With all the self-help and reflection that I have done over the years, it is surprising that I have never listened to or read Deepak Chopra. Until this month. My friend Vanessa got me onto his program: 21 Days Creating Abundance. We are now nearing the end and I do not want it to be over.
Vanessa first described it as setting intentions and then putting them out to the universe. I thought, what a load of crap, the number of intentions that I have set, that have not panned out. But this meditation challenge has turned out to be a wonderful reminder of concepts such as abundance and gratitude.
I grew up with abundance but with a mindset of scarcity. I lived in a nice house on an ample property, in a middle-class neighborhood. Yet, there were messages that if things were going well, the other shoe would drop. Be successful, but don’t get too big for your britches and don’t ask for more than your fair share from life. As Chopra puts it, I was also in need of “shedding the belief that abundance is the result of struggle.”
I suffered from anxiety and worry as a child, a teenager and then an adult. Travel became my escape at all stages of my life, until it was brought to a grinding halt by the pandemic. I sat alone in my home with all the discomfort and pain of knowing that the world was an unjust place. I knew that mentally I could not handle a winter lockdown. I heard of the remote working visas being offered by some islands to bolster the tourism economies that had been decimated by COVID. I sold my house and most of my belongings and moved to Barbados.
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away – Maya Angelou
Here on this Caribbean Island, away from everything that I was, I questioned everything that I knew.
I acknowledge that I can only address the scarcity/abundance dichotomy from a privileged viewpoint. Yet, my favorite advice from Chopra’s challenge seems to be universal:
When you discover your true nature and know who you really are, you experience pure being and stand fearless in the face of any challenge. In this state you are anchored in the unlimited and eternal power of the self, which draws people, situations, and circumstances to you, which helps support your deepest desires – Deepak Chopra
Throughout the first half of my life, I spent a lot of effort being something that I thought I should be. I became a Chartered Accountant in my father’s legacy and entered the corporate world to be financially successful. I wasted much more energy feeling shame and isolation for the things that I was not, such as a mother and a wife.
The universe delivers what you tell it you want. All those years of putting out mixed messages because I couldn’t stand firm in who I was meant to be and what my heart truly desired. The friction all those years of trying to be myself but beating myself up for being different.
It began when I turned forty – I started to not care what other people thought. By the time that I moved to Barbados as the age of 48, I was too exhausted to do anything but surrender to what would happen next. Guess what?! I found a community of people that didn’t exactly fit the mold either. They think that I am courageous and strong for being an outlier. For being my own person, which I finally am.
We ask ourselves. Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world – Marianne Williamson
This is and is not about Barbados. I needed to come here to reflect on who I wanted to be. My soul needed to learn to surf big waves in the ocean to feel free. My heart needed to connect with others that are living life differently. My path to gratitude and abundance was learning to be me.
What is yours?
Well Sheri you know my yoga mantra for a balanced and happy life: uhmmmmmmmmmm!!!! Hope you are well in your new home….cheers Lee
Lee, I really, really want you to create a graphic mime for that! It makes me laugh every time I think of it.
I am so happy to read your last blog and hear about your progress. My path, in a word is acceptance. It is a word ofter misinterpreted as resigned, or unwilling to change or a willingness to tolerate negative situations.
For me, it is the opposite of all these things. Rather it is a call to action to better understand and learn about where I am and what the new situation is. It creates an opportunity to me to question my preconceived notions and change to best serve the situation I find myself in. And, it is a way to find answers to a perceived negative situation. It is a learning situation that leads me to others who are experts in the field. Life is a series of changes and without the ability to accept and learn it has created situations of anger, sorrow and distress. All of these emotions I have experienced in spades. It doesn’t matter whether I am in a hut in the jungle or at home being a dementia partner to my husband, acceptance brings me peace.
Coleen, what a lovely post. Chopra also says that you must first practice acceptance. When you struggle against this moment, you are struggling against the universe. Everything is as it should be. I may not always like it but I am trying to understand that there is something bigger than me at play. Some of the situations that I have hated (i.e. the pandemic) have ended up being a gift. I am not implying that the pandemic was a positive experience for everyone. But what did it teach us?
I am inspired by your attitude in the face of adversity. It is one thing to talk of abundance when everything is going great. It is quite another to talk about acceptance in challenging times. You are an inspiration!