everybody in a different way, and loving one person and becoming closer to them does not diminish your love for anyone else in your life. Love doesn’t work that way.
And then there are all kinds of other small situations where scarcity and abundance battle it out in my brain, whether it’s about choosing where to go on vacation or how much money I’m spending or making an appointment or choosing the right movie time or dealing with the petty frustrations of life in a foreign country. Life doesn’t always work out as planned but it usually works out better than expected. Abundance teaches me over and over to think outside the box, shun the pointless, useless small-mindedness and negativity, and go bravely on faith despite my fears. It’s taught me so much so far, and I can’t wait to see what I learn in the rest of 2014.
A few more links and quotes about abundance I’ve noticed over the past few months:
“It is when we give that we feel most abundant. Giving sends a message to the universe that we have all we need. We become virtuous by the practice of virtue, responsible by the practice of responsibility, generous by the practice of generosity, compassionate by the practice of compassion. And we become abundant by giving to others.” -Arianna Huffington, Thrive
“There’s room for all of us. There’s enough success, money, and love to go around. There is no scarcity, really, unless we choose to look at life through that lens.” This whole article from Yes and Yes is so excellent.