An Interesting Thing Happens When We Notice Abundance In Life
We notice more of it.
I am a believer in noticing the abundance in my life. It’s easy to get lost in all the bad news and not notice all the good news. We can make our own good news. We can take some time each day to notice that somewhere and at any time in our lives, we live in abundance.
I have had a chance to dabble in a few things scientific. I’ve studied biology, microbiology, physics and particle physics. These are the subjects that give me the foundation I need for noticing the abundance in my life.
To start noticing the abundance in our lives, we have to start somewhere. So let’s start with the air we breathe. In this room, I am breathing oxygen. The oxygen wasn’t made by the plants. It was made by really big, really hot stars. That oxygen combined with other molecules to form water. Oxygen and water are two of the most abundant substances on the surface of the earth and they gave us life.
It has long been believed that plants give us the oxygen we need to breathe. 2.4 billion years ago, the earth was a snowball resulting from the massive success of cyanobacteria. But the oxygen in the air didn’t just come from plants, though the plants did help. I also see that everything that dies gives up a little bit of oxygen over time. I didn’t make that oxygen. You didn’t make it, either. Something else made it and we just happen to need a tiny fraction of that oxygen to live.
So if I wanted to look for abundance in my life, I’d start with the air. Then there is the sun. The sun is 840,000 miles in diameter. According to NASA, the sun burns 600 million tons of hydrogen per second. That is a mind-boggling number of tons. We didn’t do that. None of us have anything to do with the sun’s propensity to burn hydrogen, release sunlight and allow a tiny fraction of it to land here, on earth. That is abundance in a very pure form.
Getting closer to home, I’d look around me. Everything I touch was made by someone or something else. The air, the water, the clothes, the furniture, the floor, the ceiling, this computer, the monitors attached to the computer, the keyboard, my glasses, my hearing aid — all of it — was made by some other hand than mine. Yes, I worked my fanny off to earn the money that paid for much of the stuff around me. But I didn’t have to build that stuff myself.
Then there are the people around me. They have an infinite capacity to amaze me, enthrall me, surprise me, and love me. They can also disappoint me, irritate me and make a mess for me to clean up. And all of that is mutual. But I didn’t make those people up. They’re in my life and I would not have it any other way. The people in my life are proof of abundance in my life.
And somehow, I have enough money, food, clothing, shelter, 2 cars, a nice place to live (it’s not a mansion, but it’s enough), and then some, but it’s enough. I’m not so fueled with ambition that I leave my family consumed with a desire for more money, more space, more cars, more of everything. I can make time for my family because of that abundance.
I don’t live in the best place, the best county, the best state, or the most expensive zip code or any of that. I don’t look for that. I just notice that whatever I have needed in life, somehow I managed to acquire and hold onto it long enough to use, to enjoy, to appreciate. I go to bed at night knowing that I have enough.
And I’m not even sure if I know how to identify all of my needs, articulate them and get them met. I just know that I’m alive now, that I have enough of what I need to write these words.
I read the news, but not much. The news reminds me of how awful people can be to each other. The news reminds me that the world can be a better place when humans decide that they want it to be a better place to be. I know that it’s there. I know that people are suffering. I know that some people have little money, they’re lonely, they’re tired, they’re in a hell that they know not how to escape. I’ve been there.
I know what it’s like to be poor. I have known days when I was just counting change in a jar to decide what to eat. Whether to eat. So I keep working. I keep writing. I keep observing and taking notice. I am keenly aware of the choices I make with my attention, my focus in life.
I’ve found that living in abundance is really about taking notice of everything. I kind of take inventory around the house when I go from room to room. I have plenty of toothpaste, clothes (I hardly ever buy clothes), jeans (I’ve got a few pair), I have enough apples, I don’t need another TV, I have a ping pong table that could be used a bit more, and on and on.
On a daily basis, I take notice of the abundance in my life. I do this whether I’m having an easy day or a challenging day. I don’t even say that a day is good or bad, for to do that, is to take it personally, like I *deserved* a bad day or a good day. Like I’m special. I’m not. I’m just here, like you. Trying to make sense of another day.
And I get to choose how I look at life. I get to choose whether to accept a challenge in a day or walk away. I get to choose whether the glass is half full or half empty. No one else can do that for me. And when things get tough, or difficult or even when I’m enjoying myself, I take notice of the abundance in life. I always feel a little better when I do that.