May 17, 2014

Liberating the Notion of Scarcity. ~ Patricia J. Heavren


Not too long ago, I read a story about someone whose two children had a fight with each over who would get the last slice of a really good dessert.

The babysitter relayed the incident to mom, who in turn bought two pies the next time before leaving the house—one for each child—much to the returning sitter’s dismay.

When questioned as to why, mom’s reply went something like this: “I want them to grow up knowing that there will always be more than enough for each of them. I want them to know they live in an abundant world.”

I definitely get it. I understand completely that the way we perceive the world becomes the basis for what we later encounter. I also admit to getting pretty tweaked by hearing so many clichés about what an abundant universe it is. The reason I react so strongly is because I, too, have been a lifelong fan of plenty and devotee of abundance, often avoiding sensibility and balance.

I’ve given more than I thought I should, even when I literally haven’t had it to give. I’ve done it because giving feels good and because it is simply fun to partake in the idea of a plenty-party.

For many years I’ve believed that a “good” world is an abundant world, and that the experience of “less” or “not enough” was proof that something was very wrong. This is what conjured up the worst possible thought from deep in my shadow: might I have scarcity issues?

“Issues” are bad enough to have. But scarcity issues?

They stir something deep from the bowels of the unconscious: how could a person endeavoring to be spiritually conscious dare believe that there isn’t continual access to more? Or that “the universe” is not made up of the stuff of cosmic plenty?

Scarcity doesn’t fit in a “good” world. It has unfolded famine in civilizations and provoked, in the very least of circumstances, a nasty fight between siblings for one single piece of apple pie.

I want to liberate scarcity out from the grip of a tightly held taboo in the circles of well-intentioned consciousness seekers—which means, really, that I want to free it for myself.

I want to own my experience of scarcity as grace, not hush it like a scourge, or ignore it by continuing to manage my financial life like a pack mule blindfolded to avoid the nervousness of seeing just how close she is to the steep curve of the drop-off as she ascends the mountaintop.

I want to elevate scarcity issues to the great heights of consciousness and stake a flag in new territory: I want to acknowledge that scarcity is precious, not something to be embarrassed by, or ashamed of, but followed, when it reveals itself, as wisdom.

When something is precious, we hold the little there is of it tenderly, carefully, gently.

We hold something scarce as vulnerable, valuable, to be nourished like the tiny young plants that emerge out of broken springtime seeds. When something is scarce it is light. Very light. It is in the stages of either disappearing or reappearing, and often we don’t know which. It doesn’t need to incite scurry, competition, fear of loss, or a hurry to produce more. It just needs to be held.

Scarcity slows us down if we allow it. It quiets us, to appreciate our crucial and mutual role, to hold gently or firmly onto the resource we have as it either grows toward flower or fruit, or passes through our fingers into nothingness. For if it falls away, then something will eventually emerge again in its place.

The truth is that scarcity is very necessary to the cycle inside us and around us. It is in the seasons and the rise and the fall of the day. It is in the very breath we breathe. It is the stuff of contraction as well as expansion, black holes as well as big bangs.

I want to teach my children that the mother does indeed provide for all, but not by rejecting what she puts on our plate, but by appreciating everything she offers, in whatever quantity. I want to take off the blindfold and be the wide-eyed mule, one courageous enough to put one foot in front of the other at the edge of the cliff, inspired rather than frightened by the scenery I see.

So I proudly out myself to declare: Yes, I have scarcity issues.

And I will listen to what scarcity teaches as I turn with grace around this precious wheel of life, certain that there will be something even greater than apple pie for me and for all the children if all falls away.

Something, undoubtedly, to be grateful for…..maybe even plenty.



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Apprentice Editor: Kathryn Muyskens / Editor: Renée Picard

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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