I am plagued with a persistent hankering for Lay’s potato chips. Fortunately, I can usually reel in the urge to dive into that yellow bag of lusciousness. But coveting my friend’s PERFECT hair is another story – it’s me running amok on the dangerous precipice of envy. Maybe I’m being dramatic, but I don’t want to covet anything or envy anyone. What I want is to appreciate every bit of the unique abundance I already have.
Abundance isn’t measured in net worth, house size, titles, degrees, public adulation, or, alas, the condition of one’s hair. Actually, it’s a mindset and a perceptual choice that allows us to:
- Perceive more opportunities than limitations in the LIFE we live
- Appreciate what we already have
- Avoid comparing ourselves with others
- Embrace change because we believe we will be fine
If that isn’t a recipe for abundant inner peace, I don’t know what is. But how do we get there?
Practices that Cultivate Abundance
- Spruce up your thinking
Consciously recall the challenges you’ve conquered and the support that is always available to you from, well, you decide: a higher power, your family, friends, the universe. Tell or remind yourself that you are supremely capable of living an abundant life.
- Consider all that you have
Go ahead, challenge yourself to list 100 people, experiences, things, insights, lessons for which you are grateful. Or, start at A and end at Z. Example: a great Apartment; mastering Zoom. However you get there, you will be amazed at how much abundance fills your life.
- Stop comparing!
This might be a deeply-entrenched habit that is hard to break. Remember that there will always be people who have more of this or more of that, than you. But “more” isn’t the measure or the goal. How often do you hear people say that constantly striving for more and better has made them miserable? Spend time with the idea that every human being experiences abundance in a unique way. Remember that you get to define what meaningful abundance looks like for you. Tip: Take your cues from your “A to Z” exercise!
- Move in the direction of the life you want
The pandemic caused many of us to reconsider the life we really want. It’s personal, and it should be. It’s also fluid, not static. It takes courage, maybe even a measure of “bad-assness” to put a stake in the ground for the life you want. You may find yourself procrastinating or questioning your ability to do so. I get that. Start with one area of your life and create a greater sense of abundance there. For example, let’s say that your cup runneth over with material things and you feel suffocated by all of that “stuff.” Maybe you decide that you can create a greater sense of abundance by clearing out and living more simply. That idea turns the conventional notion of abundance on its head, but it makes perfect sense. With one “win” under your belt, move to the next opportunity.
- Up your generosity
Some say it’s better to give than to receive. Or, that the greatest beneficiary of gifting is the gifter. Something shifts from the inside when we open up to others in a spirit of generosity. My mom was a materially-poor woman by most American standards. But she lived every day of her life with enormous generosity. She gave from her heart as well as from her meager pocketbook, believing that there would always, somehow, be enough. Because she had defined abundance on her own terms, she was absolutely right.