Abundance. Contentment. Prosperity. Gratitude.
"Riches are not from abundance of worldly goods, but from a contented mind."
It is Friday and time to discuss Chapter 10 of the book, The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women by Gail McMeekin. This is a weekly discussion among bloggers participating in Jamie Ridler's book club, The Next Chapter.
I felt very in touch with Chapter 10. McMeekin's emphasis is on personal abundance and prosperity, as well as tapping into our gratitude. When you hear the term personal abundance, how do you interpret it? Do you consider abundance to be directed to money? If one leads an abundance life, do you think of it as being, "They have many things and lots of money?"
Abundance to me is more emotional and spiritual. I believe I live an abundant life. Each day I feel as though I am the richest person in the world because I have everything in my life that I need. I view my life each day as discovering a buried treasure chest. Each day, I dive into the blue sea and uncover more beauty and more rare gifts. These gifts are not gold coins or priceless gems you typically associate with an actual treasure chest, but my most valuable gems in life are the joys I experience each day. I have two amazing little boys who bring me laughter, sloppy kisses, and unlimited hugs. I have an equal partner in my life, my husband. He and I have been together since I was 21, and he has always supported my dreams, encouraged me, and loved me for who I am. I could not ask for more.
I am content.
I haven't always felt this way. When I was younger, back in college, I started to truly mourn my parents' bitter divorce. I was so unhappy. I looked to erase that pain. I thought if I were thinner, had more things, changed my haircolor, etc. that I would be happy. By the time I was done senior year, I was barely a size 4 (that'll happen if you eat about 500 calories a day), had tons and tons of clothes, and appeared to have everything a girl could want. But I didn't. I was still unhappy. All I wanted was to feel content--truly content in my heart.
I can tell you, though, that after you shed that emotional baggage and come to terms with it, that your life will prosper. If you're sad, angry, hold onto grudges, bitter, angry--whatever the emotion holding you back may be--you need to cleanse yourself of that because you will never feel truly content on the inside. You have to look within yourself realize that only YOU have the power to find contentment.
Prosperity doesn't mean having $1 million in your bank account. Prosperity to me means that I have made investments that are paying off with a high return. I am not speaking in dollars and cents. I am saying that, for me, a prosperous life occurs when you truly give of yourself in relationships, parenting, marriage, charity, business, etc. You cannot just expect things to go well. You cannot expect that friendships, partnerships, business relationships, etc. will continue to flourish if you do not make an effort or truly give a bit of yourself and put in some equity, whether it is emotional equity, an investment of time and energy, etc.
When you give to others, you receive so much more in return. It's not something tangible, but it's a sense of personal reward that I'm thinking of.
I don't believe it is possible to lead a life of abundance without gratitude. For years, I have kept a journal. Each day I write down the things for which I am grateful. Maybe it's something simple--such as beaing grateful for sunshine and blooming flowers. Often, it is much more important--being grateful for my family, is something I write about daily. I am grateful, truly grateful for the life I have: my children, my husband, my family, my memories of people I have loved and are no longer with us...
I think, in general, that if people spent more time thinking about the blessings in their life, that society would be better off. We live in a "I want" vs. "I need" society, at times. We all do it at times ("I want that new handbag"), as we're human. I am saying that if we all sat down each night and reflected upon our lives and what really is important--to love ourselves and others, to be loved, to experience joy and contentment--and truly felt gratitude for these gifts, that people would discover a bit more about what is really important in this life.