We so often see our human condition as set apart from the natural world. Not only has this collective mind set contributed to the serious environmental problems of our day, it also denies us access to a certain down-to-earth wisdom about life. I’ve noticed that the more I pay attention to the cycles of the world around me, the more my own life naturally flows in harmony with the seasons. Just as if some big, unexplainable wave has picked me up and is carrying me, life takes on the ease of floating downstream instead of fighting the current: fall brings endings and opportunities to let go of what I no longer need; winter brings introspection, and spring, new beginnings.
This time of year, when the natural world is growing, flowering and producing lavishly, there’s an easy abundance to life. Things seem to pop into manifestation with little effort. In my classes, this is the time of year I like to give attention to prosperity and abundant living.
This connection between seasonal cycles and personal life may seem like a stretch to many, especially if our human experience bears no resemblance to the outer world. When we’re out of synch, we’re likely to fall sick in the fall/winter months from our inability to let go and flow with change. We become depressed in the dark seasons from our failure to access the inner light of inspiration. Then we don’t have the energy to begin new ventures in spring, and summer finds us in scarcity rather than abundance. A way back to an easier harmony with life is to study the season that best matches our current out-of-synch experience and learn from it.
So, should summer find you in a place of scarcity rather than abundance, much can be learned through studying the sparseness of winter. This empty, barren phase of nature is a concentrating time when energy pulls in and pulls back, in order to gain momentum for the next burst of growth.
In times of financial or other scarcity, we often start worrying, panicking and withholding, which only sows seeds of more scarcity. Because many of us have learned to connect financial prosperity with such large issues as well-being, self-worth, and even survival, when our money supply is threatened we tend to feel threatened in all these other areas as well. We may become so wrapped up in our feelings of fear and powerlessness that we don’t even see how many practical options we have for making less money more manageable. So, an important first step in times of scarcity is to address our state of mind, because action taken from a place of anxiety and weakness is bound to create more of the same.
In the natural world, scarcity doesn’t last indefinitely. A season serves its purpose and evolves into something else. As soon as we begin to think of our experience of scarcity as a “season” we’ve defined it as temporary, and thereby given it permission to evolve into something else. Times of scarcity often precede big jumps forward. Consider how a bow and arrow works: the pulling back creates the force that propels it forward. Similarly, taking a few steps back builds momentum for a big, running jump. How we work with the leaner times in life has a lot to do with what we allow to happen next. They can be very potent launching pads for prosperity and abundant growth if we recognize them as such. The following are some suggestions for making the most of your seasons of financial scarcity.
Dream. As in winter, times of financial scarcity are good times for envisioning what you want to do with more money and with your life in general. Imagine this to be like pouring through gardening catalogues in winter. Just as you have faith that seasons change, feel the same certainty that this financial season will change. Let your dreaming fill you with pleasant anticipation for what the next growing season will bring and use this time to turn within (think of hibernating in winter) instead of externalizing your energy through spending.
Clean house, materially and emotionally. Lighten up. Let go of the past and what you no longer need. Make room, literally and symbolically, for the coming growth and prosperity.
Practice Mindful Spending. Become conscious of how you flow money. Let the lack of excess help you get clear about what’s really important and spend only on that. Try this: all this month, every time you spend even a cent, ask yourself: “Is this expenditure taking my life in the direction I want it to go? Is it enhancing the quality of my life, prospering someone I would like to see prosper or supporting something I believe in?” If not, rethink spending your money in that way.
Become, out of necessity, a good steward of your money, using it in the highest way. This will make you magnetic to more and will also teach you how to wisely use more. This lesson in wise spending may be just the preparation you need to attract a significantly larger flow of money into your life.
Find ways to enjoy life that don’t require money. Become aware of any ways you’ve become dependent upon money for recreation, self-nurturing, self-esteem or socialization. What you create, experience, and how you stretch when the easy crutch of money is taken away may be a big part of why you unconsciously called this season of scarcity into your life.
As you honor this “winter” phase in your life, don’t forget to appreciate the abundance of the natural world. The beauty of summer can be enjoyed for free. Give thanks for the blessings in your life and then, in the coming months of fall, allow something old and unnecessary to die away so that winter can fill you with new inspiration. As you let the wheel of the seasons carry you forward in this way you may be amazed at the abundant life you’ve created by the time next summer rolls around.