Last month I wrote about how Scarcity is a Shame Conversation and it generated a lot of feedback and "me too" confessions. It seems like a lot of us struggle with that conversation but don't know how to change it. The time is now to start a new conversation in our minds and out loud to change the conversation to one of abundance. While I am still on a journey to being a person of abundance, I want to extend ideas of how I've moved toward abundance in my life. These practices (and I'm sure others) have propelled me toward an abundance mentality. What are your practices?
I remember a season several years ago that caused some deep, deep pain in my life. The ache the loss caused was visceral and palpable. My spiritual director advised me that my prescription was radical self-care and that I needed to surround myself with beauty so I could see the potential of what was beyond me. Scarcity is about lack, not enough. Beauty calls out that there is so much life all around us. Nature is where I see it most clearly.
Today I was battling that old scarcity mentality, so I took a walk. Before I would've let the "not enough" take me out for the day. No more! I walked around our neighborhood for over an hour, capturing images of beauty that reminded me of this great big world and all that's available for me, with me, and toward me. Beauty redirects my perspective to what's more for me, around me, within me, and beyond me.
Beauty leads me to gratitude, too! Beauty compels gratitude. When I want to drown my worries in "not enough", worst-case-scenario thinking, I've disciplined my soul to express gratitude. Saying "thank you" for gifts and acts of service has been a value for ages, but the discipline of gratitude is re-wiring my brain for abundance. Everyday I rehearse what I'm grateful for...
- I'm grateful for my man who loves me and is committed to partnership in every area of life.
- I'm thankful for the growth and wellness of 3 miracle babies.
- I'm thankful for work that I love.
- I'm grateful for a home in a neighborhood that's absolutely stunning.
- I'm grateful we live in our dream location.
- I'm grateful for natural solutions for my body, mind, and spirit.
- I'm thankful for the view outside my living room and kitchen.
- I'm grateful for friends who reach out and ask how I'm doing.
- I'm thankful for my home team and that they know the best and worst of who I am.
- I'm grateful for coffee in the morning and wine at night.
...and the gratitude list goes on and on. I will speak my gratitude list for as long as I need until my mentality shifts from lack to fullness. I will practice thankfulness until my anxiety and anger are transformed into an overflowing heart.
Gratitude moves me into contentment for what I have right now. The secret of being content is knowing you have all you need in this moment to be sustained. The crazy thing about scarcity is that it causes you to acquire more, even when you can't afford it. Debt is often about scarcity in my experience. Hurriedness is about a lack of time instead of doing what you can do with the time and energy given to you. Contentment flips the conversation. It moves me into "I'm ok with what I have right now." It doesn't remove the longing for more and it certainly doesn't cause you to settle, but it doesn't force what can't be afforded in time, money, or energy right now. Contentment believes it will come at the right time and there's work you need to do before you get there. Shame sinisterly says, "You are not enough. You are not worthy. You do not have enough and you should get more." Contentment whispers, "You are enough just as you are." Breathe.
I noticed a pattern in my life of being attracted to others who have a scarcity mentality. Scarcity attracts scarcity. I began paying attention to their language and posture. It usually revealed itself in their language of there not being enough (business, money, opportunities, time, whatever!) for everyone. They needed to hold on to what was "theirs" (and some of what wasn't!) in an almost possessive and compulsive way. They had to collect and preserve what had been given to them out of fear that it may be taken away.
Re-training my mentality has required me listening to, following, and learning from those who are abundantly full in their lives. This doesn't mean rich people only in a financial capacity. Abundant people are rich in their souls. They don't see a law of diminishing returns, but of grace creating more life. I've committed myself to posturing myself to run toward those voices and cut out voices that reinforce the dangerous perspective of "what's mine is mine". Abundance attracts abundance.
When you are free, you can be generous in your whole life. Money is a tool to bless others and make the world a better place. The best way through financial scarcity is to give away what's only yours to steward anyway! Your time is to be stewarded to invest in another's life. Don't believe you have enough time in your day? Prioritize what you must do and watch it get done. The gifts that have been given to you are to be shared with the world and multiplied beyond what they could be on their own. Generosity opens your hands and allows you to let go.
This is a new one for me! Living full of abundance means honoring the vision and dreams in my bones and letting them out. For too long I've held back in life and leadership. I've contained what I dream as possible within me and lived too safe. Scarcity has lied to me that it's not possible. Creating my vision board reminds me what's possible and calls it out of me.
I've realized that some of my scarcity thinking is because of hurt others have caused me. It's caused me to hunker down, defend what's mine, protect what I have, instead of run for what's possible. My lack of forgiveness for offenders has been like drinking poison and expecting them to die. Forgiveness is more for me than it is for them. Forgiveness is about letting go of what was so I'm open to receive what can be. Forgiving another's offenses offers fullness of life because I have also been forgiven beyond what I deserve.
What was true yesterday doesn't have to repeat itself tomorrow - bad relationships, debt, unsatisfying jobs, tyranny of the urgent. Way too often we look back in our lives as the way forward, instead of learning from the past and using it as a catalyst to create the life we want to life today and tomorrow. Being a person of abundance means that we look to the future with all the trust and faith we can muster. It means telling the past that it doesn't have to repeat itself in the future.
A while back I posted a meditation from Fr. Richard Rohr about this subject. You can find it HERE.
May all these words serve you well in your own journey toward abundance. May you find yourself full of all that is and letting go of the restraints and self-limitations of the past.
May you know you are loved by a very good God who desires to give you all the goodness you are able to receive.