It comes as no surprise that This last many months have been a period of great lack for me; how could it not? It was predicated on lack. It was begun on the supposition of lack. It was a time of great anxiety and stress, worry and doubt. Large sums were involved and a great deal of risk, so whether things would pay out or not was a huge concern and pretty much all objectivity was lost. At times it felt, foolishly, like a life-or-death crisis. This is what a perception of lack brings.
Before it began, I had personally felt a great deal of wonderful abundance in our life. Sure, I was debating the value of our boat home in terms of the cost and complexity of the thing vs. the sheer joy of sailing in her, but it was a minor concern.
But Tracy and I were living from paycheque to paycheque, which greatly worried her, and she felt she needed more. I would have been happy to do with less to help save money, but that wasn’t the solution, in her mind. It was the lack of buffer between potential calamity and us that concerned her most, and she wanted me to provide that buffer.
Of course that never happened. Although I did make some decent money, it was spent as it emerged, as I suspected it would be. We will have a couple more influxes of money by the time it all wraps up, but that money will go into the hole where the earlier went. At the end the buffer won’t exist, and that doesn’t matter to me, as it’s an illusion anyway. If that had really been the problem, Tracy would have made sure that’s where the money went, but of course it wasn’t.
When you start from lack, you end with lack, and the problem rarely is the amount of cash coming in or going, but where one grounds themselves, where one finds security. You cannot buy security, as any wealthy person who can’t ever seem to make enough money will tell you.
I’ve lived in times of solid middle-class wealth and times of deep poverty, and in the latter situation I was the happiest. I’ve struggled for a long time with the meaning of that truth. As a factual statement it is completely honest, but I’m not sure what it means. Is it because I don’t believe that I am worthy of material abundance? Is it because money is itself intrinsically corrupting?
When I think about it, what I come up with is detachment: when I was poor I was able to do what I wanted to do, without worry about my stuff or making money to support it. My life was exceptionally simple then, and yet very rich and full. I lacked a lot of material stuff, but not enough to make much of a difference in my day-to-day living, and the tradeoff was total freedom. Occasionally I made a little cash windfall and was able to indulge in some nice excesses. Material possessions just weren’t very important to me, compared to the freedom to do what I needed to do.
I also learned the role that objects should play in life. I had no real notion of beauty before this time, and our home reflected that. This was the time that Tracy and I separated, but before we did so we lived in a undesirable area, and our stuff was fairly junky. We had once bought a bunch of decent furniture and such because that was what we thought we should do, but then not having any notion of abundance, we let it wear out without replacing it.
After we went our separate ways, a wonderful friend taught me about beauty as a reflection of inner abundance, and the importance of having things that revealed that. And so although I was poor, I was slowly able to accumulate some decent stuff around me that showed the new abundance I felt inside.
Most Westerners buy and own enormous amounts of material goods, but in many cases that’s different from what I’m talking about; too many of us try to create abundance through consumerism, which actually reflects a sense of internal lack. You can never purchase abundance, only quantity.
Our lives always reflect our beliefs, and it’s paradoxical that the person living in a squalid apartment in a crummy part of town can share the same beliefs about lack as the well-to-do couple living in a tony neighbourhood with the new cars, latest furniture and his and hers jet skis in the garage. The latter just have developed the means to hide their sense of emptiness, while the former believes he is doomed to literally live within it.
I can’t actually describe how abundance came my way, but although I was on welfare at the time, I believed my environment was richer and more lovely than my wife’s and she was a full time professional and had an income that was orders of magnitude greater than my own.
I had learned that it is possible and even necessary to own a few treasured objects that reflect an internal sense of abundance. They don’t have to be expensive nor rare. With a little creativity one can surround oneself with a beautiful personal environment with very little money; what it mostly takes is a belief that one is worth it.
I’ve known individuals on income assistance who made the choice to live in very nice areas like White Rock, while others chose to live in the dangerous environs of Whalley. The money was the same (and inadequate no matter where one lived), but the choices they made reflected what they wanted for themselves and felt they deserved.
It’s hard to describe how this can be, because it doesn’t seem totally rational nor easily explained, and I don’t believe in magic. But although social assistance is grotesquely inadequate, somehow some people get by with decent enough lives. When you decide on a life of abundance, when you make the break between abundance and cash and see it is a spiritual rather than material issue, somehow everything changes. And it doesn’t mean you’ll end up a panhandler on the street, either. If anything, the poorest of the poor on our streets have an internal vision that is utterly about lack, manifesting a vast, yawning emptiness.
Using ego, intellect, hard work (and questionable wiles, selfishness and manipulation), I have made good money over these last 18 months, and it has been by far the poorest I’ve been in a very long time, and only now am I slowly making my way back to abundance.