Issue 2: July, 2011
Reaching for Abundance
The long, lovely days of summer are upon us, drawing us to play, explore, stretch into our skins and bask in the sense of abundance summer brings. Most of us don’t have the experience of abundance very often — we spend a lot of time feeling like we don’t have enough (time, money, love, space, appreciation…), and, like we ourselves, as we are, are not enough to handle everything on our plates. But each of us has moments when we get to experience a sense not just of completeness, not just of having enough to get by, but of having more than enough — abundance.
My personal symbol of abundance comes from when I lived in inner SE Portland, in a house on a corner lot, with a back yard that included a long row of ever-bearing raspberries. I loved the experience of going out every morning for weeks and picking as many raspberries as I wanted, knowing that there would be plenty again the next day; gifts from life’s striving for life. It was not just that there were more than enough raspberries. It was also that, for those moments when I was picking them, I was not worried about what else I should be doing, or whether I was good enough — whether I deserved this reward — I was just basking in the delight of raspberries.
I moved from that house seven years ago, to move in to the home on the side of Mt Scott that I now share with my then new husband and our three marvelous cats. I’ve discovered different experiences of abundance here — snuggles (both cat and human), music for hours at a time, breathtaking skyscapes — but I have been missing the raspberries. It just feels wrong to measure raspberries by the pint, or even the flat (which we buy once a year to stock the freezer). Oh it works; we are, in fact, still eating smoothies from that last bag of raspberries we froze last summer. But it doesn’t feel the same.
So this year, after three years of talking about it, laying cardboard and plywood over stubborn grass and weeds, and talking about it some more, I planted raspberry starts, gleaned from the yard of a friend who is selling her house. (The last newsletter told the story of preparing that strip of land.)
I planted six little plants. Two didn’t make it past the first heat wave we had in May, but the other four are going strong, despite slugs, deer harvesting their leaves, and the hearty attempts of the weeds to take back that strip of land. I am watering carefully, pulling out the competitors while they are still small, and letting the vision of sweet, red abundance that will come next summer fill me up.
What holds the experience of abundance for you? And what are the things that separate you from that experience?
Sometimes we lose track of what gives us that spacious, soul-filling gift. Sometimes we leave behind the things that provide it geographically. Sometimes we just move into a different time and somehow leave them behind. Sometimes we get overwhelmed by the weeds, or forget to water and it looks like the things that nurture us have died or disappeared. Sometimes we need to stop and reflect before we even remember what we need to replant.
Stop now, just for a moment, and ask yourself when you last experienced abundance. What created that experience? What did it feel like? What else that you have not been noticing or cultivating brings you a sense of abundance?
Sink into a memory or an imagining of abundance. Let yourself connect with what abundance brings you. Notice what it is like in your body. Decide from there what you might do to create more abundance in your life and heart.