The Abundance Among Us
How living simply means living abundantly.
Posted May 27, 2020
abundance [uh-buhn-duhns]. noun.
1. an extremely plentiful or oversufficient quantity or supply
2. overflowing fullness
3. affluence, wealth
4. an attitude and way of life many people talk about, yet struggle to embrace, often due to primarily focusing on #3
OK, the last definition doesn’t actually appear in the dictionary, but it does bear some truth. As humans, we frequently—and almost automatically—associate the term with wealth, money, and possessions. We connect it to having a large house, expensive car, or how many zeros appear on our paychecks. A handful of people might even visualize themselves swimming in piles of gold coins like Scrooge McDuck. This perception of abundance is about more, more, and more.
The reality is that this line of thinking complicates our ability to acknowledge the abundance around us. When we focus on acquiring money, buying the next best thing, or keeping up with the Joneses, we’re preventing ourselves from seeing all the simple goodness that exists. By doing this, the river of opportunities dams up, blocking happiness, peace, and success from flowing into our world. Learning to decelerate our lives creates the head and heart space needed to focus on the abundance of the present.
This lesson in abundance awareness personally solidified for me during a 2018 trip to Costa Rica. My wife and I spent 17 beautiful days traveling around the small, lush country, soaking up all it had to offer. Since this was a tropical vacation, the contents of our packs consisted of tank tops, swimsuits, shorts, sandals—anything that could be rinsed and hung to dry. We surfed, ziplined, watched the wildlife, enjoyed the picturesque sunsets on the beach, and ate fresh meals at restaurants sprinkled along the main dirt road. Quickly learning that wearing shoes was optional in one particular surfing village, we frequently opted to go barefoot. Our accommodations were straightforward and included only the essentials.
About a week into our journey, my wife and I noticed how people weren’t concerned with what we did for a living (interestingly, the only individuals who asked us this were American). In Costa Rica, conversations weren’t initiated with questions about our jobs or positions; rather, they focused on our travel plans, relationship, or surfing skill levels. We were discovering that in this Central American nation, what someone did to earn money or how much they made did not define them, their success, or their future. It was about living purely, simply, authentically, and without judgment.
I started realizing what was genuinely important to me. Spending less time getting ready, for example, equated to more time spent adventuring and experiencing. Learning to let each day unfold organically instead of planning it out allowed me to fully be in and enjoy the present moment. Things felt simpler, relaxed, spontaneous, and less stressful. I began embracing and living by the country’s catch-all slogan, “Pura Vida” (meaning “pure life”). With my abundance of consciousness awakened, I’m now able to recognize and appreciate the bounty of goodness around me. It continues manifesting in various forms in my life—love, friendships, family, pets, business opportunities, experiences, fun, nature, etc. By engaging in a consistent and intentional mindfulness practice, I’m gently reminded of these invaluable treasures.
On our planet exists an abundance of everything; what usually prevents us from accessing the tiniest portion of it is our self-limiting beliefs and tendency to complicate things. Add to that the societal focus on wealth, success, and professional identity, and life gets more complex. Slowing down our lives and minds, even for a few minutes, can shift our awareness enough to see the simple abundance we already possess, as well as what exists in the universe. When we’re consciously aware of this, it becomes a life-transforming habit that results in an attitude of gratitude and happiness.
After all, abundance is in the eye of the beholder.