You might be thinking: “I had abundance but now I have nothing. Those #@$& in Congress can’t figure out how to get our economy on track.” Perhaps you lost your job and replaced it with one that pays half what you used to earn. You had to file personal bankruptcy or you lost your business or home. This long term down economy has impacted our financial abundance and shifted our beliefs inside out about owning a home and the American Dream. You can stay in the past, full of blame, feeling angry and bitter about “what was” versus “what is.” Or you can choose to see the lessons about abundance that are here for you…now…today.
I am going to challenge your view of what is enough and what is too much. I am going to ask you to consider a new belief about abundance. By the end of this article you might realize that money is important and necessary, but comprises a small part of a rich life.
Money & Food
We are being “forced” to have a new and healthier relationship with money. Again, you ask, what does that mean? Think of money the way you think of food. Food is fuel. Money pays the bills. When you eat more than your body needs on a daily basis, you are likely to become obese and have other health complications. When you spend more than you make so that credit card payments and large mortgages rule your life, you are likely to find yourself hiring a bankruptcy attorney. When you think of money like food, it releases the attachments we have put on it in the past.
An illusion was created that the economy would continue to rise indefinitely. This illusion allowed banks to make unwise loans and we went crazy with credit card debt. We couldn’t get enough. We lost our way. We are living the consequences of these illusions.
Needs Versus Wants
Learning what is “enough” is discovering the difference between needs and wants. Want sometimes implies lack: try thinking about your wants in terms of what you desire. If money is like food, how much do you need? Wants—cravings like cake and ice cream—can be enjoyed occasionally and we can stay healthy. What are the few wants you choose to keep in your life and what can go? Do you need a 10,000-square-foot home and a $100,000 car? Or is a 2,500-square-foot home and $20,000 car enough? If you like the finer clothes, maybe you only shop at Nordstrom for a few essentials, and do the rest of your shopping elsewhere. If you like the finer cars, maybe you go to Carmax and buy a used high-end vehicle to drive. To bring it one step further, if you love quality and service, you can find it other places than the most expensive stores. You can find your occasional “wants” of Pradas and Vuitton on Craig’s list and no one will know!
Discerning your needs versus wants; learning that more is not better; new is not necessary; and where to find the best deals on the things you love – are great lessons to bring forward out of this economy.
Your Abundance List
Abundance has many meanings, especially plentifulness or a large quantity, as well as prosperity. If your abundance is no longer about more things or bigger stuff, and if too much risk and debt can, in the long run, bring you to a place where you are not comfortable…what is it about? If you can’t count on the economy, the housing market, or the stock market…what can you count on? Get out a pencil and paper. It’s time to create a new definition of abundance by asking yourself four questions.
Question #1: What is currently in your life that is “too much”? How can you shift this today? “Too much” can create anxiety in your life. A house that is clutter-filled. Credit card bills, mortgages, or car payments that keep you living on the edge. These are just a couple of examples where “too much” can keep you awake at night. When you discern your wants versus your needs; when you desire freedom versus things; you can begin making decisions to pare down and make space for less anxiety and more joy. Abundance is about joy!
Question #2: What positive shifts occurred in your life, because of this down economy, that have made it richer? Are you spending more time with your children and spouse, developing a new relationship with them? Are you cooking more at home and therefore eating better, because it’s a healthier and more economical alternative to eating out? Are you finding interesting places to visit locally that you had never seen before?
Question #3: What financial mistakes will you not make again? What valuable lessons about money, finances, and investments have you learned that you can take with you as the economy starts to rise again?
Question #4: What things in your life can you never have “too much” of? If we stop to re-think what abundance means, we realize that it involves matters of importance to the mind and spirit, as well as to the physical assets of money and wealth. What makes you laugh? What brings you joy? What makes you peaceful? This, in my opinion, is the MOST important question. When we really look, we realize that our life is already filled with abundance even with a lack of money! Or, to put it very simply: is your glass half empty or half full?
As an energy worker, I don’t believe that 2012 is about the end of the world. 2012 is about leaving the old behind. It is about a shifting of beliefs and “musts”—about lessons and coming back to our core. By creating a new definition of abundance without the old filters you are guaranteed to stay abundant in the future—no matter what it holds.
Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.
May your life be filled with abundance.
Published in Middleburg Life. April 8, 2012