Two years ago after breaking my wrist, I wrote about abundance and joy in a blog post featuring Ingrid Fetell Lee’s book, Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness. Last week, I visited my family in North Carolina which led to discussing inspiration. This week’s reflection follows from taking a course about cultivating an abundance mindset. What can you do to identify and appreciate your abundance?

One of the many things I appreciate this year is having an abundance of opportunities on Tuesday mornings to enjoy nature. Last week the new snowfall created childlike wonder and joy at the beauty surrounding me. Bullitt's Fireplace near Central Peak on Squak Mountain.
One of the many things I appreciate this year is having an abundance of opportunities on Tuesday mornings to enjoy nature. Last week, the new snowfall created childlike wonder and joy at the beauty surrounding me. Bullitt’s Fireplace near Central Peak on Squak Mountain.

In previous posts, I’ve explored the themes of joy, enough, inspiration, and change. Since I have not yet figured out how to create a custom-search feature on my blog, I took the liberty of sharing the first three links for each major topic for your ease in accessing them.

On Joy: How to Hold Your Own Joy Treasure Hunt; Slow Down to Find Joy In Simple Pleasures; and Forest Bathing: How To Get Started, among others.

On Enough: I Am Enough: Acrostic Poems about Change and Growth; Keep it Simple and Good Enough in your 2022 Goals; and How to Rewrite the Rules at Peek-a-Boo Lake, among others.

On Inspiration: Inspiration is Everywhere When You Look For It; Inspiration from Life and Literature on Managing Pain; and Finding Inspiration in Life and Graphic Novels, among others.

On Change: Discipline Equals Freedom: How to Dive Deep into Change; Ripple Effect: How Tiny Changes Make a Powerful Impact; and Five Stages of Change: Am I In The Preparation Phase along with a whopping 93 other posts that include “change.”

That’s an abundance of advice. And only one of the many areas where I currently notice and feel such wealth.

Abundance of space and solitude. I encountered very few people on Squak the day after a fresh snowfall. These two hikers came up from a different path and sat enjoying hot beverages at Bullitt Fireplace when Ajax and I continued to Central Peak.
Abundance of space and solitude. I encountered very few people on Squak the day after a fresh snowfall. These two hiked a different path and enjoyed hot beverages at Bullitt Fireplace as Ajax and I continued to Central Peak.

What comes to mind when you hear the word abundance? Shoes? Debt? Free time? Opportunities? Problems? Money? Do you feel a lack or a lot in your life?

You can have abundance anywhere, not just in material wealth. Think about personal growth, close relationships, and your creative and lifetime experiences. For this article to be effective, before continuing, please pause, pull out some paper and a pen, or open a blank page on your computer.

For one minute, first define what abundance means to you. What emotions come up? What desires?

Now take a few minutes to jot down 5-6 areas where you currently feel you have abundance.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland, Let It Snow, and Let It Go are three songs my mind goes to whenever there is fresh snow. I have an abundance of mental music to draw on; my mind is like a perpetual DJ playing whatever song I want.
Walking in a Winter Wonderland, Let It Snow, and Let It Go are three songs I replay whenever I encounter fresh snow. I have an abundance of mental music to draw on; my mind is like a perpetual DJ playing whatever song I want.

Finally, take another 2-3 minutes to write down where you would like more abundance. These will be helpful in a few journal prompts coming up in this post.

Abundance is defined as “a large quantity; ample, copious, plenty.” Some go so far as to add “more than you need.” Tama Kieves’ 30-day Moneyshift program introduces the concept in the context of personal well-being and fulfillment rather than monetary or material acquisitions.

Scarcity, on the other hand, is the opposite. In economic terms, it means demands outweigh the supply. Here I’m using “scarcity” in terms of our mindset. Do you find yourself using the phrases “never enough”, “must do,” or “should“? What would it feel like to replace those phrases with “more than enough,” “choose to do,” and “choice”? What would it take for you to shift to an abundance mindset?

One step you can take to appreciate your abundance is to pay attention to what brings you joy. Where do you have abundance already? Where would you like more?
One step you can take to appreciate your abundance is to pay attention to what brings you joy. Where do you have abundance already? Where would you like more?

If one of my clients is using a lot of “shoulds” and “have tos,” I introduce the following exercise to bring their attention to it.

Take out a piece of paper and write in huge block letters the word “SHOULD.” If you use HAVE TO, NEED TO, GOTTA, MUST – these are all of the “should” variety. Write them down.

Now, take paints, colored pencils, markers, or ink pens and scribble all over your chosen word. No more shoulding on yourself! Instead, start noticing whenever you use that word. Who says? What is the voice making you feel like you have to do something? What would happen if you never did?

Now, think about what it would feel like to stop, reflect for a moment, and replace SHOULD with CHOOSE. If you’re like me, the pressure dissipates. There’s more freedom and joy. The only things we all must do is die and pay taxes. Everything else is our choice.

Beauty, beauty everywhere!
Beauty, beauty everywhere!

Reflect on a recent situation where you felt a sense of scarcity or lack. What EXACTLY triggered these feelings? The more specific you can get, the more it can teach you.

Now, rewrite the scenario from an abundance mindset, focusing on the resources and options you have available. How does it feel to approach it from a different mindset? The more you do this, the more you teach your mind that there is another way to think.

Identify and write about moments in your day when you experienced joy, connection, or satisfaction. Perhaps you already did this as an earlier exercise. If not, try it now.

Can you identify abundance in those moments?

How can recognizing these moments more often shift your perspective toward a new mindset?

Think of an area in your life where you frequently feel scarcity. Now, list five abundant resources (such as emotional, knowledge, social, financial, etc.) that you already have in your life that you could apply to this area.

How does focusing on these resources change your perspective?

My hiking buddy Ajax investigates a snow-laden branch.
My hiking buddy Ajax investigates a snow-laden branch.

To help change anything, including a mindset, it is necessary to take action. Here are some possible steps. Pick one to play with for the next few weeks and see what happens. Then experiment with another. And if you come up with an action item not mentioned, please share it in the comments so we can all grow together.

  • Try new experiences to expand your sense of possibility and joy.
  • Look for occasions when you are viewing life through a scarcity lens and see if there is an opportunity for personal growth and greater satisfaction by viewing it through the lens of abundance.
  • Embrace all of the choices and opportunities around you.
  • Practice gratitude daily. How many can you write down? The more you see them, the more you attract.
  • Set intentions that align with your values and abundance.
  • Invest in relationships and community as sources of enrichment.

According to my spiritual coach, Tama Kieves, who has taught principles of A Course In Miracles for over 30 years, by focusing on all the areas where you already have abundance, you will attract more abundance. Focus on scarcity will create more lack. But abundance creates more abundance.

Abundant peace on a trail where ours were the first tracks of the day. A hiker and her dog. And solitude all around.
Abundant peace on a trail where ours were the first tracks of the day. A hiker and her dog. And solitude all around.

Published by Courtenay Schurman

Co-author of The Outdoor Athlete (2009) and Train to Climb Mt. Rainier or Any High Peak DVD (2002), author of Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills/conditioning chapter 4 (3 editions), and Peak Performance column for the Mountaineers Mag (2014-present). Member of PNWA, SCBWI, EPIC. Served on the steering committee for WOTS (2019-present). Completed UW Certificate program for Children's Literature and Memoir. Co-owner of Body Results, Inc. in Seattle. Climb leader with Seattle Mountaineers for over 15 years. Volunteer at Woodland Park Zoo since 2014.

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