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I thought that this week’s topic would come easy to me.
Abundance is something I’ve always felt in awe of and in love with. If someone had said “Quick! Tell me what comes to your mind when you hear the word Abundance!” I would have rattled off this list: love, health, joy, laughter, dreams, goals, hope, growth, spirituality, friendship, partnership, nature, and a strong sense of humility. I have definitely used the hashtag #thankyougoddessforabundance before.
Abundance is one of my key values and it motivates me in my work, spirituality, and relationships. But when I started reflecting on Abundance last week for The Tending Year, I had a mini-melt down. At first, I wasn’t sure why. I had never had a problem snuggling up to the idea of abundance before. But then I tapped into what felt so scary: I felt like a “good” self development researcher and writer or a “good” witch or a “good” person should say “I have everything that I need, and that is enough.” I was scared that if I admitted that I what I had is all that I needed, then the Universe might think, “Welp, she’s good where she’s at; leave her be to stay there.” I felt greedy, confused, and worried that I wouldn’t be able to navigate holding space for both being thankful and wanting more.
What is Abundance?
In prepping for this week’s post, I looked to the self development world to see what they thought. To be honest, searching for “abundance” in the Podcasts app brought up podcasts I had never seen before, and most of them focused on MONEY.
I know that abundance does not equal money. But…
…the more money I make, the more access I have to things that bring me comfort, joy, and, well, abundance. I’m talking about food, shelter, activities, and the big one: paying off debt and a dream for a debt-free future. I’m what you could call “upwardly mobile working-class.” I have always had at least one job since I was 16, I’ve been supporting myself financially since I moved out the beginning of my senior year of high school, and now I’m a graduate student who works three jobs. This means I balance working on my dissertation with working for money.
I want to say “I have all that I need” and I want to accept that the Universe has provided me with everything I might want. But… I have some reservations about sanctifying that message for myself because, well, I’ve definitely been without financial stability before, and it sucked. It sucked a lot. So where does this voice come from that whispers, “But even when you couldn’t afford food, you still had an apartment and people who loved you. Even when your credit cards were maxed, you never went to collections. Even when you were in abusive relationship, you still had your health. Even when you had chronic pain, you still had paychecks. Wasn’t that abundance? How can you be so ungrateful?”
THAT is why I had my mini-meltdown last week. My Toyota and MacBook Air and apartment near the middle of town scream to the world “Kate has privilege and abundance!” My debt and my stress managing work with writing a dissertation screams only to me “Fear! Scarcity! Debt!” And both are true.
Where the hell did I learn the story that I can’t both have abundance and want more abundance? I worked hard to develop the skills that make me money, and I bootstrapped and credit-card-debted the hell out of my twenties to get to where I am. I’m cranky and I want my abundance! But also, I know that being in debt doesn’t erase the abundance that comes from love and community. Throw all of those conflicting messages in a blender, and you get a femme who precariously puts her toes onto an ice covered river called IT IS OKAY TO BOTH HAVE ENOUGH AND TO STILL WANT TO MANIFEST MORE.
How Do I Manifest Abundance?
You already have abundance. Right now you might not be able to see it and that might be because you are going through some genuinely difficult times. I’m not here to gaslight you and tell you “Everything is amazing if you just change your perspective!,” because sometimes it feels like the Universe has forgotten about us, and sometimes pain, scarcity, violence, loneliness, illness, or grief DO zap our connection to abundance. I witness that hardcore. I’ve been in every one of those theres. Maybe you’re like me and you’re holding space for both great abundance and some crappy, lackluster stuff.
That all being said, if you feel up to it, try to think about abundance in terms of caring. In Episode 3: Success of Let it Be, Kelly Exeter quotes Joel Zaslofsky: “A successful life is having time to look out for each other.”
Maybe you don’t have time to share through volunteering, but you have money to donate. Maybe you don’t have money to donate, but you are able to pray or send intention or tell people you love and appreciate them.
Abundance means little to me if I can’t share it with my loved ones. I have a “Give Back to the Community” portion of my budget that I spend donating to Kickstarters, nonprofits, Gofundmes, etc. I’m especially invested in donating to fellow queers. I feel abundance when I can share with my community.
When I was still feeling nervous to admit my abundance, I knew I needed to check my perspective and practice some self-compassion. I checked out a new podcaster I hadn’t listened to because she had my favorite thing in her title: a numbered list. Sarah Prout’s Your Journey to Manifesting Episode 4: 3 Prosperity Secrets to Manifest Abundance made reflecting on abundance feel safer to me. She reminded me that my fears about wanting more abundance might be due to “tiny mad ideas that get stuck in our subconscious minds… and we begin to start behaving and operating from the paradigm of limitation.”
Whoa. Okay. I’m on board with you there, Sarah. I was definitely feeling a fear that I should limit my desires for abundance, because I was still thinking of abundance in terms of money and money is complicated. I know what I want isn’t just a pile of Scrooge McDuck money. I want stability, comfort, love, energy, connection. I want to have a career that matters and helps people. I want to heal and flourish. Money will allow me to access those in certain ways, but as Sarah says, “the beauty of Abundance is that you get to define it on your own terms.”
I encourage you to check out the entire podcast, but to summarize, here are the 3 Prosperity Secrets:
- The Universe wants me to be abundant.
- The Universe wants me to be of service.
- The Universe wants me to inspire others.
Maybe it’s time that I stop beating myself up for wanting to make money and instead focus more on what I want to do, which is create and live in a life of love, healing, peace, tending, and working my path. If I can remember that desiring those things that money can help me access is admirable, maybe I can lean back in to desiring abundance.
Give yourself permission to daydream.
One of the first meditations I listened to when I started meditating asked me to visualize the future I wanted. I pictured myself in a beautiful, big kitchen. This symbolized that I could manifest the kind of future I wanted, the one where I was in love and had a home with my partner and where I had the kind of career that allowed me to access time and energy to cook for us.
Spend some time daydreaming, meditating, or writing about your dream future. You can either stop there, or you can write out steps for how you can get to that future and try to do one thing a day that will help you to manifest it. You don’t have to know how to get there yet, but I think there’s something important about knowing our decisions are small steps to get us to our passions and our dreams.
Make It Small
Write or imagine a gratitude list. If you don’t like gratitude lists (some people don’t; that’s okay), try writing a list of “What I’m Certain About” (idea from Kelly Exeter in Straight and Curly Episode 91: Accepting Things that Are Out of Your Control). The point here is to help you remember that the Universe has provided you with abundance–but to do so without gaslighting yourself if there are parts of your life that don’t feel as abundant. Remember, both can be true at the same time. Think back to Sarah’s 3 Secrets…rock out your abundance with pride, but also write down ways that you’re helping others/sharing the wealth (financial or otherwise) and how you’re inspiring others.
Build an altar
I have at least one altar in every room of my house. Some are for love, or work, or healing, or to honor ancestors. I think all of my altars are tied to abundance in their own ways. You’ll find mine full of pomegranates, tarot cards, herbs, flowers, old photos, figurines, messages, and more meaningful things. I even put a whole cinnamon chocolate bar on my ancestors altar for Lisa Ben because I imagine that her hard femme self would have liked it. You can build an altar to help you manifest abundance by focusing your intention and energy and senses on what you’d like to manifest and organizing objects or writing in a way that is pleasing to you. Building altars helps me feel in touch with all of the abundance in my life because each item represents something that reminds me of love, spirit, growth, healing, or other abundant memories or dreams. You can pray at the altar or simply spend time looking at it every day. Some people choose to put money in a jar or vessel on their abundance alters–it just depends on what you’d like to manifest!
***If you want to read more, I published an updated version of this blog post in an article called “Abundance: What Is It? And How to Uncover It In Your Life” in the first issue of The Homeworker Magazine.***
*Please note that the original version of this blog post was published here.