I’m currently going through a lot of stuff we have piled in our basement to sell at our neighborhood garage sale, sorting and pricing objects. $1 for hard-cover books, 50 cents for a paperback. DVDs, one buck each. Some of the pricing is easy, and some is mind-numbingly stressful.
Let’s take my old martini shaker, for example. I remember buying a martini shaker to mix drinks for a condo-warming party I had in 2004. It reminds me of new beginnings and energetic friends. I can still picture the Apple-tini drink mix that I set beside it on my new countertop at that party. It probably cost me about $15 originally. Last week, I sat in my basement with my pricing stickers, thinking, “I might be able to get $0.50 out of it. Or maybe that’s too high, and I should price it at $0.25. But what if someone wants to bargain with me? There’s no bargaining room with a quarter. But at $0.50, isn’t that going to turn buyers off? On the other hand, at a quarter, is it even worth selling? Maybe I should keep it. Wait, I kept a different one. And I don’t drink martinis.” I must have sat there with the decrepit martini shaker in my hands for five minutes, agonizing over it. Over a quarter. And for what?
I like money. I like a lot of the stuff that money can buy. I like security. I hate being wasteful. I like to maximize the utility of the stuff in my life. I don’t like being ripped off. I resent buying something, getting little to no use out of it, and disposing it without a return on my investment. Thus, I agonized over a quarter.
I also want to feel Good Enough. I crave the feeling of abundance in my life. That’s the entire idea behind this blog! I hunger for peace and joy much more than I desire an extra quarter in my bank account. I want to feel free and light and unencumbered. I don’t want to be tied down by expectations or doubts or insecurities. More than anything, I want abundance.
Can I achieve that feeling of abundance if I’m still gripping scarcity?
Can I luxuriate in the feeling of “enough” if I’m still focused on lack?
Can I truly feel prosperous if I spend my time clinging to outdated objects, feelings and thoughts?
I don’t believe I can. And that’s why I’ve decided to let go. Instead of agonizing over the money we can personally earn at our upcoming garage sale, Lancelot, my mom and I have decided to earmark it all for a local charity. We want to help people in our neighborhood with the money we earn from our outdated junk, not simply hoard it all for ourselves. The idea is liberating! No more agonizing over quarters and dimes. Simply gratitude.
The truth is that I want for nothing. We have a healthy bank account. My husband has a great job. I have the education and experience to reenter the workforce tomorrow if need be. We don’t question where our next meal is coming from. Are we millionaires? Not even close. But do we have enough? Absolutely!
Could I use more money? Well, heck yes! – and no. Money is a complicated issue. We have many expenses and many dreams for our future for which money is a requirement. Yes, we could use more money. Yet, today, we have enough.
That’s not true for everyone. Many people around the world and in my own neighborhood struggle to pay their mortgages or even find shelter for the night. Some children at my sons’ school don’t have enough money for lunch every day. There are untold millions of people around the world that have very real needs – they aren’t struggling to decide whether they want a $0.50 or $0.25 return on investment on a martini shaker they no longer use, but rather they are wondering if they’ll be able to afford new shoes when the soles of their current ones completely fall off. In less extreme examples, I have friends that are single parents trying to provide for their children on a single income, and loved ones facing life changes like divorce who truly need every last cent.
I’ve been there. I’ve been the one who lost friendships over bounced rent checks and who ate popcorn for dinner because of the price, not the calorie count. I’m not there anymore. I’m eternally grateful that I’m not. Thinking about the very real need of my fellow humans inspires shame in me for even thinking about that extra quarter … and it has also inspired me to flip the script and even the playing field a little bit.
I believe in the power of attraction (also known as The Secret) which states that what you project in the world will be returned to you. Feelings of lack will boomerang back to you with more deprivation. Feelings of abundance will return more prosperity. This validates my desire to stop clinging to this extraneous stuff I’m selling, and instead say, with gratitude and confidence, “I no longer need these objects. I have enough. I am enough. And I can use that abundance to help others have enough, too.”
I like money, and I’ve always believed that building wealth would provide security and abundance. I’m still proud of the beautiful items that fill my home with light and love. But I’m starting to really understand in my soul that things will never truly give me the security or abundance I crave. I’m not going to say I won’t feel a little sad giving money earned from my own possessions to someone else instead of treating myself to a comfy new pair of Lululemon dance studio pants. (I seriously love those pants!). But if I want to feel the abundance I say I want in my life, it’s time to do more than talk about it and actually live in the abundance I desire.
The true feeling of abundance comes from knowing I have enough, and that I am enough. There’s no price tag in the world that can compare.