Sunday, May 2, 2021

Abundance is about the Why, not the What

What does abundance mean? It’s a word that has a certain expectation to it: money, money, money (cue Broadway’s Cabaret).

While it may feel like money makes the world go around, does money in fact tie directly to abundance? How many stories have we seen that show the lottery winner who is bankrupt in just a few years, or the wealthy who are living well beyond their means despite having more money than 99% of the population?

That said, of course it can. If you suddenly receive an influx of money, and you are wise and take a hard look at your spending and debt and all that stuff a financial planner tells you to do, then yes, getting more money can lead to greater abundance.

The bigger question is WHY do you want abundance in your life? Is there a big-ticket item (a car or a house) that’s been just out of your reach? What about that trip overseas you’ve always wanted to take? Maybe you’ve had your hopes set on starting your own coffee shop?

Still, these are just what you want to do with the money. So the next question is, what would you feel if you had any or all of those things? Secure? Free? Accomplished? This is key – that feeling you’d have once you achieved what you would do with more abundance.

Why is this important? Because when we think about abundance, we often tell ourselves the ONLY way to achieve our goals is through more money. In fact, there are many ways to achieve abundance. I’ll give you an example.

My parents are retired teachers. They loved those jobs and were very good at them. They worked at a prep school in New England for 35 years. In all that time, they were incredibly abundant – and not because of their salaries. They worked on campus and were dorm heads for much of my childhood. This meant that they were responsible for watching at least 40 to 50 students (boys) of varying grade levels every school year in their dorm. No small task. It also meant they lived in the dorm on the first floor in a spacious apartment with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlooked a beautiful New England campus.

Their school also offered programs abroad if teachers were willing to take students with them. They leapt at the opportunity and were surprised when the school often found it difficult to find teachers to participate. Because of this program, they were able to visit Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, Greece, Australia, and New Zealand on multiple occasions – to this day, the friendships they formed in Australia have resulted in nearly annual trips there. Again, not because they were wealthy, but because they saw an opportunity and went for it.

Furthermore, when they decided to move on from being dorm heads, the school let them stay in a house just off campus that had a pool and a pool house, with some beautiful big trees in the backyard. There are stories upon stories about the time spent in that pool, including a wedding they hosted of my best friends (my dad married them).

They have always lived the most abundant life. Never because of their money but because of their openness to the opportunities around them – sure they required hard work along the way, but they never saw that as an obstacle, in part because they loved what they did.

So how do you approach the world – open to the abundance around you or unable to see abundance in front of you? Is it full of opportunity for adventure or do you only see the obstacles abounding? Do you know that when one door closes, another will open? Or, are you locking your door to keep what you do have safe and sound?

Abundance is a feeling – and when you feel abundant, even if for just a moment or two a day, it can make all the difference. In feng shui, it is this feeling – of already being abundant — that then becomes a beacon for more abundance to come your way. This is why it’s so important to surround yourself at home with what feels abundant to you.

In your kitchen, does your pantry have half-empty jars of rice or beans or nuts? Fill them up. Does your bedroom feel outdated or lackluster? Buy some new sheets or throw pillows that feel luxurious. What about your eating space – can you enhance how it feels with a table runner and a few candles?

Take a look around your home. What does it tell you about abundance? What it tells you is a good indication of how you feel about your current state of abundance. And if you want that to improve, feng shui can help.