I have been working on a blog post for a couple weeks now, on and off, about the idea of Abundance and Scarcity and what do they really mean?
First, let’s look at the dictionary definition of abundance. Abundance is defined as a state of extremely plentiful or over sufficient quantity or supply. It means overflowing fullness, affluence and wealth. It originated some time between 1300 to 1350 and is Middle English with Middle French influence.
The dictionary definition of scarcity is understandably the opposite. Scarcity is defined as a insufficiency of shortness of supply, dearth, rarity and infrequency. It came into existence in our language around the same time as abundance.
I believe that abundance identifies more things in life than just materialism and financial wealth. I sat down and tried to list some of the non-material forms of abundance and here is what I came up with. I will give my answers and then expand on the answers given by a friend to the question – List five non-material forms of abundance.
Loyal friends or pets. These are important in your life to create a sense of family or community and certainly to reinforce the importance of love and devotion in humanity. I know and believe there are many levels to friendship from passing acquaintances and work friends to lovers to partners and soulmates. I wonder sometimes about the loyalty of pets when it applies to humans. Do they choose to be loyal or is it just instinctual because they know that humans will provide them with shelter and food on a regular basis? My friend answered that “when a dog comes to me after a little time of being pawed over by someone else, showing who her love and loyalty is truly committed to”. This shows a different perspective than mine which is why I’m including it. This person is a dog owner and sees day to day the affects that the friendship and bonding with their pet can have. Therefore, I must agree, while my views remain in question, that a pet can be loyal by their own choosing and not just breeding or instinct.
Love of people, animals, and self. These are important in your life because as human beings we need love. We need to feel a connection to others but more importantly we need to feel connected to ourselves. My friend had two similar replies to this that agree with both points “A friend that always ends the conversation with I love you and you know they mean it” and “When a friend brings me coffee and drops it off for me through the day but doesn’t even see me but they know it will make my day”. These demonstrate love, attention and appreciation, they are all important and contribute to an abundant life.
Too often however in our modern world we push towards materialism, towards the need to please others, towards the desire to have more and do more. We often forget that the foundation to any good life is the care and nurturing of ourselves. One must love oneself to love others. I believe that having good physical and mental health are important. We need to be alert for many activities but we also need times of peacefulness, solitude and to embrace our individual selves. He gave a good answer “the feeling of working out regularly and eating healthy, when you look in the mirror and see yourself in great shape” and I agree.
Time is important. I think, at least I feel personally, that today we are taught that every single event and activity must serve some purpose and must be given attention. And while I agree with this somewhat I feel that it has created gaps in our lives. The moments between the moments when we don’t have anything planned and we just exist. I’ll explore this personally because to be honest I don’t know how other people feel about this. I will use today as an example.
This morning I got up, later than I really should. I did some work on my virtual community. I applied for jobs online and updated my resume. I talked with a neighbour. I confirmed a dinner date for this evening. I worked on this blog. I got dressed and drove to the park. Excluding the current time, I’m spending on my blog I have used approximately three hours of the five hours I have been awake completing a variety of tasks. In between these tasks, I have done nothing.
One can have a scarcity of time but I don’t think it is in the way most people think. I know, we look at the future, the day, the week, the year, our lives and think “If I had only done this or that” they are not so much regrets as just acknowledgement of the loss of the time to do it. But what I am trying to say, in my rather roundabout way, is that we have an abundance of time we don’t use. I’m not talking that every waking minute must be spent doing something but in a way, that is what I am saying.
Confused yet? Take my day today as an example. I have three hours I did very little, at least that is how my brain sees it. But I had an abundance of time available to me that I wasted. I arrived here in the park and immediately pulled out my laptop. I haven’t bothered to look around much at the trees or the snow or the way the winds are whipping the branches around or the sunlight as it beams down into my window. I am focused on a single activity and not really in the now. I’m not sure if I’m explaining this right.
At home, well, the room I am renting temporarily, I always seemed to be doing something and not just present in that moment. Our accumulation of abundance lies not in the collection and accounting of activity but in the very moments themselves. I think that is a part of my next point which was “natural spaces outside occupied areas”. I was about to say that it is the dark matter that binds our worlds together but it isn’t dark. We go from point to point and place to place and activity to activity without much regard for the spaces in between, at least I don’t. It doesn’t sound very inspiring does it, but the point of this blog is self-exploration and sharing that with others. If you see where I have identified with some of the scarcity or loss in my life perhaps it will serve as a caution to you to look at your own life differently. Isn’t that why you are reading this blog?
A last item or form or being of abundance is that of opinions, theories and knowledge. Somewhere in our world I hope still exists the desire to seek knowledge and theory for the sake of exploration and not just for profit. There were times in our history when men and women would come up with brilliant thoughts just because they could not because they had to. I believe that, somewhere out there, this still exists and it is abundant and available to everyone. You don’t have to have a Mensa level I.Q. to wonder about the world we are in even if that world is no bigger than your own back yard.
I believe the explosive growth of the internet and the sharing of information is both positive and negative for our society. At one time, I would sit and wonder just how many planets were in the universe, how many stars were in the night sky, how many petals were on a daisy. Now I don’t have to wonder or even think all I need is internet access and I can just look it up. In that regard we are losing our ability to imagine and dream “and they gazed in wide wonder at the joy they had found”. The positive is the connection it can have to serve us if we use it as a tool. It connects simple and great minds together to create something beautiful and amazing, a collective intelligence that can be used to enhance our understanding of the world and the universe and our place as a part of it.
I think the main objective of this blog was to point out how you don’t need material wealth and financial possession to have abundance in your life. What you should do after reading this is sit down and list give things that are non-material forms of abundance in your own lives. You are welcome to leave them in the comments below if you want, just remember they will be visible to everyone everywhere – that whole internet global community thingy.
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