"Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having an abundant life."
- Wayne Dyer
How do I define prosperity? Answering this question affirmed my decision to sell my house and provided clarity about what comes next.
At the end of last year, I was invited to join others in a 40-day spiritual practice to invite prosperity and abundance into my life. When I first started this practice, I felt hesitant about stepping into a practice that was focused on 'money'. I judged that my resistance was based on the idea of 'noble poverty' or 'non-materialsim' - that somehow it's not spiritual to make or have money or enjoy material wealth. I pushed through my resistance. Each day as I meditated, I imagined prosperity flowing into my life. I breathed space into my body and opened to receiving.
Instead of seeing an increase in my material wealth, money began flowing in the opposite direction. My home went into escrow twice, and fell out twice. It's back in escrow, but in the meantime, I've paid for a planned floor repair and an expensive, unplanned plumbing problem. Then on my way home from a family Christmas visit, I had a car accident. Thankfully, there were no injuries besides a dent in my wallet to pay the deductible for damage to my car and a rental. All of this was occurring during the holidays - a time when I usually spend more (on gifts) and make less (due to unpaid time off). Then on New Years Day, I broke my little finger which means I'll probably meet my annual insurance deductible in the first couple months of 2017. Ouch! And seriously...ouch!
What was I doing wrong? Was I resisting prosperity? My expenses were high, and my energy was at an all-time low. Despite a growing sense of frustration, I continue practicing. Within the last week or two, it became clear to me that something incredible was happening. Many of my stories about abundance and scarcity were coming into focus in a new way. Here is what I noticed...
Abundance. Even with all of the unexpected financial challenges, I'm fine. I've had to do a bit of juggling with a few bills, but none of these crises 'bankrupted' me. I've eaten well, enjoyed time with friends and family, and slept in a comfortable bed every night. I'm not a millionaire, but I've always had enough money to meet my needs. Always. It's just something that has consistently flowed in this lifetime, even when it slowed to a trickle at times.
Scarcity. There never seems to be enough time. I try to manage time with calendars, to do lists, and alarms; but it will not be managed. It pushes me and pulls me. I run and grasp and re-prioritize, but it still feels like trying to breathe at high altitude. There just isn't enough. It's challenging to set aside fifteen to twenty minutes to sit and breathe and chant.
I'm cash rich and time poor. It isn't a direct cause and effect, but there's an interesting relationship between the two. For years, I've convinced myself that the harder I work, the more time I'll have for leisure. While it's true that my income pays for Tantra workshops, nice clothes, fine dining, and a few weeks vacation each year; it costs me time and energy. And it's not a fair trade. My time and my energy is worth more to me than the money I'm making. Something has to change, and I'm ready to let it change within me and around me. I'm ready to write a new definition of prosperity.
Dictionary.com defines prosperity as "a successful, flourishing, or thriving condition, especially in financial respects; good fortune." Based on this definition, I would consider myself prosperous. Yet despite my financial well-being, I'm not flourishing in the fullest way I can. There is something else within me that wants to blossom, but doesn't thrive on the rich soil and consistent temperature of my current environment. I'm grateful for the abundance of sunlight and rain that have sustained me, but there is a flower within my heart that longs to burst into seeds and float away on the wind. This means letting go of the strong roots that have kept me nourished and grounded - trading the stability of financial success for the chaos of new experiences. I'm redefining prosperity as "a condition of expanding aliveness, where the flow of time has a softer texture and the basis of my good fortune is a deepened connection to the world that I live in".
I wasn't sure what prompted me to put my house up for sale in November, but now I understand. It's the first step of many. Its's about inviting in a new kind of prosperity and abundance into my life. The next steps include paying off debts, selling my 'stuff' (okay, maybe not all of it...), and researching long term travel. I don't know yet what 'long-term' means - it could be a few months or it may extend for a few years. I envision life as a 'vagabond', and I feel the thrill of it vibrate through my entire body. I don't know where I will travel to first. I don't know when I will leave, but anticipate it will be 12-24 months from now. I don't know whether my Beloved will decide to join me for some or all of my journey, but he dreams of stepping into this adventure with me . There's a lot I don't know yet. And that's okay. I have everything I need to sort it out. I will not be reckless, but I will be bold about re-claiming my time and using the abundance in my life to support a life rich in connection to the earth and those living on it with me.
What is your definition of prosperity? How can you invite prosperity to show up in your life in the coming year?