I was on a call with one of my students last week who was sharing her experience in Cape Town with the recent water crisis. Admittedly, I hadn't exposed myself to the subject beyond the recent travel scuttlebutt before this call, but I have been reading and watching nonstop since.
I found myself invested in Raymond Joseph's Cape Town Blog over the weekend, and then happily celebrating along with many as I watched the first rain drops fall in Cape Town on Feb 13th. after months and months of not a drop, captured on video and shared all over social media.
I was deep down the rabbit hole of politics, and crisis, and environmental and social issues along with the personal stories of living with an imminent "Zero Day," and an actual tool that the City of Cape Town has created to help people conserve water daily.
My student shared with me that she and her friends were bathing in the sea and that her community had marked showering as not being mindful of the dire conditions. She shared that no-one was flushing toilets and that tensions were high in queues all over town, with many stores completely out of water.
This every day reality of Zero Day, or the day Cape Town will run out of water, has me reflecting on abundance and how we all define it each day.
I've been keeping a gratitude journal for some time now, inspired by my yoga teacher Rusty Wells. Part of my morning meditation and nightly ritual includes a gratitude practice. In the morning, my gratitude is given to teachers and experiences that have brought me to this moment and place in my practice and life. In the evening, before I go to bed every night I list the things I'm grateful for that day.
I noticed a big shift in the way I define abundance at some point last year, after weeks and weeks of this daily practice. Before this shift, like many of you maybe, and many of the students that I have the honor of guiding in The Hell Yes Academy, I was still listening to limiting beliefs in my internal dialogue about money, and vibrating with scarcity, and battling old programming - which I've spent most of my life undoing.
I noticed as I literally called out the things I was grateful for, that abundance was being redefined. No longer did abundance (only) mean money, a paycheck, financial security, retirement, insurance...all of the practical things that I was beating myself up about. It became defined by a safe place to be, a cozy bed to sleep on, a new friend, a travel opportunity, a brand partnership, a new student, a compliment, an encounter with a stranger, fresh flowers, delicious fruit, church bells, a Paris flat, a successful online class, a gift, a yoga class... These things became the new economy for me, these things became the definition of abundance to me.
As I participate in daily conversations about abundance and perceived lack thereof, I am rocked by the profound lesson here from Cape Town's fate. Raymond called water gold in his blog post, liquid gold. When the thought of something we take for granted becomes scarce it puts everything into perspective.
To create a shift towards more gratitude and positive feelings about abundance, I invite you to take time each day incorporating a gratitude practice into your life. Here are some ideas for cultivating this habit and inspiring a shift:
- Push pause with deep breaths and focusing on things you are grateful for. This can be a traditional, formal meditation practice, or it can be as simple as shutting your eyes right where you are and thinking of a few things you are grateful for in that moment.
- Keep a Gratitude Journal or jot down things that you are grateful for each day. Do this in the morning as soon as you wake up to set the tone for the day, or right before you go to bed as a way to close the day.
- Traveling to get a fresh, global perspective is a great way to come back to gratitude and redefine abundance. We are fortunate in the United States to be surrounded by abundance, this isn't the case with many places that I visit in the world.
- Identify all of the abundance in your life, in a similar way that you might balance your checkbook. Make a list of abundance that is not money. Look at this list and be grateful for every bit of it.
- Surround yourself with people who value your definition of abundance. It's easy to get caught up in the start-up, tech culture here in San Francisco, but I surround myself with other healers, artists, creatives, writers, coaches, who are defining their abundance in similar ways to my definition.
The beautiful outcome of this shift includes flow towards more abundance. If we are limited in our definition, we limit the flow of additional abundance. If we include various forms of abundance in our definition and shift towards a deep and honest appreciation for this abundance then we align with it and more appears.