Abundance versus Scarcity

The last month of my professional, community and personal life has felt downright bursting. Abundant. Overflowing. Exhaustingly full.

I have tended towards moments of feeling like I just don’t have enough time or resources for all of it. That I will never be able to fit in all of the growth, the newness. Of course, all of this is transitory and impermanent, particularly because anything new eventually becomes, well, familiar.

Take, for instance, the latest news that I will be joining the UW Bothell faculty next year as a Project for Interdisciplinary Pedagogy Fellow, meaning I get to teach my own class each quarter. This news feels huge, expansive, validating, and also daunting. I immediately bottled it up and held the stress of anticipation in my back and shoulders.

Or that I just began the interview phase for my dissertation research – the first part where it all “feels real”, and I am also confounded with a supreme feeling of lack of time to process what is happening and to get my head around the project. I only have one shot for an interview with many individuals, and I don’t want to, well, blow it. Imposter syndrome is rearing its head here.

Or the news that I was awarded funding from The Pollination Project for a new project called The Justice Lab – a pilot for a year long salon series for critical thinking and dialogue. I wish I could make this my full time job right now, because it feels so nourishing and true to my talents and skills. I am feeling a scarcity of resources to devote to this.

Or, of the great satisfaction of finishing up the Economic Justice Giving Project with Social Justice Fund NW, in which we raised over $106,000, and gave out 10 grants of $9,600 to economic justice organizing groups across the Northwest. With 45 individual donors, I had the most widespread network. At times, this felt completely overwhelming – the hours spent on email, on the phone, keeping track of asks and gifts and thank you notes…

Undergirding all of this has been the joy and exploration of a new and budding relationship, full of new scenarios and opportunities for growth. Plus, continued health and wellness attention through acupuncture and hypnosis, and starting to gain more awareness around the different ‘parts’ of my self that compete for attention and decision making power.

It has been easy to feel overwhelmed by it all. Scarce. Depleted.

But I’ve been trying to switch gears and adopt an abundance framework instead of a scarcity mentality.
An abundance framework reminds me of me many tools with which to navigate a new relationship, the expansiveness of time, and the abundant capacity to love. It reminds me that the injuries I face are just temporary, and part of a longer journey towards wellness. It helps me reframe the ‘parts’ that have often held me back as all part of a larger self who is learning to coalesce as a discerning, authentic, driven and open change-maker in the world.

Professionally, abundance means that there’s no rush for all of the projects. It means that hours spent fundraising were not about lost time doing other things, but about the time invested in relationships and in activism. The feeling of limited time for interviews or reflection lends itself more for gratitude for how many interviews I’ve been able to secure already, and to the open ended nature of my research. It means that rather than stuck in a land of imposter syndrome, that I am standing on the steps of a new chapter of my life, new skills, and that the only direction I can go is up (even if it means skipping, walking laterally, or tripping and falling on my face a few times).

There is no rush. The projects will come in time, the love will grow, the friends will be there… unless, that is, they won’t. And that is ok, too. Abundance means that if we lose the things we take for granted and assume have permanence, that we will be ok. There will be a vast abundance of other experiences, people, resilience, opportunities to surround our worlds.


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