I was surprised when abundance thinking became the first Permaculture idea that triggered feelings of resistance.
For years, I have been saying that the flourishing of all beings is my aim as a Druid and a human being on this planet. Our consumer culture is built on a sense of lack, of fear that there isn’t enough, that we aren’t enough. It’s what makes advertising work and what keeps us consuming. And that consumption drive is not good for the planet and does the opposite to helping us flourish.
I pride myself on the fact that I don’t need much. I hate shopping. You’d have a hard time convincing me that I need yet another gadget, or clothes, or decorations for my house. I get by fine on a relatively small income. I try not to be wasteful of the Earth’s resources.
But the Fair Shares Ethic doesn’t stop at ‘set limits’. It also asks us to ‘redistribute resources‘. That’s right. I’m being asked to look at what I might have a surplus of and give it away.
People & Permaculture, a book by Looby Macnamara, says: “One of the ways to develop an abundance mentality is to practise giving things away. […] Try and give something away small or large every week to keep momentum.”
And that is where I’m brought up short.
Suddenly, I’m full of excuses about not actually having that much. I’m scrabbling for reasons why I can’t possibly do that now. Maybe later, when a list of conditions has been met. And anyway, if I had too much of something, who would I give it to?
So I decided to park the whole thing for a while and come back to it. Obviously I’m not ready to consider giving away what is ‘mine’ just yet.
That very day, during my time for spiritual practice, I was refreshing my shamanic journeying practicce with Singing the Soul Back Home by Caitlin Matthews. And there it said: “This week make a journey to one of your Upperworld allies and teacher, asking ‘What can I give away to create spaciousness on the cosmic web?’”
Hm. Is the universe trying to tell me something?
So I made that journey. Accompanied by my drum, I asked my guiding spirits exactly that question. I was fully expecting to be asked to give away a precious possession or to have to start digging into the boxes of stuff stored away from our building works.
No such thing happened. I was shown the Web of Life, and asked to listen for the hum of the threads as they reached me. Some of them were free and clear already. I was shown the things that I was giving away already: time for political activism, blog posts, money to deserving causes.
The first thing I was asked to give away was not of the sort that I had expected at all. It was concern and worry and stress about our building project. I was asked to just let that go and give it over to my guiding spirits. All I need to do is the actual work. They will take care of the worry. They have a knack of taking that kind of stuck power and using it for better things.
That’s not as easy as it might sound. I do have a tendency to let stress build up, and just letting it go is easier said than done. But I can certainly see how it would free up that particular thread on the Web, so I’ll do as asked. I look forward to hearing that thread hum with freedom.
The second thing was more along the lines that I’d expected. And it doesn’t come easily either. I was asked to deliberately give support to my friends, to whatever their situation or creative project is. And to do so every day. Whether it’s via Facebook, the phone, or in person doesn’t matter. As long as I give away some encouragement and support.
Living in the countryside now, it is very easy to just retreat behind the gates of Westacre and just never leave. It’s tempting to become a hermit in this house and garden, enclosed by tall trees. Consciously going beyond that boundary every day, even if it’s in a small way, will do a lot to strengthen my connection to the wider Web of Life. It has the potential to make my friendships sing with that hum of free flowing energy.
The journey and its advice gave me a different way of looking at my life and how it is connected to everything else. I am seeing those connections with new eyes and recognising that they are many. It has given me a new sense of abundance.
What abundance is there in your life that you’re not seeing at the moment? What do you have that can be shared? What can you give away that will free up your connections with the world and make them hum with power?