Saturday, February 15, 2014

Thinking About Abundance


I don't have digital
I don't have diddle squat
It's not having what you want
It's wanting what you've got

Sheryl Crow


I have been thinking about abundance a LOT since the beginning of the new year.

My friend Janet's post on quieting the wants, which was all about how Janet reminds herself that she mostly already has what she needs, reminded me that I should give a little update.

Like Janet, I have been setting some financial goals, the greatest of which was being content with living on less (until I become a bestselling author!) given that my salary is about to be cut in half beginning in May. 

The happiness I have experienced in the past year as I have pursued my life-long dream of writing convinced me that this was the right path to pursue.  But to pursue it, at least for awhile, is going to require getting by with less.

Source

Lockstep with this need to adjust to a lower income was my own feeling that I was frankly tired of being an enthusiastic  consumer.  Happy events, stressful events, any event were often an excuse to "reward" myself with a "treat". 

What I've really wanted was a peaceful relationship with things, shopping and my money.

I am happy to say that things continue to go very well on this front.  We are more than living within our means. 

But in order to enjoy living with less, I had to look at this trimming of spending here and there as an investment in me, in my financial freedom, and my pursuit of dreams.

I have been practising a lot of gratitude about my life lately and have recently focused that gratitude on my money. 

Like Janet, rather than think I am on a "budget", I have focused instead on what a wonderful life I have, how there is always enough money to pay the bills, how everything is unfolding as it should.




I can say now that when I see lovely clothes on everyone's else's blogs I feel very happy for the person involved, but I no longer feel the need to think that I "need" that too.  And since I have a smaller budget for clothing, I have become incredibly selective about what I buy.  New purchases now have a feeling of special-ness that did not occur before.  How many of us have bought something in the past, hung it up and then thought "what next?"  That's not what I want for myself.  I want to love and celebrate EVERYTHING I bring into my life, from clothing to food to household items, whatever. 

The results has been amazing.  Being so selective so I can easily live within my budget has actually made me feel happier about what I have and far more thankful for everything. 

I have been feeling a lot of gratitude about my upcoming trip to Florida, since so much of it was financed by my dad.  We have decided that we are taking him with us, via his picture on a popsicle stick, so we can get him into a few shots as well.

Well that feeling of abundance about the trip and my feeling of joy has translated into more gifts.  The other day I was working on our spending budget while away for food and sundries.  I was feeling very pleased about it, since it was realistic; not over the top, nor miserly.  I actually said a little prayer of thanks, since it was snowing outside and I was looking forward to the trip south.  We haven't been south for 7 years.

I needed to call Disney to clarify one thing. 

Me being me, I started chatting with the fellow on the phone.  Remember: every part of our trip (save food) was already booked and paid for, so he was selling me nothing.  I just needed him to make a small change for me on the reservation, which he was happy to do.  We chatted away, about my excitement about the trip, about my dad's final gift, about all kinds of things.  At the end of our conversation he said "You know, I have a special pin I can apply to people's stays once or twice a day.  How would you like it if all of your meals for all 5 of you were included in your stay?

Like it?  I could have cried.  For 5 people, this was probably the equivalent of saving $800-$1000. 

A coincidence that my gratitude, my feeling of abundance created more abundance?  Perhaps. 

I told the fellow that I was chatting with that he and my father had been our angels for this trip and what a gift he had given us.  He asked me to put my pictures of "Bud at Disney" on the Disney World You Tube channel afterwards so he could see them, which I promised I would.


Since I have begun to look at my life as being full of abundance, seeing the glass half full, and given thanks for all that I have, I have not only been happier, but I seem to attract what I need when I need it.  And I am trying to do the same for others who reach out to me.

I read recently that if the only prayer you ever say in your life is "thank you", that is enough.  Since saying thank you doesn't have any religious connotations, I feel pretty safe in saying that here!

The thing of it is, there is always someone who has more.  And less.  I want to be the someone who is happy with what they have...

Don't have no master suite
But I'm still the king of me
You have a fancy ride, but baby
I'm the one who has the key
Sheryl Crow

So thank you Janet for reminding me to share this story and to continue on this path of being grateful and remembering that I am much more than my stuff, nice as it may be.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and I will be sending happy thoughts your way, as well as thoughts of caring for those of you who I know are going through stuff in your life.

Stay safe out there!

49 comments:

  1. What a wonderful story, it brought tears to my eyes. I love it when people unexpectedly get just what they need! Being grateful for what we have is the way to happiness. Thank you for sharing this reminder!

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  2. I think your kindness and sincerity with the young man may have, unfortunately, been one of a few bright spots in his day. Kindness begets kindness. Something tells me he knew you deserved it above some others. I just need some sun and warmer weather and then I will be 100% grateful. I am very needy.

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    1. we are starting to get next snowstorm. Sending you virtual hug!

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  3. That's wonderful news, couldn't have happened to a more deserving person. I think your guardian angel Papa is looking after you. I also think it is this special gift you have with connecting with people everywhere --- in person, by phone, via the internet through your writing. It's really looking to be an extraordinary trip, so excited for you. Amen to gratitude which also breeds contentment and kindness. This half-full perspective is helping me cope with this awful weather.

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    1. Marie - I am clinging to the half-full - the weather has been frightful! Who knew that my inherent interest in EVERYBODY I meet would pay off someday! ;-)

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  4. We have decided that we are taking him with us, via his picture on a popsicle stick - this made me laugh out loud, beware, I want to hug you for that Wendy.

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    1. Marking date on calendar! We came out with Bud on a Stick at dinner a couple of days ago. Am hoping to get him with Mickey and maybe Snow White! Oh and Peter Pan! He loved that book and that's why I'm Wendy!

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  5. I love that you're taking your dad to the happiest place on earth. You will have a wonderful time with his spirit by your side. Such a lovely gesture by the gentleman on the phone. Disney does many things well and giving this employee the opportunity to treat a few guests a year gives them high marks in my book.

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    1. Julie - I thought the same thing about Disney. Some folks really diss them, but we've never had anything but a rip-roaring good time in the House of Mouse!

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  6. Wendy ,
    Just wanted to Thankyou for the quick reply regarding the pants. I am 5.6 so lengthshouldnt be an issue however I do have a belly. Working on that! It's slowly coming off but being snowbound is making it tough, We are in the middle of another storm right now. I love your blog and have been more conscience of spending .Not quite as good as Janet but thinking more about what I purchase!Trying to use up what we have in fridge and pantry. Being more creative with recipes and making lots of soups for these snowy days. Have to keep the shovelers happy! Love how good things have happened to you and Dad must be looking down smiling!!! Have a wonderful trip!

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    1. Anon - they are quite nice - good luck! And yay for bring more mindful!

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  7. Love this post! Can't wait for the Disney youtube.Haven't been to Disney World since 1975 when they were building Space Mountain.

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    1. GSL! It's time to go back my friend! I can see you rocking the ears! Some of the best meals I've had have been at some of the disney restaurants - some are amazingly great!

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  8. I love that Disney story Wendy! How wonderful to have that gift of the meals. I do think that you reap what you sow - if you go forth into the world with an attitude of gratitude and focus on the positives, you'll get that back in spades, and this story demonstrates that so well. xx

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  9. Love this! Enjoy your trip to Disney!

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  10. Thanks for the post, Wendy. That kind of a mindset is very hard for me to practice, as I tend to anxiously focus on the negative. I never thought I would take advice from Jim-Bob Duggar (from that "Nineteen Kids and Counting" or whatever that show is called), but he was in the news yesterday for some Valentine's Day relationship tips. He said that if you had a job that required you to be very critical and detail-oriented, don't bring your work mindset home with you! This tip really resonated with me and is going to help me focus on a half-full approach. (Half-full may be the best I can do . . . don't know if I can get to actual abundance, ha!)

    Enjoy your trip to sunny Florida! How kind of the Disney employee to offer you a special deal.

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    1. Hexicon, this mindset is taking me awhile to truly embrace myself and I would never want anyone to think I am sunny, sunny, I am sunny all the time. I have lots of black-hearted moments and moments of jealousy or frustration of hopelessness. I think that is the human condition isn't it? But I have seen a marked improvement by focusing on what I have and my luck and the payback of that focus has been quite astonishing to me!

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  11. What a lovely story. You no doubt brought a lot of pleasure to the Disney employee on the other end of that phone call!

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    1. Thanks Barb! OR I was chatting their ear of so much he said. "Oh my, maybe if I give her something, she'll go away!"

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  12. Love this. We're planning some family travel this summer and if our plans work out half se well as yours, I'll be v. happy.

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    1. Oh yay - a Fred trip! I love a Fred trip! The next thing I am planning to create is 3 months somewhere warm, writing! Well after I go visit my brother out west this fall. We are madly collecting air miles points for that one!

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  13. What a wonderful Disney story. Enjoy!

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  15. What a great story, and what a wonderful way to honour the memory of your father!! I do believe your positive attitude toward life draws more gifts of happiness to you. My own shopping budget has been cut to nearly zero - most of the money I make goes to child care - so if I do buy anything, I have to be sure it will last for years to come. When I had a 6-figure salary, I spent a ridiculous amount of money and it didn't make me any happier, it just burdened me with stuff. I am daily thankful for my family and my friends. Thanks for such an uplifting and inspiring post!!

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    1. Louise - I recently read a book called "Money: A Love Story" to see if I could glean any new hints to help me, as I am so committed to this new life of mine. One of the greatest things in the book was an exercise designed to help you articulate the emotions you want to attract in your life and the values that you hold. For me, clothing falls squarely in my value of beauty. But that's it. SO I have to be really conscious that spending money on clothing isn't getting in the way of things I value much more and the emotions that I was to live in. I was like you (and wrote that in Dani's interesting post this morning) - I have given ridiculously expensive clothing in last couple of years because my life and body have changed. SO while I definitely plan to buy good quality, more timeless, clothing there will be a lot less because I have realized that for me at least, the joy of clothing and the things I that I buy does not have the same value as other things I invest my money in, if that makes sense.

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  16. thank you dear wendy for your kind, sweet words and mention.
    what a wonderful wonderful story. enjoy every single moment of your trip!

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    1. Thanks Janet! You have been inspiring me a lot this winter and I am passing it on! That's the beauty of the blog world, I reckon!

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  17. Love this post and your infectious good cheer is so compelling, I was not surprised a bit to know that you had made a new friend in that wonderful Disney employee, rightly so! Honestly you leave glitter in your wake, I wonder what else will happen on your trip?
    Being grateful is so key, for many years I was so stressed about different things, my sense of peace was lost and I looked forward to cheering myself up with this and that. These days I value my privacy and my family and a sense of calm. I am grateful to live in my house and I am grateful that I have time to organize it, keep it warm with a meal in the oven. Having less things actually does add to this sense of calm, I was always good at not having a lot of junk in my house with the exception of my wardrobe, now that I have tackled that I feel much better.
    Having the lifestyle we want to live is so valuable isn't it, it's definitely worth prioritizing our budget and expenses to live a life that is a sort of personal freedom: doing what we want to do. I had a big discussion this week about that very thing with our financial advisor, we are 9 years away from retirement and we re-visit it all twice a year, it is very calming as well: have a plan, stick to it, be prepared. And be grateful that we are able to have a plan!

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    1. Thanks Dani! I have lots of "junk" in my house, but it is all precious and it is almost all family heirlooms. I guess that's what you get when one grandmother has a degree in fine arts and the other is an antique dealer. I suspect that things, like clothes or whatever, is in the eye of the beholder, isn't it?

      As for retirement - I think in your early 50s it will be less a retirement than a transition as Mr. BP leaves his daily grind. I can't imagine him shutting all of that off given how good he is at it! I am hoping now to work right into my 80s!

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    2. Wendy family heirlooms are not junk, I'm talking about stuff bought new or even from thrift stores, ahhh inherited things have their own wonderful patina. I remember my sister once said "we'll inherit gravel" to which I responded: I wish, lots of money in that!
      Yes our plan results in retirement 9 years from now but MrBP says no way is he hanging up his skates. But maybe we can spend more time away and he can focus on something different like writing that book...

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    3. Oh it's not all heirlooms! I am like the magpie who drags it ALL. Home!

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    4. Family heirlooms, can't keep them all (I use the word "heirlooms" loosely!). I am a bit buried in stuff I can't part with because it was my mom's. I parted with quite a lot or else I'd be on Hoarders, but still more should go. It is an exercise to get rid of anything sentimental, but it can't all be kept.

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  18. How nice of Disney to give you the meal perk. I can't wait to see pics of your father photobombing on a popsicle stick! It will be a very special trip indeed. The Southern weather seems to be turning just for you too.

    I've always been a planner and seldom deviate from the sourcing plan but I have done so the past few weeks while away from home and that might be part of it, or just the restlessness at the end of my pregnancy. I was so glad to have my new pair of boots during this last storm so that was a good purchase. I hardly bought anything wardrobe-wise while I was expecting and I didn't have any desire to either. I was totally content.

    Now I'm at a phase in my life where I/we need things for the babies and our changing lifestyle. The bloggers I read posting about doing with less are in different place. There was one year where I bought a lot of J.Crew and other things inspired by bloggers but I purged most of it and went back to my own style and plan and I feel much better about things overall. It's good to have those self-checks every now and then. Sage advice from wise women is available in the blogosphere at no cost, if you care to use it.

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    1. xoxo - you are right on. You are at a very different lifestyle post and you need to embrace that. I think that some of us in our mid to late 40s into our 50s are discovering this issue as our style change regardless. And I am crazy about those rag and bones boots - they are the bomb!!!! I will always love some fashion!

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  19. What an awesome gift from the Disney guy! I don't know what you will feel like posting about your trip, but I would love to hear anything, I need to live vicariously since I have no Disney plans! :)

    With regards to an abundance of stuff, I've noticed lately that I feel just as happy when I've just dropped things off at consignment as I do when I bring something new into the house. Maybe happier!

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    1. Cate - I just did a big exercise about values and realized that having a lot of clothes, or even spending a lot of money on clothes, is not consistent with my values right now. That has made it easier and giving away to others who will enjoy them is freeing!

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  20. I am so happy for you Wendy! It all seems so natural somehow as if your father is looking over you too...I will check out Janet's blog properly as everyone has such nice things to say about her. PS your cheer is infectious by the way!

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  21. Happy events, stressful events, any event were often an excuse to "reward" myself with a "treat". I totally get this and unfortunately I'm in the same loop - At the moment I have three assignments and can't get down to them at all (massive procrastination) and I I can think about is I must get a new pair of dark jeans. I do spent way too much time looking at stuff online but I have a rule that's I've only once broken - I never ever buy anything online.

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    1. Jody, I resemble that remark! It is hard where I live to find many things so shopping online has been a bit if a saviour in some ways, but mostly a curse and I think I will start following your rule!

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  23. Lovely post. Your practice of gratitude is very inspiring. I really love clothes and shopping, but a fulfilling creative life adds a very deep and profound level of satisfaction. It sounds like you are finding a good balance between the two. Thanks for sharing the beautiful story about your trip! I appreciate posts like this very much!

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    1. Thanks AmW! I like clothes and shopping too, but one of the wonderful by-products of putting my energy elsewhere is that clothes and shopping has been relegated to a special event for me. It's like my alcohol intake. I now usually only drink once a week these days, but boy, do I ever savour the wine on that night!

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  24. What Disney for you is amazing. I do hope someone who really is struggling to do that trip also gets such a benefit...maybe a family with young children?

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Kindness is a virtue...