$571,817.68. That's how much I owed.
The year was 2009 and three major financial storms hit me at the same time leaving me hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, which sent me on a quest to understand my relationship with money, with prosperity and with my relationship to abundance. When these storms merged they blew everything up, exposing the real problem: I had constantly overestimated how much I had in the bank while I had minimized what things actually cost me. This wasn't only a problem in my relationship with money. This is what I did everywhere in my life: I over-exaggerated the assets and underestimated the damages. This was my money issue, my relationship issue, and my fundamental self-love issue.
I came to find that my problem was that I misunderstood the concept of abundance. I had mistakenly believed that abundance was a thing. I had believed that abundance was about collecting stuff -- money, time, love, peace, friends, experiences. With my previous definition, I had been on an everlasting quest to hustle, to strive, and to struggle. I'd been on a hamster wheel, running faster and faster and faster, yet getting nowhere.
I was afraid of not having enough. I was afraid of running out of money. I was afraid of running out of love. I believed that everything I wanted had to be grasped in the palm of my hand. I was afraid to let go. I was afraid of being afraid.
I now know that abundance isn't about collecting stuff. It's not a measurement. It's not a number. We can't weigh it and we can't prove it. Abundance is a feeling. It's an emotional state created when we believe that there is enough.
And, we all have room to grow in our a relationship to this concept. Whether our thing is money, success, time, love or connection, we all have a little corner of our world where we struggle with the idea of "not enough." Where we think there's not enough time. Not enough peace. Not enough love. Not enough money.
How do you define abundance? What does "enough" mean to you? Where does your fear, your belief in scarcity, keep you small? Prevent you from moving forward?
I've found that abundance is really about believing that I am going to be okay. Abundance is about trusting that there is enough and there will continue to be enough.
After learning some very painful financial lessons, I spent six years living simply, keeping my expenses to a minimum. That all changed seven months ago when I began a grand experiment of surrender. Through a pretty miraculous series of events, I found myself in possession of a lease agreement for a building that was to become Yoga Church.
I did not take this decision lightly. In fact, it's crazy to think of how closely I came to walking away from the deal. I didn't want the complications, the overhead, the extra work. I didn't want to change my comfortable life. I didn't want to change, period.
Before I signed, I had a little sit-down with God that went something like this: "I will do this, but we need to have an agreement. 1. You've gotta make sure that I don't go broke. 2. I don't want to be scared. I don't need to make millions, I just want to know that I will be okay, that my family will be okay, and that I will be able to continue to do this work. Amen."
And then, I did sign that lease. And I did start that thing that became Yoga Church.
I wish I could tell you that I haven't been scared, but that's wouldn't be exactly true. I'm human and I come up against my fear on a daily basis. My mind still wants to spin out on stories of possible failures, my hyper-vigilance wants to kick in to try to control the universe. This practice of surrender has required an enormous amount of trust and faith.
I continue to remind myself, "What would happen if you believed that there would always be enough? What would happen if you just moved forward with faith that you'll be taken care of?" And then I take the next step and the next.
And so far there has been enough. More than enough. There's been an abundance of people, love, community, money, peace and miracles. And for the past seven months, when I sit down to go over the books, I am reminded of the parable of the Loaves and Fishes, where 5,000 people were not only fed with only five loaves and two fish, but came out with baskets of food left over. It's a story that shows that what we think "isn't enough" can miraculously become a feast for thousands. This is what my life has to come to feel like. Just when I think I'm not going to have enough time, money, ideas, or energy -- I happen upon a well of unexpected resources. Every time I reach down in that basket, expecting to find only crumbs, I continue to find bread and fish. It's an entirely different feeling than the hustle and struggle. It's gentler, softer.
I've come to find that the miracle of abundance is not in the finite quantity that we count in front of us, but more in the infinite opportunity that awaits.
This is the time
People are hungry
and one good word is bread
for a thousand.
-- David Whyte