We are more than half way through 2018. And with the buzz of college students flocking back to campus, and the promise of crisp fall air on the horizon, I’m thinking about my resolution.
Every year I choose a word. Something to anchor me to intention, so that even as I get rocked by the waves of life’s chaos, I am still tethered to my goals. This year’s word was abundance. I wanted financial abundance, to help get us out of the debt that the immigration process bestowed upon us. I wanted an abundance of love, friends, family, community—an abundance of tomatoes in my garden, and an abundance of wet, slobbery puppy kisses. I wanted it all. But what I hadn’t been doing was opening my hands to receive it.
Last week, as I was dropping my 91-year-old grandmother off after rushing to get her to a dentist appointment, where we discovered she had three cavities (because she is 91 and who flosses at 91) my husband’s truck gave out. As in it literally stopped working. I pushed the gas and it make tons of noise but just wouldn’t go. I started yelling that it was the worst day in the world, frustrated and worried. I was in the back roads of Davidson, NC, and coasted and prayed that I could at least get to the CVS parking lot. I made it.
The next day the tow truck driver picked it up and towed it to the shop. He was an angel…literally; he had angel wings tattooed on his neck. He was kind, reassuring and supportive, and shared with me his goals to remind people to see the light in stressful moments of broken down cars.
Turns out we had to replace the radiator and the piping in the truck. Something we didn’t have the money for. We got the truck repaired, and put it up for sale. We decided to make a change. To live with one car, and I would bike to work.
And after a week of biking to work, I am reflecting back on the lessons of making lemonade out of the lemon of a broken down car. Now I get up earlier, early enough to see the sunrise, and to see deer grazing in our yard in the last hours of darkness kissing the morning light. I stay at work instead of rushing and running errands, giving me more time to meditate and to read throughout the day, and to respond to emails at my office instead of at home. When I bike home, I feel the breeze blowing through my hair, whipping away any worry from the day. In losing a car, I gained a bike, and a connection to nature again.
Abundance is about being in the flow of of life. It is just as much about giving as it is about receiving. When we stop the flow of giving, we dam up our experiences, creating a whirlpool. And when we give too much without receiving back, the well runs dry. Abundance is about a constant stream of give and take. It is the idea of reciprocity, our ability to give out and pour forth from a full cup of receiving. Mother Nature has abundance down. You only have to sit in the woods for a few moments to see how the bee takes from the flower, offering out honey, and how the rain replenishes the trees, only to offer us nourishing air. I am learning that abundance is synonymous with reciprocity.
As the tow truck driver offered kind words, I offered him guidance on how to pursue a degree in social work, and as I give back to the environment by biking to work instead of driving, the environment gives back to me with the song of the birds carried on the wind. In learning about abundance, I am learning about being in the flow with life itself.
We cannot give or receive with a closed fist, when our hands are so grasped tightly clinging to the past, we cannot open up to receive or to give. In opening up to the change of giving up a truck, I have received an enormous gift of biking. What can you open your hands to today?
Author: Cait Allison