A few weeks ago I spent the weekend visiting my aunt. While there, I noticed something besides the astounding lack of chaos, mess, and noise in a house without small children. And it’s not that most people eat meals sitting down. It’s that all throughout her house she had boxes of tissues, bottles of lotion, extra pens, extra pillows and blankets in the guest room, several kinds of tea and jam in the pantry.
This may sound silly, but there was a feeling of abundance in her home. Now here’s where I get all new-agey, touchy-feely, self-helpy on you. People who watch lots of Oprah’s Lifeclass will get this. There’s a theory that in order to cultivate abundance in your life, you need to create the FEELING of abundance in advance, thus attracting it to you.
If the concept of abundance sounds too woo-woo for you, consider this: you know how when you have your first baby you think you couldn’t possibly love another child that much? So then when you’re expecting your second baby, your biggest fear is that you won’t love it as much as the first? And then, lo and behold, the second baby is born and you discover that not only do you have ENOUGH love to go around, but you actually have MORE because you’re sharing it with more people.
My 4yo son is a great example of this. He will almost always share whatever he has with you. A bite of ice cream, a piece of his cookie, the last slice of apple. He is happy to do this. His older brother, I’ve noticed, tends to be more stingy.
This could simply be because my second-born has always had to share everything since birth, whereas his brother had a few golden years of having everything to himself before Little Brother arrived on the scene. But I think it’s because my younger son has noticed that his enjoyment increases when he shares what he has with someone else. (And I shouldn’t knock my eldest, since he would rather bring his brother along to share in the fun than have one-on-one time with his dad or me.)
I have noticed the same thing. If something I make for dinner turns out great, I enjoy it more if I share it with my husband (when he’s home) or a neighbor (if he’s not). And it’s not just because I’m desperate to hear SOMEONE say something besides, “Ew, gross!” when I put a plate in front of them. (OK, it is.)
If I sell an essay or get an unexpected royalty check from Amazon for my e-book, I will sometimes treat a friend to lunch or drinks or let the kids pick out something small at Target. I like that feeling of being generous, even more so when it’s unexpected. And time after time I’ve noticed that when I give freely, it comes back to me tenfold. (I feel like Oprah would be nodding right now.)
And cultivating abundance doesn’t just apply to food or money, either. You can be generous with your time, your praise, your attention. You can even be generous with YOURSELF. For instance, instead of telling yourself you’re fine with the one box of generic tissues in the kitchen, that you don’t really NEED that fancy tea or hand cream, you could splurge and buy 3 WHOLE BOXES of Puffs Plus and scatter them throughout the house like you’re a Trump or something!!
Crazy talk, I know. But you just might find that all of a sudden, in small, incremental ways, you start to feel more abundance in your life. And what do you do when you have plenty of something? Ask my 4yo: you share it with someone else.