In late October, I traveled to California for a meeting. As we broke through the clouds on descent into San Diego, majestic, chiseled foothills…resplendent even in their dry season brown tones…came into view. And then came the ocean…expansive, blue, cool, rippled with white caps as far as the eye could see. From high above, I couldn’t help but admire our planet’s abundance.
As we descended further, individual estates carved into the mountainsides became apparent…each featuring circle drives and swimming pools. I sighed. The beauty of the coastline was spoiled for me by this appearance of opulence, an indication of how humans have taken advantage of nature’s abundance. But then, who was I to judge…sitting on a jet plane, heading to what could be seen as a decadent location for a committee meeting?
Abundance is a complicated thing. I can easily appreciate an abundance of beauty, an abundance of friends, an abundance of compassion and goodwill. It is more difficult to appreciate an abundance of acquired goods or accumulated wealth, especially when it is extreme or comes at the expense of others. Is abundance a good thing or a bad thing?
I’m sure you’re aware of current messaging about attracting abundance. It tells us that if we align ourselves correctly with good thoughts or with God or with the universe’s plan, then abundance will flow to us. If we pray enough, or are good enough, or do it all just right, then all good things will come our way. We will be blessed.
But are we not already blessed? Blessed with life, blessed with breath, blessed with each new day? What is it that continually goads us to believe that we need more than this?
This month we will be exploring the many tensions held within the notion of abundance. Is abundance a quantity or an attitude? Is it found within or without? Is there a competition? What responsibility do we have to sustain the earth’s abundance? Is it okay to enjoy abundance? Who deserves to experience abundance; is it something we must earn? What is the cost of abundance?
Maybe you can find some answers in this quote from John O’Donohue: “When you begin to open up to the abundance around you, you start to realize that you are not the helpless owner of a deadened life but rather a temporary guest gifted with blessings and possibilities you could neither invent or earn.”
I do know this. Life and love are abundance blessings, available freely to us all.
With gratitude for all of these blessings,