When I think of abundance, I am reminded of a picture that was given to me by a very close friend. A budding photographer, she had captured a cluster of cherry blossoms as they vied for space to become fully expressive on the tree in Japan that was their home. So fertile … and so ripe … each small blossom seemed to be pushing and shoving to find a sliver of space within which to expand. The picture of fertility and abundance!
The notion of abundance calls to mind wheat fields, bursting with color and movement, swaying in an early morning breeze. Or perhaps, schools of fish as they move with one mind, sharp turns in one direction or the other. Or for you, it may be the bottom line on your financial statement!
The notion of abundance calls to mind thoughts of more than … an excess of … plenty to go around – and then some. And yet, perhaps this notion is only the obvious while there resides an even more powerful invitation to abundance that stands on the shoulders of much less.
The mark of a good manager, leader, parent, etc. is not the capacity to be effective when things are going well but to be able to be effective in scarcity; in those times when things do not fall easily into place; and events invite dissension and conflict. There is something that beckons to the greater self; to the part of us that desires to stretch and grow and extend, and in so doing continually seeks opportunities for just such a moment to unfold.
There are those among us who, when faced with what we would call scarcity or a perceived experience of ‘lack’, move to higher ground and into deeper levels of mind and find, within this moment of scarcity, the kernel that if attended to and nurtured and watered, will become the roots of tomorrow’s abundance.
There are those among us who look at devastation and see the opportunity to rebuild; who can touch the parched, dry ground and move deeper into their faith that the rains will come. There are those among us who, when touched in some way by adversity or struggle or pain, allow themselves to fall into the reservoir of strength that sits just under the surface of their hardship – and rise to the occasion.
Things are not always what they seem. Consider for a moment the common occurrence of those we would consider to be blessed with abundance who have been known to take their own lives. To the naked eye, their abundance and even excesses are easy to tally. If only that were my life, we think to ourselves, I would be so happy! And yet, the headlines of the local tabloid scream evidence to the contrary. Perhaps abundance is not so easily measured and weighed. Perhaps even abundance has its price.
We tend to seek to fulfill our need or desire for an experience of abundance from the outside. We look around us; or beside us and rarely ever inside us to find what we’re looking for. We defer to external standards to tell us what we should want; how much and when we’ll know that we’ve gone as far as we need to. Rarely do we move into those still, silent places inside of us and ask: what do I really want? If I were to die tomorrow, how will I know I’ve made a difference? How will my presence have enriched my world? What will really have mattered?
Sometimes, in our frantic search for more and bigger and better, we overlook the possibility that the roots of abundance lie in what we give and not just what we get. We forget those moments when we could burst – from the inside out – with a sense of joy of accomplishment or contribution or simple satisfaction from a job well done … and with an attitude of grace and elegance. Ironic, isn’t it, that the more we give to others, the greater our sense of having received.
As the summer months unfold and offer up their bounty of cool, refreshing swims and BBQ’s with family and friends, Mother Nature offers up an abundance of opportunities to feel the wind and the sun; to hear the delight of water-logged play; and to see the glorious moment when the sun drops below the horizon, holding the promise to come again. If we let ourselves pay attention, we begin to notice that the absence of the sun is always followed by the gentle offering of the moon. Where else in our lives have we perhaps not yet noticed that when one gift fulfills its time, another will always come to take its place – if we pay attention.
Abundance is everywhere; in all things and in all moments. When was the last time we noticed? It may be useful to remind ourselves that energy flows where attention goes … and our lives will be filled with what we look for. Looking for and finding the moment of truth that offers up its potential for us to grow may wear the disguise of scarcity but is, in fact, abundance dressed up for the fun of it!
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