The holiday season is often a time of reflection - we take stock of what is working, what's not, and the unexpected joys in life. For many, it's also a time to share our feelings with those around us, including our gratitude for the abundance of life.
As I was thinking about this the other day, I realized that the many lenses we use to understand the world also affect our perception of gratitude and abundance. I wondered what drives people to feel that sense of gratitude and abundance of life. What gets in the way of those feelings? And what does it mean to people to have an abundant life?
I decided to reach out to a small group of folks (not a statistically accurate study, obviously). I asked five questions:
- Do you feel that you have an abundant life based on your definition of abundance?
- If so, do you think it was an accident?
- If you don't think it was an accident, what are the top three characteristics/attitudes you possess that help you create/influence your feelings of abundance in life?
- If you don't feel you have an abundant life, what do you think are the top three drivers for that?
- Regardless of how you answered the questions above, if you were sharing an inspirational moment with someone, how would you complete the following sentence, "In order to feel you have an abundant life, it is important to be (fill in the blank)."
Although the words and the manner in which people shared their views were quite different, there were many common themes. Clearly, it's important to understand that:
- Abundance does not equate to material gains. Some of the "wealthiest" people have few material resources, and some of the "less wealthy" have considerable material resources.
- There's a difference between "enough" and "more is better." Although the definition varied, there was clear recognition that there is such a thing as enough.
- Life is bigger than oneself. People were passionate when they said things like, "It's about love," "It's about people and relationships," and "It's about your higher power."
- You must appreciate the gifts you have and not dwell on those you don't have.
- The strong support of family, friends, and communities is essential.
- Having a life of abundance does not mean there won't be bumps and roadblocks along the way. It also does not mean there are no sorrows, losses, and ongoing troubles. Everyone has some level of these in our lives - it's about how you navigate and think about them.
Most folks said that enjoying an abundant life was not an accident. However, they acknowledged some level of luck in the mix, whether from genetics, being born in a resource-rich country, receiving a good education, or having strong core values instilled in them. After all, supermodels are supermodels due to an accident of genetics.
My wish for you this holiday season, the coming year, and the years beyond is that you have a life of gratitude and abundance of spirit. I hope that you:
- Enjoy truly close relationships to help you grow and share
- Find the strength to deal with whatever troubles you
- Understand what gives meaning to your life and be at peace within yourself
- Be open to new people and experiences and face challenges with an open heart and spirit