The world, as we know it, is driven by desires. I want to buy this; I want to go here; I want to do this; I want, I want, I want.
On “The Abundance Code”- a series on Gaia, a streaming conscious media website, episode one, which is aptly named “The Scarcity Trap,” they explore what it exactly means to be abundant. Along with how we are influenced in our day-to-day lives to believe we do not have it.
As an American society, we traditionally believe abundance is associated with money. From childhood, we are brain-washed from the media and our parents of the grand influence money has over us. How it dictates what type of life we have and how we need an overwhelming amount to be stress-free. We learn that once we reach adolescence, we are to join millions of people in the workforce for the next 50, 60, maybe even 70 years.
In addition to this, we are handed out these “rules”- ones most of us don’t think twice about- that we must abide. The biggest one is about education. You go to preschool, elementary school, then middle school, and high school- all while being bombarded with other people’s ideas about how life is. Then guess what happens after that: more school. Can’t afford it? No worries! You can take out loans to cover it. You’ll be paying it back until your 50, but who cares! You’re 19, and that’s a long way off.
Like so many others, I am a living example. By the time I was a teenager, I knew that I wanted to travel the world, and I knew that I generally liked to learn new information, so going to college straight out of high school was a viable option. I was willing to accrue debt for these things- because society said it was normal and what is money at that age besides video games and food? I went to a community college for a year then I moved out to California for a few months to pursue film. It was my first time living on my own. I ended up getting very sick, and I just wanted to be home. So I transferred to the school’s campus back in Boston. After three years, I finished the film portion of the curriculum and moved onto TV production- how to conduct an interview, which plug went into what- all things I didn’t care about. And the worst thing was I knew I was lying to myself.
In the industry, you traditionally started from the bottom and worked your way up- I knew that wasn’t going to work for me. So I transferred to my first-choice school to study what excited me: learning about different cultures and people. There, I studied abroad like I originally dreamed. After I graduated, I had a Bachelor’s degree, the same two jobs I held throughout school (waitressing and cashiering), no job prospects, and a mountain of debt. Hurray!
Once I got into the groove of the “real world” with nearly 100k in debt and making not even 35k a year, it was incredibly easy to feel like I was living in lack. And I wasn’t satisfied with my education to boot! I wanted more. I began to volunteer to help friends with their classes because I wasn’t willing to accrue even MORE debt of my own.
Over the years of not using my degree, I had been fortunate enough to learn what my true passion was through all of this: hacking the system very system that teaches us to live in lack and fear- what seems only mythical- and live a happy and healthy life. I wanted to show others how to do the same. I knew all of the prescriptions “they” were passing out was bs. It was an innate knowing within. Though I wish I would’ve come to this conclusion earlier in life, I know it has led me to this very point. But how do you know when something is your passion?
It’s something that lights you up from the inside out. An energy source unlike any other fills you up, so much so that it’s almost dizzying. By following this passion and being brave enough to pursue it, you tap into the “abundance code” and break free from that trap that millions of others don’t even realize they’re living in.
The other big way we fall into this “trap” is in our jobs. People mostly are not encouraged to do what you love or think about how it serves you and the people around you. Throughout school, you learn you either like English, science, or math, or hate them. From that, you being to think about which major in college pertains to those. That then translates to what kind of job you can stand doing and makes the most amount of money- even if that means it sucks your soul dry.
Have you ever heard the adage “whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right?” Abundance follows the same principle in the way of whether or not you live life poorly. Yes, having less money is a more tangible thing, but perspective truly goes a long way. And now I would love to share some tips and truths on finance and abundance that have helped me adopt a more positive outlook:
ONE: The “Game”- the stark truth is money is a game played by high rollers and as long as they’re making it, they don’t care who is affected by it- as long as it isn’t them. That doesn’t mean, however, you have to play along. By spending your money consciously (such as shopping local and putting it towards things and people that do good,) you can take back control of a corrupt system and help fund the humanity our society desperately needs.
TWO: The “50/30/20 Rule”- The idea is 50% of your income AFTER taxes goes to needs (bills, food, transportation, etc.), 30% goes to wants (travel, shopping, etc.), and 20% goes into savings. (If the word “budget” causes a visceral reaction, try switching it to “healthy spending.”) Though it may be unattainable for a lot of people, following this rule or getting as close as you can to it can help cast a light on your finances and serves as a great platform to see where your money is going. Financials are a “taboo” thing to talk about so I’m going to be real transparent here and tell you exactly how I put the 50/30/20 into action:
I have a full-time job and a part-time job. The income from my full-time job goes to bills, weekly food, gas, and my credit card. I have my paycheck automatically go into two different bank accounts. One is labeled “bills” and the other “day-to-day.” My part-time job (two days a week) goes strictly into a savings account. The 20% that goes into your savings is ideally for emergencies and retirement. In the past, I have used that for travel. I am not perfect, and I am always trying to refine my spending and save rather than spending it ALL on seeing the world. It’s a learning process. There is nothing wrong with baby steps. (side note: if traveling is a passion of yours as it is mine, find ways to make it cheaper rather than cutting it out completely. Never snuff the fire within.)
THREE: Manifestation- make a vision board, write in a journal, or the notes on your phone what you want in life like you already have it. Feel it. But don’t just stop there. There needs to be action behind it. Create small ways (steps) that will help you achieve those things. There is an idea that originated in Japan called “Kaizen.” According to Manisha Thakor, founder of “Money Zen,” the premise is to try to find the smallest incremental step that you can take to work on the area you are thinking about working on. And just do that. Start ridiculously small. By doing this, you are soothing your amygdala (fight or flight response because change is scary) and keeping it calm and quiet. “Kaizen” can apply to any aspect of your life.
For example: since everything is on my phone, I like to transfer all the leftover change from my bills and day-to-day accounts into savings. This extremely small step allows me to put money away every day and helps me feel like I am taking action now rather than later. Another example is if you want to travel. Try picking a destination as the first step, the first day of the task. In a day or two, research different attractions or what you would like to do there. In a few more days, look up where you would like to stay. Don’t do these things all at once. Along the way, right down numbers and at the end, tally them up for a total. Then divide that number to figure out how much you need to save every day. The ways this can be applied are endless.
FOUR: Gratitude- there are countless things to be grateful in this world: a roof over your head, clean water, a working bathroom, a shower, flowers, the sun & moon, etc. Within the things/people/places you are grateful for is true abundance. Once you take the time to start thinking of all the small things that make life beautiful, you begin to unlock a greater sense of peace within. It’s amazing. Some ways to cultivate gratitude in your everyday life are to write down in either a journal or the notes section of your phone 1-3 you’re grateful for or try a short mediation that centers around the subject. The more you do it, the easier it will become to call upon it, and pretty soon, abundance and gratitude will be a part of your everyday vocabulary. You start realizing all of the things and experiences you do have – related or unrelated to money. The more you’re in this state of abundance, the more of it you attract. It’s about shifting your mindset and your energy.
FIVE: Shift the process- money as we know it is an outdated, broken system. And most of it is spent unconsciously. Rather than piecese of metals and paper bills, think of money as an energy exchange- because that’s what it is. Your time and energy doing something are compensated by money, which you then exchange for something else- another form of energy. Thinking like this can help some to be more aware of how money and time are being spent. “Do I want to put all the energy it took to earn this and blow it at a Walmart or Target?” (We’ve all been there) Put it towards things and places that make you feel good and have a good mission, something you believe in, behind it.
If you take anything away from this, please have it be to think for yourself, follow your heart and gut, and realize you are more than what society says you are. Abundance is all around us. We just have to open our minds and our eyes to see it.
Love and light,
**Disclaimer: I am not associated with any links that I post. All programs, products, sites that I mention are for sharing purposes only. All images are from the Google search engine. Where applicable, consult with any physicians necessary before embarking on a fitness journey.**