How to stop getting in your own way and start living with fullness.
As cities begin to come sprawling back to life, you may feel yourself peaking out of your cave for the first time in over a year. And after so much time at home, you may feel at a crossroads. What’s next? What do I want to do? Who do I want to be? Where do I want to go? This past season has given us an overwhelming period of time to sit in stillness, reflect, and just be with ourselves in a way most of us probably hadn’t before.
One thing’s for sure: there’s a new normal developing and the old status quo just isn’t going to cut it.
Grind culture tells you to be:
When we spend too much time following that energy, we lose sight of leaning into softness, lightness, slowness. These more gentle qualities are often cast off and mired as weak, demure, and lazy.
But it’s your capacity to tap into these qualities that allows for creativity, compassion, and patience. Qualities that allow for more self confidence and more self love.
When you combine grind culture with good ‘ole US capitalism, you’ve really got the perfect recipe for temporary happiness. Something that Ronny Chieng pokes fun of in this Netflix stand up segment:
Hungry? Fast food delivery. Dating? There’s an app for that too. You can even Instantcart your new iPad! I’m not knocking these services, I use them all the time. I’m just saying that you can’t find true abundance on a track that is hellbent on making you work to the bone and demands instant gratification.
The only reality that is certain is change. Life will uproot you and blow you in every direction, only to have you breakthrough and pot in new soil. And the only way to find and keep your footing is to ground yourself in something eternal: spiritual abundance. Abundance isn’t just about achievement, financial prosperity, or commodified self care. True abundance is about living life to the fullest and being able to channel your capacity for joy. Using the mind, body, and spirit to build wisdom, character, and resilience from your life’s experiences and the emotions that walk hand in hand with them. When you align with your highest self, you tap into a sense of abundance that really only you can define for yourself.
I was in therapy for 2.5 years after working through a ton of trauma, chronic burnout, life transitions, and relational grief. Sessions were extremely revealing and confronting, and at other times grueling. For the inner child in me that is terrified of abandonment, scared of confrontation, and guarded in vulnerability, therapy gave me permission to meet myself in a way I never had before. It wasn’t always pretty, but it was sure vital. That’s the thing about this journey of going inwards: the hidden work is the hard work is the heart work. I take those moments with me everywhere I go, it’s what shaped and defined who I am today and given me the resilience and confidence to dare to ask for more. Many hours, dollars, tears, laughs, and breakthroughs later, I realized I was holding on to therapy and the world of healing and mental health as a crutch.
I decided I was tired of healing and started wanting to just live in abundance. I wanted to stop talking and start doing. I made up my mind to circle back to therapy on an as-needed-basis rather than a weekly necessity. And it was by the grace of faith that I realized I could allow myself to let go and receive. That I could stop standing in my own way and start to crack open and just live. I couldn’t have learned to be more gentle, patient, compassionate, and kind with myself and others without having moved through the heaviness that is “shadow work,” but I also wouldn’t be moving and grooving with as much ease as I am now without my faith. Where fear says, “what if,” faith comes back tenfold by reminding us, “even if.”
You see, tending to your inner self and keying into your abundance is just as much about understanding your fear-based emotions as it is about aligning with your faith based higher motivations. On one side of the spectrum, you’ll be told to stop people pleasing, stop attention seeking, and to start setting more boundaries. On the other end of the spectrum, there’s honoring relationships, standing in strength and confidence, and authentic connection. Humility, kindness, and radical honesty lie somewhere in between.
The process of finding your personal definition of abundance is a practiced process of maintaining balance and having the discernment to know what is aligned with your life path. For me, abundance means I’m able to be fully present to participate and actively engage in each moment. It means I believe in my life’s purpose of helping the lost and found find purpose through a process of healing, transforming, and breathing abundance to life. Fervent prayer and devoted worship. It means prioritizing a few key relationships that I want to fully embrace with tender love and kindness. It means learning to cook new recipes and a whole lot of yoga and meditation. Sometimes it means working against a deadline, other times it means curling up in bed with ice cream and anime, and sometimes it means nothing particular special happens at all. It’s lots of laughs, butterflies, and sunflowers. It’s canary yellow, bright orange, and purple majesty.
You can’t rearrange everything in life to match your desires or make you feel more worthy, but when you’re living in abundance, you are always exactly where you need to be.
When you’re living in abundance, you know the importance of listening to rhyme and reason, and also those intuitive whispers and gut feelings. Some things in life don’t require wisdom, reason, or knowledge. Some things your body knows before the mind can keep pace, but our society pushes us to validate our decisions with logic. There’s a time and place for all of that, but it’s also this very framework that often holds so many of us back from realizing the wholesomeness that abundance carries. Learning to listen and make decisions guided by your inner voice from a place of faith, love, and abundance keeps life exciting.
“Just listen to your inner voice,” she says. I know, I know, I know. Fufu, and it all sounds sooo easy, but the greatest lessons of life and living in fullness with it are usually just that: simple. It doesn’t mean that it’s always going to feel like you’re flying around with sunshine and rainbows. At times, it’s taking a stand and being courageous from a place you didn’t know was in you. It may even feel like your stomach has taken the liberty of taking somersaults without your sign-off first. And it won’t always be a clean process—expect it to get messy. In fact, I’ve spent the majority of my 20s telling myself all the reasons why I can’t do that, go there, be there now…all to realize that this was just my doubts, fears, and insecurity keeping me small. And then one day, I just decided to stop. To accept my own limitations without judging myself about how things should look like or what needed to happen for things to be okay. And it was that day, that I just started to do all the things that I said that I couldn’t. Everything else just sort of fell into place because what you seek...seeks you.
I’m not here to tell you what your abundance should look like or feel like. Sheesh, I’m even in a place to tell you how you will find yours, but I can certainly offer a few guiding insights.
And most importantly….
Whatever your spiritual practice looks like, make sure you’re being intentional about making space to make waves.
Because when you make space, you become focused on a narrow path. They say that when you live deeply enough, there is only one direction to follow. Making space for more will mean tethering yourself to less. It’s more time, less things, less people, less obligations. It’s more “me time” and less of an urgency to do everything and be everything to everyone. Choices make more sense, relationships feel better, abundance flows naturally because there’s less fear and doubt, and more conviction and confidence. Your family, friends, and loved ones will all thank you—but most importantly, you’ll love yourself all the more for it.
In reading this, my hope for you is that you find your abundance. When you’re able to do that, that’s when you’ll be sprinting without even noticing that you are running. Because it is there that you will find your peace. You’ll feel it in your mind, in your body, and every ounce of your soul. It is there that moments seem slower, but time is moving faster — if only you will allow yourself to crack open and be showered with joy.
May is mental health month. From therapy to plants and pets, this issue shares the stories, practices, and explores the many forms for being well.
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