Abundance is a word I haven’t totally made friends with. It’s a concept that feels foreign in some ways. It brings to mind a treasure chest full of gold or a feast for a royal family or elaborately ornamented gowns. But at the end of 2020 when I started asking myself what my new word for the year would be, abundance was standing there, waiting patiently for me to notice it. It seems to me that the only thing to do when abundance presents itself is to welcome it in, so that’s what I did.
I hope to get more comfortable with abundance in 2021. The idea of wealth makes me uncomfortable, perhaps because it is as likely for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven as it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. This idea from the new testament pierced me as a child, and the thorn still lives there, or at least the scar does. I didn’t fully understand the idea then, nor do I now, though I’m far more skeptical of my original interpretation. I believed then that it was impossible to be both rich and good. (Turns out the Eye of the Needle may have been referring to a mountain pass.) But my faith is now much broader than the words of men.
I get that wealth can distort our perceptions and expectations. But so can the lack of wealth. I don’t think it’s money itself that corrupts, so much as the relationship we have with it. And while we’re on the subject of money, let’s also go beyond it. Abundance can refer to material wealth, but also to all that is immaterial. An abundance of air and water and sunshine. An abundance of goodness. An abundance of hours.
In trying to get to know abundance a little better, I’ve searched for quotes and collected some thoughts. This quote from Epicurus highlights an aspect of abundance I really like:
Not what we have, but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.
This quote sparked some thoughts that I’ve jotted down to remind myself throughout the year:
- be grateful, be generous
- fill my work with this moment
- face fears from a place of abundance
I also noticed that the word abundance contains the word dance, which is a happy thought.
In searching for quotes related to abundance, I came across this one that doesn’t address abundance directly, but felt perfect to me.
Who misses what they have never, ever even imagined?
—N. K. Jemisin, The Fifth Season
This quote speaks to the potential that exists around us, even when we can’t even imagine such abundance. Really, the quote is more directly about deprivation, how insurmountable a lack of something can be, which is the opposite of abundance. It seems like the perfect place to start a year of abundance though. A reminder that I can’t know ahead of time what abundance may appear, or what abundance I might create. That even though I may not feel any deprivation, I may find as I look back later that there is a fundamental lack of something now that I will later have in abundance. Love can feel like that. So can learning.
I love this quote because I read N. K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season for the first time this year. It blew me away. Jemisin creates a rich world with a deep history and earthy magic systems that is peopled with complex compelling characters. It is not only one of my favorite books of 2020, it is also a book brimming with so much of everything I love in fiction, that I think of it as part of my abundance.
I plan to spend some more time getting to know abundance. I hope we can become good friends. I used my January bullet journal pages to explore abundance from a visual perspective. Patterns seemed like a good place to start, so I experimented with a pattern inspired by tiles in the Alhambra. I’ll leave you with some photos of my January spreads.
Here’s wishing you abundance of your own!