Abundance & Simplicity. How can they go together?

Photo by Lydia Buckmeier

Last week I heard a message that I just had to share with you.

The message was to move away from scarcity thinking– the idea that there isn’t enough to go around, and to shift into abundant thinking– that there is enough for everyone. 

Now, you might be asking yourself how this message fits in with the usual message of decluttering and simple living.  Aren’t we trying to eliminate, live with less?  Why would be want to think about abundance? 

But here is what this message reminded me of and why I needed to share it.

When my husband and I started our family, times were a little crazy.  We were both at transition points in our careers.  We were working part-time jobs, paying for our own health insurance & had just bought our first home.  It was a time of financial struggle. 

I was all consumed with what we had, what we needed, and how we could get it. 

Money.  It seemed there was never enough.  And the list of wants was long. 

Scarcity thinking was right there telling me there’s not enough to go around, so hold on tight, be planful & prepared, and be sure to gather & stock up when you can. 

The idea of donating our belongings, not selling them through a garage sale seemed crazy!  We needed extra money, right!?  Any extra cash could be used to chip away at the list of things we wanted to add or the bills we needed to pay.

The mindset kept me stuck. 

I felt a restriction.  A gripping.  An anxiety trap around the idea that I needed to hold onto our things unless we could “get something” for them. 

I was astonished when other people I knew would donate and let go of things without such worry.  Beautiful, expensive things were passed on.  Let go of when no longer needed or used.  I was envious as I sat & stewed about how & when I could pull together another garage sale- I dreaded all the work & effort it would take to make it happen and the piles that would grow as they waited to be sold.

One day, as I was complaining about my situation to my sister, she made a statement that would change my course.  She said that letting go of my things would release them for other people to use & the cycle of abundance would come back around to bless me when I needed it. 

It was abundance thinking.  The idea that there is enough for us all. 

Looking at life through the lens of abundance allows us to let go of the clinginess.  We can stop gripping our stuff so tightly and open our arms to the in-and-out flow.

I took it to heart.  I started to shift.  I started to realize that my giving would open more opportunities for receiving.  That I could trust that there is enough & when I am in need that a door would be open for me. 

I still have to catch myself.  When items are in really great condition & I think about the price tag that was attached to them, I can find myself hemming and hawing.  And sometimes I do consign or sell.  But I have made a shift.  I no longer cling.  I know that there is more than enough for us all and when we begin to open and share, we are rewarded with what we need. 

I also understand that abundance doesn’t mean extravagance.  It means enough.  It is defined as “an ample quantity.” 

When I look at my stuff now, I feel gratitude & awe at the things that I do have that make my life easier.  The desire for bigger, better & more, more, more, has lessened.  And to be content with what I have feels like abundance.  The kind of abundance that feels light & easy.

Your TUrn…

How does scarcity thinking show up in your life?  Is it around your stuff?

Next Steps…

If remembering the price tag that went with an item keeps you from letting go more easily, then ask yourself:

Is the time and energy it will take me to sell this item worth the money I will receive?

Would I feel better if I learned more about the organizations that the donation sites are supporting & how this donation will continue to help others?

There is no “right way” to do abundance thinking.  

Decide for yourself how you can decrease the scarcity thoughts that run through your day & bring more space for abundance.  

If you’d like to read more on this topic, check out my post BUT IT IS WORTH SO MUCH… I CAN’T JUST GIVE IT AWAY!