|Signs of approaching spring... source|
An Abundant Life ~ Chapter 1 began with the idea that your thoughts create your world. A shift in your perspective is often all it takes to see the world from a brighter, lighter place. A deliberate turning away from all that is “wrong” in your life, your job, or your world, and a refocus on all that is “right”, or all of the blessings, can take a day that you were just managing to get through, and wondrously transform it into one that you wish to embrace. Right before your very eyes. That's where the magic begins...
In An Abundant Life ~ Chapter 2, I dug into Leaps of Faith. Challenging for most, and seemingly impossible for some. It's a simple idea, close your eyes, jump and follow your heart, but one that often requires great courage and faith. Over time I’ve come to believe it is the only sure-fire way to an abundant life. It also seems to render the quickest results. Right now, as I write this post, it is a leap of my own. I’m never sure when the inspiration to write the next chapter of this series will come, if at all. I don’t force it, I just wait until I hear the urging and feel overwhelmingly compelled to put pen to paper. When I write these posts I feel like I open a doorway that connects my inner world to my outer. I simply write whatever I hear, often struggling to keep up as I scribble away. This morning I re-read Chapters 1 & 2 to refresh myself and thought, “Can I do it again? Can I be so clear and concise? Can I convey my deep believing through mere and often ineffectual words? Will I be able to organize the huge volume of thoughts tearing around in my mind, all vying for attention, time and space to be heard?” I’ll be the first to admit that doubt was present. A deep breath, a comfy spot and a leap. A belief that Spirit will once again guide my thoughts, illuminate the important ones, help me to find those meant to read my words, and allow my pen to keep up with my mind!
Today, I tell you to live it. Live your dream as if it already exists. Don’t just go through the motions but feel it. Imagine the emotions that accompany your dream and truly experience them, no matter how far off that dream is from your current reality. Joy, peace, excitement, pleasure, satisfaction. Now, cultivate patience while the Universe shifts and moves circumstances to accommodate your dream. Sometimes this takes hours, sometimes days, sometimes years. I encourage you to hang on to the knowledge that it is heading your way, in a time and place that is best for you. Patience came much easier once I realized that it can be quite an exciting thing, wondering how the magic will unfold this time around. In this way the waiting becomes a game as I observe pieces fall neatly into place.
I’d like to share with you one of my ‘living it’ experiences. I thought hard about which one to choose as there are so many to pick from at this point. I decided to dig into one that many struggle with, it is familiar to us all ~ money, or most often, lack of. I wonder what thoughts raced through your mind with the introduction of that one small word. Frustration? Irritation? Anger? Joy? Pressure? Freedom? I know those emotions well, for most of my life I’ve had a love/hate relationship with money. It became a living entity in my mind, one that had the power to make my life a challenging one, or an effortless stroll. It often took the challenging route.
Since I started making steady money at age 16, but most especially once I was married with a home and kiddos, my motto regarding money was “as long as I have enough, I’ll be happy.” Enough in this case was defined as the amount needed to cover bills, food etc. And so, with that small sentence I unwittingly created my world, and one I would live in for quite a few years. I asked for just enough and got… just enough. My bills were paid, food was in the panty. Good right? The years passed, we got by happily enough, were never lacking. I thought that money and I had come to an understanding of sorts. A peaceable agreement. Enough to get by, but not quite enough to play.
|Recently I treated myself to a dozen roses, simply because they were beautiful|
Then several years ago I started digging into this whole “your thoughts create your world” business with deep enthusiasm. I had managed to get my life turned back in a positive direction and out of the horrifying depths of panic and despair using this very method. I had seen time and time again the awesome power that my intentions, mere thoughts held and I was fascinated. The world now seemed my stage, and I a magician of sorts. In willing collaboration with Sprit we could do anything, and the world became an exciting place, spilling over with unlimited possibilities.
I regularly experiment with ideas that I stumble across in my reading. And I say 'stumble' with a smirk. If something resonates within me I’m always motivated to prove it. Not necessarily to myself, but to illustrate my point to the world, or sometimes just my husband. Or maybe my girls. I store these experiments and pull them out when I want to say that “Yes, despite all illogical human logic, this does work. Here’s how it unfolded for me…” So, of course I experimented with money. First I had to shift my perspective. Money could no longer be my enemy with power to wield over me. It had to become in my mind, an ally. An instrument of fun, a toy. To achieve that it took some practice, I assure you. Lots of it. This mentality about money had been with me all of my life. Growing up we had never had extra. I remember stripping leaves from the trees to feed the rabbits when we ran out of feed. I remember having to choose between friends’ birthday parties that fell on the same weekend because we only had gas money for one trip out. I remember cold bedrooms because it was expensive to heat a big, old, drafty house. But, we always had food, and clothes and ‘just enough’ to get by. Upon retrospect it isn’t hard to see where my money thoughts originally stemmed from.
Now, back to my self imposed money experiment, or challenge as I saw it. How would I go about this? Should I take a big leap? Or a small baby-sized one? For those who know me, a running leap is really all I know how to do. I needed to prove that money was no different than any other thought. Next, I had to make that leap of faith. I had to learn to live as though it were already mine, that abundance of money. I had to shape my thoughts and behaviors to reflect that abundance really did exist in this area of my life too.
I make it a point to pay off my credit card balance each month. It used to be the very first bill I paid, and then I just made due with what was left. I decided to take this challenge one month at a time. I figured that if this experiment were to fail I could only do limited and reparable damage in 30 days. Having a balance free card gave me this freedom. For one month I would not worry about money. I would buy what I needed; I would buy what I wanted. I wouldn’t keep track of what I’d spent, what was coming it, or what was going out. I wouldn’t talk about money, or lack of. I wouldn’t ask Scott if overtime was available, I wouldn’t try to create money. I would allow it to flow in of its own accord.
Here’s where every financial advisor in the world will disagree with me, but what did I do? Out came the credit card. Truly, I viewed it as a magic card. With it I was able to direct my money flow, what went out must come back in. I’ll admit that I didn’t go crazy and buy a new car or drop thousands on a shopping spree, but if I wanted something I bought it, and I didn’t worry about where the money was coming from.
How does this differ from the attitude of people today who follow this exact same pattern and find themselves buried under mountains of debt? I held onto my deep faith that there is more than enough to go around, food, love, money, courage, it’s all there for the asking. I knew that the amount I was spending was nothing, mere pennies in the grand scheme of things. I trusted in the flow of abundance and knew it would all be okay. I won’t say it wasn’t hard. I was up against quite a few self-taught money habits. Previous to this month I always knew exactly how much was in my account at all times, how much I was short (i.e. lacking) or occasionally, how much I was over. To hand over my money control to this invisible force was hard. But I stuck with it. I lived it. I believed it. I felt the freedom from money woes... and I liked it. A lot.
|Yup, a super cute sleeping Roux|
The month ended and with trepidation I looked at the credit card statement. It was big. Scary big. I held the checkbook in sweaty hands, was one mere month of faith and belief enough to overcome a lifetime of living in lack? Yes! Yes! Yes! It had worked. Granted, it was only one month, but it was a start. So, where had all of that extra money come from? Maybe I made some extra sales in my shop. Once in awhile I’ll just receive random checks in the mail, a payment overage of some sort. Maybe Scott told me he was needed at work and was heading in for some OT. Honestly though, sometimes I can’t tell you where that money came from. If I sat down with pen and paper and diligently figured, I’m sure it would all be explainable, but to tell you the truth, I didn’t much care about all of the details. I’ve discovered that the Universe is perfectly capable of figuring out the details without my say-so in the matter. In fact, it seems to work much more efficiently if I just step out of the way, which I am more than happy to do.
The magic money thing has been going on for a couple of years now. Have I had to carry a balance or put off paying a bill? Nope. Not one time. Crazy, right? Even when I decided to take the plunge and invest in the organic beds and couches that I had long desired. As you can imagine this was an astronomical sum and yet… no problem says a smiling Universe. I find that sometimes old habits die hard, and there are those doubtful days when I’m compelled to pull out the calculator and do some ‘figuring’. These times, when I succumb to ego and lack, always manage to set me back some. Because on paper it all seems impossible. However, with much nail biting and lip-chewing I force myself to put it all way. It will all work out. I imagine myself paying off the card or the bill. I imagine the satisfaction. I feel the gratitude. I live it before it even comes to pass. And then, I move on.
It’s been a long enough experiment to prove to myself that abundance does exist in this facet of my life along with many others. I struggle with finding words when I end up in the company of someone living in lack. I get the distinct impression that many are comfortable there, it’s what they know and it seems to brings them some sort of relief to bemoan their bad luck. A reason to complain aobout their husband, the government, or the world in general. My words of abundance fall on deaf ears, and I realize that perhaps lack is an intricate part of their journey, and they truly can’t hear the 'secret' that I willingly share. Many don't want to accept that their thoughts are the very things holding them back. To put it bluntly, they have no one to blame except themselves, and that can be very hard to swallow. We are a society that likes to place the blame... squarely on someone, anyone else. So I nod, but I can’t agree with their words. Not with so much abundance and joy surrounding me.
I used freedom from money issues to illustrate my point in this post, but you can insert any dream in its place with equal success. Is there an 'item' you’ve been coveting? Imagine that it already exists in your world. Hang a photo (or ten!) and admire it daily, hourly. I did this with my solar panels, and today they don't only exsist on paper, but on my garage roof. Live in your mind as if you already own it. How do you feel when you sit on your new couch? When you whisper to your new love? Or drive your new car? Or wear those new shoes? Or cradle that newly born babe? Feel it as often as you can, express gratitude for what’s already on its way and wait for it to appear in your world. Now, express gratitude once again for good measure.
I do not necessarily suggest that you approach things in the same manner as I did. I tend to jump right in, but this isn’t a comfortable approach for everyone. I heard Jim Carrey tell a story one time, he wrote out a check to himself, dated a year ahead for some crazy sum like a million dollars. He kept it in his wallet and looked at it often. I imagine he took some time deciding what he would do with that money once it arrived in his life. I’m also guessing it brought great excitement and anticipation. And a year later, it did appear, almost to the day. The power of thoughts is truly incredible; doesn’t it give you tingles to imagine what you could create?
I’m slightly uncomfortable giving the impression that money creates happiness, although hopefully at this point you know me better. I don’t think anything external ever creates genuine, lasting joy. That definitely emanates from within, from that quiet, all-knowing place that we all have, even if we haven't discovered it yet. But once I changed my opinion of money from ‘evil’ to ‘playful’ I was free from its hold. I use it to create, much as I do yarn or paper. I apologize if this sounds flippant, I know that money is a struggle for many, but it is to you that I write this post. It doesn’t have to be this way. It doesn’t always have to be hard. Collectively we have created a world where we worship the almighty dollar, it has the potential to create happiness when in abundace and despair in its lack. That isn't the world I wish to live in. Although I no longer worry about money, I still choose to live simply, surrounding myself with meaningful treasures, never just clutter. Just because money can buy something, doesn't mean it has to buy something.
Dream it. Live it. Feel it. Taste it. Breathe it. Share it. If abundance exists for me, than abundance exists for you. In all areas. The world truly is your playground, so go ahead and create with joyful abandon! Wait and watch for the abundance to flow...
Peace & Blessings ~ Melinda