Can a person have lots of “stuff”, all the toys and gadgets they could want, everything in its proper place, piles of money in the bank—and still be miserable?
Yes, and it happens all the time.
I imagine there are plenty of millionaires in the world who are bored out of their mind or otherwise extremely unhappy, underneath it all! All you have to do is watch the rise and fall of celebrities to know this is true. How many people have killed themselves via drugs, alcohol or other means, who were filthy rich? Too many. It’s a sad, sad thing.
When I started studying feng shui, eight years ago, I wanted to know how this abundance stuff works. If feng shui is about our “stuff” and our surroundings, our work and living environments, how could I cultivate a greater feeling of abundance in my life? Was it about getting more stuff, to have more energy? Actually, I found that the opposite was true.
Most people focus on the stuff—on gathering stuff, on getting more stuff, thinking that it’s going to make them happy and then are surprised when it doesn’t. And then, that makes them want more stuff! It’s a vicious cycle.
Why is this? From my vantage point, it’s because they’re not addressing the underlying poverty mentality that makes them lust for stuff, stuff, and more stuff to fill the bottomless void!
I speak from experience. Not that I’ve ever been a bored millionaire, but at one time I was sitting on piles and piles of cash. I had an inheritance of nearly $500 K, in my mid-twenties. Did I feel secure? Yes. Did I feel happy? Well, sometimes.
I had an amazing car. I lived in a gorgeous apartment in San Francisco. I took courses at one of the foremost feng shui schools in the United States. I had a closet to die for, games and activities to do every day, places to decorate. I had things that were supposed to make me happy.
And did it? I would say that overall, I actually remember being rather miserable. And angry at the world. I was angry at my father for the way he treated me and how we parted on bitter terms. Underneath all the trappings of supposed “wealth”, I was miserable, angry, depressed, incredibly needy—to the point where I drove people away—and I felt rather powerless.
Does that mean that a person is going to be miserable if they have heaps and heaps of money? No, certainly not. But my experience is that it took me until I had run out of money, completely, to even begin to feel a sense of abundance in my life. Sounds contrary, doesn’t it? I know, it surprised me too!
What I found, from my experience with gaining and losing an inheritance in a short period, is that money magnifies a person’s energy. So if you are already a joyful, peaceful person who takes life in stride and feels abundance in everyday things, then you’ll be more likely to also feel that way if you come into a windfall somehow. On the other hand, if you’re bitter, angry, depressed and needy like I was, coming into that same windfall can magnify those lousy feelings! Not so fun!
You know what? Years ago, I got the cosmic message that I was supposed to let go of everything that didn’t fit into a backpack and suitcase, and that doing so was ultimately my path to joy, healing and transformation. This was partly inspired by a vision that I had, along with a book called Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston. And four years later, after willingly ditching most of the things in my life, I’ve found that to be true!
How does that work? Well, here’s how I see it. Everything that I do have, I really love and appreciate. I’m much more mindful of what I pick up, what I buy, and how that will affect my energy. I no longer fear loss as much, firstly because I’ve lived through so much of it that I’m like “oh, hello, interesting to see you here again!” Secondly, I have very little to lose. Thirdly, I know that I can let go of everything I have, all over again, and I will still be provided with what I need! Fourthly, my goal in letting go was to have more presence, increase my connection to source, gain clarity and heal myself. I have done all of those things.
Did I choose to live in poverty? Yes, I get that it was a choice. Am I still working through my money issues? Yes, it’s a work in progress. Spending a fortune in a very short period of time is something that I’m working to forgive myself about. There’s some other stuff in there. At least I’m clear on what my issues have been. And I know that my view of money has shifted dramatically. I can’t say that I know what I’ll do, exactly, when I have more money to work with, but I’m in a much healthier place now and I welcome that coming back into my life.
So why am I telling you this? Because my issues with money helped me to realize that well-being is as much about the mind as it is about the stuff and the surroundings. Inner feng shui is hugely important, in my opinion. You can move all the things you want around in your house, but if you’re not willing to address the underlying emotions and subconscious stuff that gets stirred up, you’re going to end up right back where you were!
Are you dealing with a poverty mentality? If so, what can you do to cultivate a feeling of overall abundance? Well, I’ve give you three tips.
1. Let go of anything that doesn’t feel abundant to you, that does not make your heart rejoice, that you never use, etc. Do this as a means of calling life force energy back into your life, and hold that as your intention, as you do so. When you’re done, you’ll be surrounded by things that you love and you will have created a vacuum for good things to come in!
2. Learn to enjoy the journey, live in the moment and appreciate all that you have… even the most basic things, that support you in your life every day.
3. Focus on your spiritual connection and begin to make your choices from a place of love, rather than fear. Tune into your heart more often. Be generous with your time and love, and look at the world in terms of what you have to offer.
Editor: Malin Bergman
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