So this week, the @ecotrain question of the week is
"Abundance Woes: What have you had too much abundance of, and how did you deal with it?
What would have been the likely outcome if you had not dealt with it both short and long term?"
(if you have some thoughts that you'd like to write about, the deadline is Thursday 25th April and the post details are here:
I was going to initially answer this as that I have an abundance of good fortune, as there has been no time in my life where I have no roof over my head, or food on the table. I have been blessed well and truly by this fact.
But, I read something this morning that made me change my track, good ‘ol synchronicity…
My Little Guilty Abundance Secret
My guilty abundance is definitely wanting to do everything. I think that might be something that a lot of people are guilty of. Okay, so not EVERY SINGLE thing, but I don’t have enough hours in the day to do everything I wanted to.
- My daily to-do list is as long as Santa’s nice (or naughty) list.
- I come across exciting new ventures to try every day
- My brain explodes with great idea after great idea, but I don’t have the time to try them all
- I have many places on my bucket list that I’d like to visit
- I love to try different foods (especially chocolate) and I am spoilt for choice.
- I want to read every exciting blog post online
- I want to catch up with people I’ve not spoken too in ages.
- I want to start new hobbies that would take months to master
- I want to write books, novels, poetry and children’s stories
- I want to socialise more, but still have enough time for work, kids and some solitude to myself.
Obviously achieving all this is impossible and I really feel that I’m not alone in continually wanting more.
I discovered there is a term for this want in Buddhism. It sounds very judgemental - greed.
But in this context, it really is not judgmental as it describes the common human attribute of always wanting more.
Yes, it is human nature to overload ourselves with too much to do - this is really the reason why we are always busy and living in a state of constant overwhelm.
And the side effects are that we are easily distracted, overeat, get addicted to things, own so many material possessions, and a lot of us are in debt.
The form of greed is so common that we don’t even realise we are doing it and that there is an issue with it because we live in a consumerist society.
The Anecdote to Wanting Everthing
So, is there an anecdote to this ‘greed’? A way to deal with it?
There surely is…
Stay with me, I will tell you how you can achieve this too, Its a work in progress for me, but I like to share my journey and the hints and tips I pick up along the way.
It's the art of focussing on one crucial thing and letting the other 57 things on your to-do list go. You might be eager to blast through the to-do list, but instead of indulging the greed, we can simplify and practice focus.
It can be applied to all the scenarios we talked about above and more - wanting to do everything, read everything, indulge another idea, say yes to everything etc.
Step 1: Recognise the Greed
When you start to recognise the urge, the tendency by catching ourselves mid-thought, we can work with it.
Step 2: Acknowledge the Greed and how it affects you.
We need to realise and come to terms with the fact that indulging in the greed tendency only hurts us. It is acting on this greed that makes us stressed, always unsatisfied and overwhelmed. It also has a detrimental effect on our sleep, health, relationships, happiness and finances. Indulging might be a quick ‘hit’, but it will not lead to fulfilment.
Step 3: Choose to Refrain
The next step is to choose not to indulge but to refrain. When we decide to refrain we can pause. When we notice the urge to indulge, we can mindfully see how that urge manifests In our physical body with gentle curiosity. Try to do this dir a minute or two, even if the call is powerful, remember its a sensation.
Step 4: Focus with love.
Now we can choose to be generous to ourselves and be mindful and present about one activity. Instead of choosing everything, we choose one thing. In an ideal situation, it would be something that is meaningful and helps others, even if it's just a small thing. Let go of everything else and only for a little while (even just a few minutes) completely give this activity your full love and attention.
A couple of Additional Tips to Make This Work For You
Extra Tip 1: Get rid of distractions
If you need help to focus, then prepare by switching off the internet, your phone, going to a different area in your house
Extra Tip 2: Practice overcoming the resistance
When you practise these steps, you are highly likely to feel resistance to focusing on one thing and doing this one selected activity. You will want to do something else, anything else and feel this resistance to doing that one thing. This is completely normal.
You can practise overcoming this resistance in the same way as you did the urge - feeling the physical sensations, meditating on it. Again, it is just a sensation that you can learn to accept and let go.
What would have been the likely outcome if you had not dealt with it both short and long term?
If you don’t do this in the short term or long term, you will be treading water and not moving forward. You will still have the same overwhelm, stress and greed that you always have had.
You will still live in the consumerist world and not experience all the beauty that simplicity and the world has to offer.
A year will pass, and nothing will change and if you are happy with your life, so be it, if not there is some gold here in this post, living in the moment and resisting this ‘greed’ can change your life.
So overall this is an excellent way to go about your daily tasks and honestly decide what is most important in your life and the tasks that don’t do you (or anyone) any good.
You can also do this with material things and possessions, as well as tasks, just pick the things you need to be happy and simplify by letting go of the rest. You don’t need to experience everything, go everywhere and have everything.
When you let go and be present, you can go about life mindfully and let those stresses fly out the window and smile at the simplest, beautiful things, content with what life has to offer.