Scarcity abounds in our world today, or in other words, scarcity is abundant! Just look around and notice the scarcity fears that permeate the stories and experiences of our world. Scarcity has always loomed large in our human experience, but are we dancing in its extreme? Are you?
The news tells us about the refugee crisis, stagnant economies, terrorism, war, disease, indebtedness, and the increasing divide between rich and poor. We continue to exploit the finite resources of our planet; devastating the natural wonders, animals, air, water, trees, and oceans that sustain us and keep us alive. There is a scarcity of money, health, security and time. Turning off the news, does not change this, although you might feel a little better for a time not knowing about it!
There is another perspective that says we have never lived in a time that is so abundant! Just look at explosion of goods and services that the Industrial and Information Ages have given us. With computers and the internet, we can have real-time chats and video communication with anyone in the world. We can travel like never before and experience the wonders of the whole planet. When in our history have we seen so much invention and creativity? There is an explosion of data, information, education, "tweets", "likes", opinions and the opportunity for exciting, diverse experiences that can be shared in the click of a button. Surely this is abundance, not scarcity!
But let's go even deeper. There is also the story and experience of scarcity(or abundance) in qualities such as connection, trust, love, presence, caring, wealth, true security, forgiveness, happiness, fulfillment, freedom and joy. Many people are attempting to satisfy these inner values by "stuffing" their lives with "stuff." In the end, they can never be satisfied because these qualities can ultimately only be satisfied from within. These are qualities that money cannot buy at any price, but are infinitely abundant if we know where to look. And yes these qualities for some are also abundant and expanding. We are living in an age of abundant consciousness!
Scarcity and abundance are two sides of the same coin. They are shadows of each other. If you hold onto either the story of scarcity or the story of abundance while rejecting or disowning the other, you are lost in the shadows and you are separate from the truth. The coin cannot be separated into either/or, because they exist in one continuum, not as separate things. Your freedom is in equilibrating the two rather than dwelling in the polarity of one or the other. If you reject one side, (consciously or unconsciously) you create separation and can never fully experience the gifts and capacities of what each side of the coin can give you.
To illustrate this, let me share with you my exploration and experience on scarcity this past week:
My exploration started with a question about why so many people(including me) were experiencing a lack of money. This question eventually led me into feeling and holding a portion of the collective fear of scarcity in the world right now - all the things I mentioned above. My shoulders and arms felt heavy and tense. The emotions of sadness and grief were just below the surface as I began to process this fear within me. The same day that I was feeling this intense energy, I hosted a "healing circle" and others that came were also feeling this energy of scarcity. The energy was "active" and "ripe" to process and release.
When working with "shadow", instead of trying to 'get rid it', you turn towards it, embrace it and own it. It is the opposite of what we are accustomed to doing. Many practices would tell you to "think abundance" and move away from thoughts of scarcity as the path to your freedom. This does not work, or only works on a temporary basis, because it is still rooted in separation and your true freedom lies in your wholeness. In shadow integration work, you move toward it, feel it fully, let go of all opposition to it and receive the gifts and capacities that shadow has for you.
So, in my usual way, I created a 'sacred space' where I could dive into this energy of scarcity and receive the wisdom and gifts that I knew must be there.
What 'good' or gift could possibly come out of embracing scarcity? At first I couldn't see it. The first step though was not to claim gifts that I could not yet understand, but instead to fully feel the feelings without holding back. In my usual open way, I felt the fear, anger, and grief that I had been holding around scarcity and "not enough". The release was huge as I went back into my childhood, and the depths of human experience to explore, process and forgive the energy of scarcity while asking it to reveal its gifts.
Shadow, when asked, will always tell you the truth, though it may be disguised. When I embraced scarcity, it gave me two powerful capacities: Cherish and Charity. I giggled with delight!
Although our planet is expansive, its resources are still finite. We only live a certain amount of time and we never know when this life will end. Relationships come and go. In this physical experience or container we call life, there are limitations and this can morph into a belief and fear of scarcity.
Scarcity in its fear form limits us even more and keeps us from full abundance. If we hold on too tightly because we fear something is scarce, we miss the precious opportunity of giving what we have to another who may need it more. In fear, we restrict our charity because we don't trust that we will get equal value back when we ourselves are in need. The natural cycle and flow of giving and receiving gets broken and life does not feel abundant.
Scarcity is born in separation. When we embrace and love the energy of scarcity, it reveals to us how precious life is. We learn to cherish each moment as if it was our last and in each moment we live a lifetime. Fear is about the future and distracts us from what is now. Now, we have choices. We can choose to be happy, still, caring, joyful, abundant, and fulfilled. Now is where we can give and receive of the gifts and talents of one another. Now is where we can form and cherish genuine connection and love with ourselves and each other.
I invite you to let go of any fears you have around scarcity and embrace this powerful energy. In doing so, you will receive the gift of genuine charity and cherish your dance with life. Who knows, you might be surprised what other gifts this shadow has for you.
Richard Schultz assists leaders in unlocking their true potential, authentic power and inner wisdom to create extraordinary, high impact lives. Courses, life mentoring and dialogue with Richard can help you live your legacy and build capacity to thrive with change!