As we welcomed in 2020 this New Year's Eve, I did something I haven't managed to do in my whole adult life. I went to a New Year's party, socialised and didn't have a single alcoholic drink!
For those of you who don't drink, this might sound pretty trivial, but for me it was a revelation.
This was the first of 5 changes that I made in January which have had a profound affect on making my life more abundant.
You can find out what the other 4 things that I did to make my life more abundant further down the post, but first l want to share with you some of the things I have learnt about what abundance actually is.
What is abundance?
In our western society we often think of abundance as material wealth. Our possessions and the things we acquire in life are a very valid form of abundance. Having a home, clothes, maybe a car or other material wealth is important to many of us and can help to improve our lives and wellbeing.
However, we all know, or have heard of people who have everything money and material wealth can bring them, but despite their financial prosperity, they are not fulfilled or happy.
How can a person who appears to have everything, not be satisfied with their lives?
The truth is that real abundance is not just about the material.
So if that is the case what is abundance?
Abundance is free
Abundance is something we can all access, whether you have a million pounds in the bank, if you are overdrawn or if you don’t have a bank account at all!
True abundance is about a mindset.
Take a look at your surroundings now. What do you have? Do you have a home?
The answer is yes. Even if you are what some may call ‘homeless’ you have a home.
Your home is the Earth, and the Earth is teeming with abundance.
This is not to make light of your situation if you find yourself without a roof over your head, however the first step in tapping into an abundance mindset is realising what you do have, and focussing on the wealth in your life, rather than focussing on the areas where you perceive lack or limitations.
Being grateful for what you do have.
Here is an exercise to start to create an abundance mindset. Grab a piece of paper and a pen, a journal or a page on your computer or smartphone, or close your eyes and begin to create a mental list of the things in your life that you are grateful for.
If you are reading this post, you have the internet and access to a device that connects to the internet. That’s two things you could put on your gratitude list to get started.
When we start to really think about the wealth we have in our lives the list can get seriously long.
Do you have family members, friends, a job (regardless of whether it’s the job you really want), clean water to drink, food in your fridge, access to green spaces, books, a pet that depends on you?
The list for what most of us have and can access is often a lot larger than we may initially realise.
All of us are surrounded by a wealth of abundance, yet many of us still feel we are lacking. Why is this?
In western society we are trained from a young age that enough is not really enough. Our media bombards us with images of the perfect life and tells us that the way to have the perfect life is to buy lots of stuff to make us feel good.
We can easily find ourselves on a path of trying to accumulate material objects that we think will make us happy.
How many times have you thought,
‘if I get the job I want with the salary I want my life will be better?’
If you have been on this path and manifested the job and the salary, what is the next thing you wanted? The promotion? The increased salary?
And when you get the next job title and the wage increase, the cycle goes on and on and on.
Many people are on a treadmill, constantly striving for the next thing that will improve their lives, and if for some reason they don’t achieve the ‘next big thing’ on the list, they are left feeling demotivated, worthless and stressed out.
We can never predict what our future holds and when we have an idealised view of what the future should look like for us we are bound to be filled with disappointment when it doesn’t materialise.
Always striving for the next best thing leaves us tired, emotionally drained, anxious and stressed out.
How to get off the treadmill
What a lot of people don’t realise is that our lives, in this present moment are perfection and filled to the brim with everything we could ever need or want, but our minds are often telling us a different story.
Stop for a minute and start to listen to what is going around in your head.
Here is an example of what sort of thoughts used to go around my head constantly.
“I need to get to work on time or people will talk about me being late.
I need to get the kids packed lunches ready, get up get dressed and get to work on time. I woke up late, I can’t possibly get to work on time. When I get to work people will be talking about me being late.
I have so many emails to catch up on and 4 meetings today. I can’t possibly do it all.
Oh god I hate my job but I have so many bills to pay. My gas bill is due to day, I hate having to go to work just to pay bills.
I wish I had more money to spend on myself. It will always be like this, working in a place where I am not appreciated just so I can have the heating on and pay all these never ending bills.
Ok let me just try to get through the working day, when I get home I will make the dinner.
Oh no I don't have everything I need to make the dinner. The traffic will be awful, then I will have to go to the supermarket before going home.
I'm so tired I wish I could just go to bed. I wish the house wasn’t such a mess, I clean it all the time but it always looks like a bomb site.
No one appreciates me. I feel so depressed. Maybe I will go shopping and buy myself something to cheer myself up, but no I can’t do that because I have to pay for that school trip.
I shouldn’t put myself first as that would make me a bad mum…..”
And on and on and on...
All day long, week after week, month after month, year after year, I was bombarding myself with these thoughts. Not to say I never had a positive thought, but the negative chatter in my head far outweighed the few positive thoughts I occasionally had.
If you stop and listen to your thoughts can you relate to these thought patterns? Can you even slow down enough to actually hear yourself think?
After the years of negative thoughts that I wasn’t even conscious of, I managed to manifest stress, anxiety and depression. My shoulders were always knotted and felt tight, my body was tired all the time, I was drinking far too much to self medicate and try and escape my reality and I was a shell of who I should have been, putting on a brave face for the world to see while I felt like I was dying inside.
Can you relate to this?
It took me years of on and off dabbling with all the things that people tell you will make you feel better. I exercised, but could never stick to it because opening a bottle of wine was easier.
I tried meditation, but I could never fully commit to it as I had too much other stuff to do.
I read self help books and although I resonated with a lot of what I read it seemed that most of what I learned was too difficult to apply to my real world reality. After all I still had a million and one things that I needed to get done.
Getting up at 5am and taking a cold shower while everyone else was still in bed before hitting the gym wasn’t the advice I needed to hear.
Don’t give up trying
After years of trying to improve myself and not feeling like I was getting anywhere, something happened in the last few weeks that made everything click into place.
At the beginning of the year I decided to make some big changes to last throughout January, and for the first time I stuck to them. Here is what I did
- I took on the Dry January challenge
- I meditated everyday
- I wrote a gratitude journal everyday
- I walked in nature for a minimum of 1 hour every day
- I listened excessively to material on self help and the law of attraction.
And now January is over I can absolutely vouch for all of these things being life changing, but out of all these practices the one that has allowed the others to slot into place has been the meditation.
The stillness of meditation allows us to really stop and listen to what is actually going on in our heads; and when I stopped and heard myself, it all made sense.
I was doing my own head in.
It wasn’t anyone else telling me I wasn’t enough,
I was sabotaging myself.
I am so much more self aware now. I can catch my thoughts as they pop into my head and decide if I want to follow a thought and give it energy, or just let it float away.
And I am now looking at the world from a perspective of abundance, not lack.
Now I can hear my thoughts I have changed them:
“I am going to make the kids a packed lunch before school. I am so grateful that I can choose what I give them for lunch and make sure they are eating healthily.
I’m so grateful I am awake in time to make their lunch before they leave and it’s such a good feeling not being hungover. I am really enjoying Dry January.
I can’t wait to take the dog to the park and to actually be in the moment appreciating the abundance around me.
There are lots of things to do to keep me busy today, it’s great to have a job I like and to be able to be creative.
The house could be tidier, but it's only messy because it is lived in by my beautiful family.
I’m going to buy myself a little treat today, I am a good mum and I deserve to have nice things”
Changing my thoughts has changed my life. I can now see the abundance in my life clearly, it’s really not about having millions in the bank. True wealth and abundance is about appreciating what you have right here in the now, and being grateful for it.
The really amazing thing about getting in the moment and changing your mindset is you start to see opportunities in places where you could only see roadblocks before. Life seems to be throwing up so many more favourable circumstances, which I can only deduce were always there, but I just wasn’t in alignment with them before.
I’m still human and negative thoughts slip in now and then, but now I can recognise them and eliminate them before they take over. On the whole I now have a positive mindset and I intend to keep on working on improving my thoughts by keeping up with the meditation practice.
If you are also on a journey of self discovery and want to learn to live in the now here are some links to resources that I recommend:
Abraham Hicks publications - youtube
Eckhart Tolle teaches a you man - youtube
Mettaverse Music - If you like to meditate while listening to music this youtube channel has lots to choose from