It’s November again, that month when we come together with friends and family to celebrate the gratitude we have for the abundance in our lives.
In good times and in bad, I have much to be thankful for, much that is easy to overlook. And so each year around this time I consciously sit down and reflect on my blessings and find a way to express my gratitude for the people and the things that have particularly stood out in my life over the past twelve months.
What came to me this year was that my definition of abundance is “having more than enough,” and I have always reflected on the abundance that was coming to me from the outside.
I have a very comfortable home, friends and family that I love, and I can afford my basic needs and many of my wants. So my life is abundant in that respect, but I wasn’t feeling the gratitude I normally do, and that made me curious.
Following that thread of curiosity, I realized that this had been a year for me about coming to terms with my privilege, the kind of “having more than enough” that was not a good thing.
It was a distortion of abundance that was more like indulgence.
With this awareness, I began letting go of having more than enough because I could now see the ways in which some of the things I took for granted actually hurt myself, the environment or other people. From that perspective I could not feel grateful about having more than enough.
I took stock of my unconscious behavior and made some changes in my daily habits, and came to find simplicity was more fulfilling than convenience. Recognizing my interconnectedness with all of Life was more fulfilling than separation.
I also found cherished ideas and beliefs about myself, others, and Life in general — and found these too were more than I needed because they were not true, and they stood in the way of embodying my deepest essence. It was a bit scary to let them go. Actually, it was really scary to let them go.
So my year was all about having less, knowing less, and being less. And remembering that less is more.
Because in the letting go, I found an abundance of something that was greater than who I think I am, and it was longing to be expressed in the world. It wasn’t concerned with society’s ideas of what defines a person as enough, or better than, or less than. It wasn’t concerned with the ego’s ideas of what I should or shouldn’t have.
That something was Love.
And when I allowed myself to be a channel for that Love to come into the world, I found that abundance is something that comes from within, not something you acquire from without.
And then the gratitude overflowed. I found the thanks in giving from the deepest part of myself. Thanksgiving.
My wish for you this Thanksgiving is that you too recognize the opportunity to discern the ways in which you are indulging in what you don’t need or what doesn’t serve you…. whether that is a thing, an idea, or a worn out emotion. If it doesn’t serve you, you can be certain it doesn’t serve others.
And my prayer is that in letting go of what you don’t need, you discover the abundance that lives within you.
If you’d like to share where you feel abundant in your life, or where you have been indulgent in your life, it would be a gift to all of us. Leave your comments below.
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TREASURE IN THE DEPTHS: Identifying Hidden Obstacles to Fulfillment.