How To Recover From Setbacks In Ten Proven Steps

How To Recover From Setbacks In Ten Proven Steps

Disasters and upheaval happen in every life. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to recover from setbacks faster?

You may have been spared the trauma of earthquakes, random violence or war… only to face work layoffs, escalating debt, or a devastating medical diagnosis. Perhaps you feel stuck working at a job you hate but can’t leave because of current market conditions, or you don’t know how to change a seriously dysfunctional relationship.

When setbacks hit, it is common to feel overwhelmed, helpless and scared. In fact, others may tell you that you are overreacting; things are not all that bad.

If that is true, why do you feel so bad? The current setback in your life may have triggered an avalanche of past trauma memories or flashbacks, evoking deep emotional trauma for you.

Your ability to bounce back from setbacks depends on many factors, including your natural resilience or ability to cope with stress, the severity of the trauma, and what types of support you have access to.

When setbacks leave you feeling disempowered and vulnerable, it may be tempting to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. These substances may temporarily soothe you, but they make things worse in the long run. Substance abuse worsens many symptoms of trauma. It also leads to emotional numbing, social isolation, anger and depression. Ultimately, such forms of self-medication interfere with treatment and can add to problems at home and in relationships.

As news of disturbing events continue to unfold worldwide, it is more important than ever to sharpen your coping skills at physical, emotional and spiritual levels. It is up to you to put together your own disaster-preparation kit, so that you can be resilient in navigating the winds of change! Here are some positive coping strategies to help you get through times of stress and upheaval:

1. Recognize that you may be grieving. Grief is a natural part of the life cycle that follows loss. You may find yourself cycling back and forth through the five major stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Cycling through the stages of grief is normal – you are not losing your grip on reality. Allow yourself to grieve for the parts of life that you have lost, and take comfort in knowing that this process will come to completion in due time.

2. Honor your losses. Loss can show up in many ways. You may have lost your job, a relationship, a loved one, friends, pets, your home, possessions, your dreams, health, or your quality of life. Try writing about your loss or create a ritual to express your sense of loss. Rather than expecting to just “get over it” and move on with your life, take time to honor and affirm your losses – it is a valuable part of the healing process.

3. Talk to someone for support. During setbacks, it is important not to isolate yourself. Instead, make an effort to be with supportive people that you have carefully identified as safe. Face the challenges in your life and identify the most important problems. Then get help from safe friends, family members or professionals to help you address these so you can move past them.

4. Find your new normal. When life as you knew it ends, you may feel as if your entire infrastructure has collapsed, and previous guidelines lose meaning. You may find your emotions swinging from one extreme to another, temporarily losing your sense of what’s normal. When your personal world falls apart, it is important to remember that you are not alone, weak, or crazy. It helps to know your problems are shared by many others who have experienced – and survived – similar setbacks.

5. Break things into manageable chunks. When feeling too scattered to focus, recognize that your mind is trying to cope with your situation the best it can. Instead of berating yourself, take positive steps to regroup. Slow down. Give yourself time to focus on what you need to learn or do. Write things down and make “To Do” lists. Break tasks down into smaller, manageable chunks. Set just one realistic goal or task for each day. And get help if you need it.

6. Take time out when angry. The stress that accompanies major setbacks can create irritability and anger. This can affect your self-control, health and relationships. Anger can increase your heart rate so much that you cannot think clearly. Remember that staying angry doesn’t work. It actually increases stress and can cause health problems. Burn your anger off in the gym or get professional help to learn how to manage it more effectively.

7. Reconnect to positive emotions. After a major setback, many people have trouble feeling or expressing positive emotions. They may even feel guilty for surviving. This is a common reaction to trauma. It is not helpful to feel guilty for something you did not want to happen and cannot control. Instead, shift your focus to gratitude for surviving and resolve to make your life count!

8. Exercise positive thinking. Monitor your thoughts. If they cause you to feel stuck or helpless, switch to more helpful thoughts. For example, if you find yourself thinking, “I can’t do it,” challenge yourself with questions such as: “Is it really true that I can’t do it?” “Is it always true?” “Under what circumstances could I do it?” “What could help me do it?” Then select a more helpful train of thought that builds confidence. In this case, you might say to yourself, “With the right help, I can get through this.”

9. Take time to relax. Consciously choose to focus on something positive to help you relax. Some helpful activities include mental calming with progressive relaxation, mindfulness meditation, or conscious breathing; physical exercise such as swimming, walking or yoga; spiritual activities such as prayer, chanting or singing; and other healing activities such as listening to quiet music, spending time with pets or being in nature.

10. Reach out to help others. Helping others in need or volunteering in your community can be powerful ways for you to heal. It relieves stress by taking your mind off your own problems for awhile, and helps you see them in a different light. Providing support for others can also make you feel more connected and empowered.

Together, these guidelines can help you bounce back from life’s setbacks stronger and wiser!

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

Restoring Alignment: The Core of Personal Growth

Restoring Alignment: The Core of Personal Growth

Too much change, too fast, becomes counterproductive. It can feel overwhelming because it pulls us out of alignment with our habits, beliefs and values without giving us enough time to adapt.

If you’ve slipped into overwhelm, it’s most likely not because you’re a loser but because you are stuck in situations that have pulled you out of alignment with your inner truth. Restoring alignment and flow in life is at the core of all personal growth.

To regain harmony, you need to restore a greater sense of alignment between your external environment and your inner self. This restoration work has two parts: changing your outer environment and changing your inner relationship to your outer environment.

To restore alignment with your outer environment, you may need to let go of friends who drag you back into old habits or step out of a destructive relationship at work or home.

The second part requires changing your internal relationship to your outer environment. This alignment is more important because you have complete power over your internal choices, whereas you have less influence over your outer environment.

Changing your internal relationship with your environment takes a lot of effort – there are no short cuts to glory here. The payoff – increased peace, harmony, joy, energy, clarity, self-respect, empowerment, satisfaction and meaning in life – is its own reward!

Here are some critical components that can help you restore alignment with your environment.

  1. Refocus

Refocus on your core values. As you do this, an inner sense of integrity will return to your life. When there are no discrepancies in your value system, decisionmaking becomes easier, so you can align with environments that support your being instead of suppressing you.

  1. Define Your Purpose

You are the only person who can define what your life needs to look like to have meaning and success. For a moment, imagine you are at the end of your life, reviewing the life you’ve just lived. What’s the single most important accomplishment in your life? What is it you wish to be remembered for? What is the legacy you leave behind? When you connect with that core purpose, it will bring focus to everything else you do.

  1. Look for Clarity

Next, what things in life bring you joy? Even if you can think of just one thing, reflect on it until you see why it brings you joy. Is it playing with your dog because it makes you feel unconditionally loved; or spending time nurturing family members where you feel that you are making a valuable contribution? Identify what brings you joy and why; then start looking for ways to bring more of that into your life. With clarity around what brings joy and meaning to your life, you’ll enjoy the effort of working toward it, instead of feeling burdened.

  1. Cultivate Awareness

Observe animals in the wild and you’ll notice how fully present they are in each moment. For them, it’s a matter of life or death. For you and me, the process ultimately leads to the same outcomes although we’re not always aware of it. Each waking moment, we make choices that either move us toward a fuller expression of life or deaden the Life Force in us. Cultivate full awareness and you’ll make more optimal choices.

  1. Stay present

Stay present in the moment; discipline your mind and bring it back from a hypothetical future fraught with fear (“What if I lose my job?” or “What if I get cancer?”) Fact is, the future is not created yet and by letting fear-filled thoughts run rampant in your mind, you’re setting in motion probabilities that won’t serve you well! Likewise, ruminating about yesterday serves no purpose other than distracting your focus and draining your energy. At the end of each day, review the events of the day; forgive those who’ve hurt or let you down; ask forgiveness for those areas where you didn’t live up to your highest potential; resolve how you’re going to make different choices; and then let them go! Stay present – this is the only place from where you can bring about meaningful change.

  1. Be resourceful

When faced with challenges, don’t limit your options. Choose different responses; find more than one way of looking at things. Broaden your viewpoint to include possibilities you may not have entertained before. Consider all options you can think of before narrowing down your choices. You’d be amazed at how this simple exercise opens up possibilities!

  1. Banish self-judgment and negative self-talk

When you indulge in self-judgment and negative self-talk, you’re replaying the old tapes of others’ criticism and judgment that you’ve internalized. These behaviors are self-destructive. Stop it! You wouldn’t dream of attacking the Divine Presence in you, so why would you attack the human aspects that need healing? Healthy introspection acknowledges limitation and failure without judgment and allows you to change behaviors that no longer serve you.

  1. Maintain respect

If your actions were made public, would you retain self-respect? Societal norms commonly condone acts of greed and dishonesty as long as the perpetrator doesn’t get caught. Tolerating such lack of integrity undermines respect for ourselves and others. Do only that which you’d respect in another, and that which you wouldn’t mind being made public. When you maintain respect, you are strengthening the foundations of your life and your society.

  1. Stay in the Game

The game of life is not over until the final breath. Don’t give up at half-time because you’ve fumbled the ball. Never let one bad move knock you out of commission – get back in and give it your best! Change the things that don’t work and focus on what does. Give thanks for the breaks along the way and keep at it until the final moment! Miracles and breakthroughs often come at the most unexpected times, but you must be in the game to benefit from it.

Working with even just a few of these aspects will help you restore a sense of alignment between your inner life and your external environment so you can be the difference our world needs now!

About the Author:

©Copyright Ada Porat. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

How To Navigate Life’s Crossroads Without Fear

In today’s world, change confronts us with major, life-defining crossroads more frequently than ever. For one person it may mean leaving a job that no longer works. For others, that life-defining moment is on a personal level: finding the courage to break free from addiction, leave a relationship or reclaim their health.

Facing life-defining crossroads as the captain of your own life can feel scary or intimating, but it need to be so. Crossroads represent more than disruption of the status quo: they are opportunities for our choices to determine long-term outcomes. The way we navigate them are critical: we can choose a path from a place of fear and survival, or we can choose from a place of faith and trust.

Whenever you encounter crossroads in your life, something deeper in you is being called forth and, once you answer that call, you know that life will never be the same. You can step to become a co-creator with the Divine, choosing a path that ultimately enriches your life.

When you first encounter a life-defining crossroads, you may be unsure about how to proceed. Inspired guidance has not yet come forth and you may feel as if you are lost between the past and the future. This stage offers you the opportunity to embrace the unknown rather than feeling afraid or stuck. How can you do this without going into fear?

It is helpful to remember that the experience of nothingness – the void of the unknown – is really the experience of pure potential. The place of non-material nothingness embodies pure, undifferentiated potential for a new reality to emerge in response to your intention, focus and faith. Instead of emptiness, this space contains the fullness of all possibilities. It offers you the opportunity create a new level of being for your soul to experience.

Facing the unfamiliar and unknown is actually a gift: it offers you a profound opportunity for conscious creation! Recognize that you are not at the whim of outside circumstances and random events here. This is an opportunity for you to attract optimal outcomes by using the timeless tools of co-creation: intention, alignment, trust and gratitude.

You can consciously guide and create events through your focused intention, which forms the core of any creative process. When you set your intention clearly and specifically, you signal to the energies out there to create a reality that resonates with what you hold in mind.

Next, you need to take responsibility for your feelings so that you are in emotional alignment with your intention, banishing any sense of fear, worry or doubt. Wherever your focus goes, energy flows. It is therefore essential to recognize any thoughts, feelings and emotions of fear, and to release these with compassion so your mind can be at peace – the true resting place of faith.

Finally, you have to let go of trying to control outcomes. Instead, present your desire or need to the Divine and then detach from it. Simply let go of all attachments and aversions related to the situation: both your attachment to the desired outcome and your fears of the alternative. Trust the Life Force to respond to your situation at the appropriate time and in the appropriate way.

Then, allow gratitude to fill your being: give thanks for Divine guidance, provision and support to flow into you with each breath you take. Let the Divine Presence which sustains your very being, surround and fill you with a deep sense of gratitude. This attitude of gratitude expands your perspective to recognize guidance, synchronicities and confirmation on your journey.

When you operate from this place of gratitude and trust, you will take inspired action rather than pushing to make things happen from a place of fear or control. You are indeed part of a dynamic feedback loop with Divinity; a co-creative relationship where you are holding space for answers to emerge through your intention, alignment, trust and gratitude.

Once you grasp the enormous potential inherent in this process, you will approach life’s crossroads as an opportunity to create optimal outcomes from the raw materials of faith. Co-creating with Divine inspiration, your mind can begin to grasp what it means to have all of time and space at your disposal.

Here are a few principles to keep in mind as you learn to become fearless in the field of all possibilities:

  1. Remain detached from both expectations and fears. Recognize that attachment breeds expectation and fear. Instead, focus on the Eternal Source of your supply and keep your focus on that Divine Source rather than on circumstances.
  2. Keep your perspective on the present moment. When we focus on the future, we feed fear and anxiety; when we focus on the past, we feed guilt, blame and regret. In the present moment, there is always enough grace to meet your need, no matter how overwhelming the circumstances. By staying focused on the present, you stay open to all the possibilities.
  3. Adapt quickly to mistakes. Rather than turning a setback into some judgment about yourself, the situation or somebody else, simply acknowledge your feelings of disappointment and take note of what you have learned from it. Then renew the process of detachment, surrender and trust so you can return to your ultimate resting place of peace.
  4. Be alert to tiny signals – major turning points of life often arrive as small signals at first. Learn to see and interpret the metaphors through which life speaks to you.
  5. Cultivate a healthy, balanced connection between your soul and body. You will be most effective at decision-making when you remain aware of your spiritual core guiding you through the physical challenges of life, rather than trying to disassociate from either aspect.
  6. Stay flexible in your understanding and embrace ambiguity. Transformation is sometimes a messy process. Flexibility makes it easier to release unrealistic expectations when they prove untenable.
  7. Be patient. You are a spiritual being that exists in eternity; don’t let human expectations and timelines rob you of peace. Surrender every fear, doubt, anxiety or worry as it surfaces, so you can hold a space of clear intention and trust the perfect unfolding of Divine order.
  8. Take excellent care of yourself. Nurture yourself with healthy food, exercise and rest so you can have the physical resilience and stamina to realize optimal outcomes.
  9. Allow your core values to guide your decisions. When your choices, actions and behaviors are aligned with your values, you won’t need to second-guess yourself.
  10. Honor healthy boundaries. Learn that “no” can be a complete sentence. It’s a healthy and necessary way to address external demands at a time when you need time and space to figure out major life decisions.
  11. Be discerning about the company you keep. During times of change, it is important to receive validation from people whose view of reality matches your own. Such encouragement supports your process of learning to trust your own inner guidance, whereas negative people deplete your energy.
  12. Take time for meditation or contemplation. This practice will help you stay centered and at peace. It is also a powerful way to re-connect to Divine inspiration and fuel for your soul.

Together, these principles can help you fearlessly face the unknown and embrace new possibilities. The cross-roads of your life can become a life-changing opportunity!

About the Author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://www.adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

Developing Emotional Resilience

Even though most of us resist change, it offers unique opportunities to develop physical, mental and emotional resilience. People respond to change in two major ways: those who avoid change at all cost, and those who look for constructive ways to navigate through the change.

Avoidance serves an initial purpose in the change process: it offers you the chance to gather your energy, make sense of what happened, and plan what you want to do next. When avoidance leads to stalling, however, it can make you completely miserable because it will lead to excessive rumination, disempowerment, guilt and blame.

Whether you are still in shock and avoidance over events in your life, or whether you are actively looking for ways to heal and move forward, current research offers some guidelines to help you navigate the uncertain and often uncharted landscape of personal change, and become gain more emotional resilience to boot.

Responses to crisis are guided by how you conceptualize them. If you see yourself as victim in a situation from where you’ll never recover, then that is likely how you will continue to interpret new information as well. If, on the other hand, you interpret the situation as a difficult challenge that can be overcome with time, patience, skill and effort, then you significantly increase the probability of achieving that outcome.

Accept that transitions, crises, problems, and even tragedies are a part of life. You have not been singled out for special treatment – although it may feel that way at times! Change is a constant in life: careers, relationships, family situations, nature, health, the economy… you name it! At every level of life, changes occur around the clock, and these changes carry within them the seeds of new opportunity, breakthrough and hope.

Clarify what you really want. Do you want to survive or do you want to actually thrive? If you wish to transcend the limitations of the present challenges, you need to set high, yet achievable goals that will require you to dig deep within for the resources you have buried there. Once you know what you truly want from life or from the situation you are faced with, you can break it down into smaller, manageable action steps to rebuild your life.

Commit to your dreams and take action.  No matter how lofty or humble your goals, it will take effort and time to accomplish.  What action can you take right now with what you know and the resources at your disposal?  When you truly commit to your goals, you’ll become like a ferret: you’ll tunnel over, under, through or around the obstacles in your path because you won’t let anything discourage you from reaching your goals.

Reflect rather than ruminate. Ruminating over what might have been, what could have happened, or what you wish you could have had, serve little purpose.  It is far more useful to search for meaning in your current situation. What are you learning about yourself in this situation?  How could you respond to this challenge in ways that will make you stronger? What do you need to keep a healthy perspective? Reframe your problem by seeing it as a smaller part of the big scheme of life. This, too, shall pass!

Maintain optimism and hope.  Sports coaches often say “Attitude is everything.” They know the importance of staying positive! During times of upheaval, developing emotional resilience requires that you look for the silver lining in each cloud. Start a gratitude journal where you can record small victories and notice things that do go well. When you look for what is going right, chances are that you will notice more of that; the same goes for looking only at what goes wrong – the choice is yours!

Reach out to others. People who report the biggest gains after life crisis and change are often those who reconnected with loved ones and bonded deeper through greater transparency, intimacy and sharing. In Africa, people say that it takes a village to help raise a child.  You and I are no different – we need a tribe of like-minded people around to boost our emotional resilience and help us get thru difficult times. And there is no better time to expand your tribe than right now, so they’ll be there when you need them!

Take care of yourself. This is an area I often see people neglect most during times of change. There is a tendency to think that you first need to get over the hump and then you’ll be able to take care of yourself on the other side… not so!  By doing things that nurture, strengthen and support you during times of change, you’ll develop more resilience to handle the stress of change.

Redefine yourself. Change and crises have a way of destroying dreams, but you don’t have to stop dreaming!  When one dream ends, you can develop another, better vision of what you want to do with this precious gift of life in the time that you have left. When you do that, you’ll emerge from the transformational fires of change with more emotional resilience and inner strength.

About the author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://www.adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

Your Key To Creating a Meaningful Life

Of all the things you can do to impact your future and create a meaningful life, I believe personal growth is the greatest. With personal growth, I refer to that process of improving one’s awareness and identity, developing one’s potential, and maturing emotionally, mentally and spiritually to fulfill one’s destiny. It is the primary catalyst that determines who you’ll become over the course of your life.

Have you ever had an experience where someone says something perfectly appropriate, yet their tone or body language express the very opposite of their words? The experience felt weird because you sensed a discrepancy between the person’s words and actions.

Personal growth brings to light such discrepancies in ourselves so that we can take appropriate action to become fully integrated beings.

Personal growth also paves the way to lasting joy and fulfillment. It cultivates an environment where decision-making becomes easier, because you eliminate discrepancies in your value system as soon as you become aware of them. It’s your key to living a truly meaningful life.

Here’s some more good news: This key to a meaningful life rests in your hands, because you are the catalyst. It does not depend on finding someone to love or support you; or on getting a tax break, or electing a different president, or winning the lottery, or even moving to another country. It rests with you – and that is truly empowering!

Creating a meaningful life can start right here, right now. All meaningful change starts with a baseline: the willingness to accept responsibility for where we are at, and for the actions and choices that brought us to the present. Instead of beating yourself up over past decisions or failures, you can initiate meaningful change right now by accepting that you are the key factor to creating a meaningful life.

If that statement feels a little awkward to you, it means you need to own it more fully. Post it where you can see it every day: in the bathroom, the kitchen, your car, or your computer – anywhere you can see it.

You are the key to a meaningful life!

Think about the powerful impact this has. Your potential and your future are in your hands, because you are the key to creating the very change you desire.

How does one create meaningful change?

First, you need to nurture change until it bears fruit. Surround yourself with a strong, dynamic support system; an active pursuit of personal growth; clear goals and boundaries; and the knowledge of what your value system requires from you to maintain inner peace.

Second, you need to minimize the impact of obstacles instead of milking it for sympathy or using it as an excuse to not take charge of your life. Everybody faces challenges such as health setbacks, financial challenges and negative influences. However, none of these things can replace the most important aspect: your conscious presence as the core catalyst to creating the change you desire.

You are the key to creating a meaningful life! Imprint that concept on your mind, because it is super important. You don’t have to be perfect – you simply have to commit to your personal progress.

One of my former colleagues was a very successful entrepreneur who really understood this concept. Whenever people asked him how he became so successful, he would answer, “Simple. Just go beyond the average. Focus on becoming your best.”

How wise he was! In a world of mediocrity where the lowest common denominator usually is enough, you can surpass the norm simply by becoming more than average. You don’t have to strive for perfection; you just have to rise above the average.

Work on yourself and develop more than average enthusiasm. Develop more than average clarity. Develop more than average vision. Develop an above-average commitment to live your best life. In short, to have more, focus on becoming more. When you invest in and work on yourself, the results will follow!

One day shortly before final high school exams, my English teacher read us The Victor, a poem by C. W. Longenecker that I’ve never forgotten. It was written well before the age of gender-sensitive language, yet its message is still as powerful today as when it was penned:

“If you think you are beaten, you are.

If you think you dare not, you don’t.

If you like to win but think you can’t,

It’s almost a cinch you won’t.

 

“If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost.

For out in the world we find

Success begins with a fellow’s will.

It’s all in the state of mind.

 

“If you think you are out-classed, you are.

You’ve got to think high to rise.

You’ve got to be sure of yourself before

You can ever win the prize.

 

“Life’s battles don’t always go

To the stronger or faster man.

But sooner or later, the man who wins

Is the man who thinks he can.”

If you were to look at the people who attended school or college with you, you may notice that each person has reached a different place in life. Given the fact that they attended the same educational system, speak the same language, and share the same culture, what accounts for the difference?

The difference is on the inside, not the outside. It lies in how well each person understands the key to creating a meaningful life.

Every day, you make choices that determine whether something is meaningful for you or not. You are the only person qualified to measure an external experience by your internal value system and give it the thumbs up or down. The better acquainted you are with your inner value system, personal goals, boundaries and dreams, the more optimal will be the choices you make.

You see, the real difference is not in the astrological signs or the family you come from; the real difference is inside you. In fact, the difference IS you. The power to makes things better is inside you, and personal growth is the catalyst that activates that power in your life.

Within you is the power to believe, to dare, to do, to persevere. Within you is the strength to love, to forgive, to grow, to heal. You are the key to creating a meaningful life and a better future.

About the author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://www.adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

 

True Abundance

Ask anyone in the Western world how they define abundance, and you are likely to hear them talk about material riches and prosperity. And yet, true abundance is so much more!

The definition of an abundant life cannot be satisfied by the presence of material things alone. Jesus knew this when he said that man shall not live by bread alone, but by the living Word or Spirit. He challenged the common assumptions of his time by pointing out that true abundance cannot be confined to merely physical terms.

The common, limited assumption of abundance as a merely physical notion prevails even today. To find lasting fulfillment in life, it is essential for us to question and redefine such limiting social beliefs. We need to understand that true abundance applies at the levels of body, mind and spirit.

In my work, I am blessed to see the power of questioning assumptions every day. Once we become aware of limiting beliefs and behaviors, we can change them. Along the way, we learn to look deeper instead of blindly repeating the same old habits to getting the same old outcomes. By identifying the hidden determinants of our behavior, our lives often shift spontaneously!

One of the primary areas where limitation shows up is in our relationship to abundance – or its opposite, scarcity. In an era of unprecedented abundance in the western world, many still struggle with feeling that there is not enough: not enough to feel complete, not enough to feel safe or secure. We keep accumulating material things that cannot fill the deep emptiness inside our souls.

During feudal times, all wealth was tied to land ownership and material prosperity was a zero-sum game. Abundance was defined by material belongings because there was only so much land, and only so many people could own it. Land owners could build fortresses and tax travelers passing across their property, leading to more wealth. This system led to separation between those who owned land and those who didn’t, the haves and the have-nots.

This belief system is still active as a powerful undercurrent in modern society. With each economic cycle, millions of individuals over-extend themselves to acquire physical assets and wealth during economic booms, only to find their fortunes evaporate when the boom turns into a bust. In some societies, cycles of war and civil unrest strip people of all forms of physical security they may have painstakingly amassed over generations.

But does the loss of physical assets really make you a loser? And does the presence of physical assets alone define you as a winner?

Enlightened teachers like Jesus and the Buddha taught that true abundance is not based on physical assets alone. They proposed that true abundance includes qualities such as integrity, honesty, service, and loving kindness to all forms of life. These teachings pointed to a higher and necessary concept of abundance that still eludes general consensus today.

Talk to people around you and you’ll find many adhering to the outdated belief of measuring abundance by material displays of wealth. Besides that, you’ll find the limiting notion of having to compete against others to secure these limited resources for survival.

Western society is predicated on this outdated assumption that there’s only so much to go around, and that we need to compete with others for these resources on a basis of win/lose. I have to get mine first before you can get yours or the limited supply runs out (think black Friday shopping mobs!)… if you win, I will lose… and on we go, pitting our limiting beliefs against others in an effort to survive. We expand scarcity consciousness to every facet of life: believing that for my faith to be right, yours has to be wrong; for my political party to win, I have to sling mud and make yours look bad; and so on.

If I believe you must lose in order for me to win, or that you must be shamed so I can have value, or that you must be wrong for me to be vindicated, or you must be suppressed for me to feel free, then my sense of happiness becomes dependent on your lack thereof. My experience of life becomes fragmented into opposites, and I end up suffering estrangement from my fellow humans and my true nature. A life lived from such outdated beliefs offers very limited love, serenity and security.

Many forms of duality-based limitations such as these cause untold suffering in the world. Turn to the news and you will find numerous examples of this scarcity-based thinking in us versus them propaganda, xenophobia, social upheaval and marginalization that pervades society.

The Buddha taught his disciples to free themselves from the vice of duality-thinking; to liberate themselves from the opposites of desire and aversion which propel the cycles of scarcity and suffering. It is only when we let go of this misguided struggle for a bit of material security at the cost of happiness, that we are able to poise our minds in peace.

How do we uncouple from the vicious cycle of chasing after material security and finding scarcity instead?

The power lies in our thoughts. Our thoughts contain the seed forms of potential; making change possible in our consciousness, our belief systems and our world.

Physical reality manifests from our imagination and ideas about how things are. As humans, we are gifted with the ability to change the way we think, and hence create different outcomes. We can change the way we look at things and thereby change the outcomes!

Instead of seeing the world as a physical pie and ourselves competing against others for a slice of it, we can consciously change our view. Perhaps it is time to recognize that energy is never destroyed; it simply changes form. We can expand our definition of true abundance to include all its myriad forms: the material as well as the mental, emotional, psychological and spiritual. And perhaps we need to acknowledge that there is enough for all of us, and then share our resources from that perspective.

Changing old mindsets for more appropriate ones may not be as clean or predictable as we’d like. Evolution is messy and uncertain. A clear outcome is not always apparent. To the minds of westerners who like control, reliability and certainty, this can be nerve-wracking. Yet, the alternative is to allow greed to destroy balance in our world and to render humanity extinct.

Times of change call us to trust on a grand level. We need to trust in our Source, ourselves and each other as we redefine true abundance. When we do so, times of upheaval can give birth to new paradigms that better fit our needs.

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©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://www.adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

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