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What does “abundance” really mean?

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Back when we first started Abundance, we chose its name based on the theory of abundance – the idea that there is enough of everything in this world for all of us, if we are willing to share.  It’s a very optimistic outlook on life and runs counter to the scarcity mentality that tends to run rampant in many spheres of our society and our lives, from our ideas about love and relationships, to the workplace, to the marketplace, to our discussions about how the future might unfold for humans and the rest of life on this planet.

Those wrapped up in a scarcity mentality are concerned that there is only enough for a select few, so we have to fight for what we want and protect what we have.  Those embracing an abundance mentality, on the other hand, see the glass as half full, and filling.  Abundance-minded people are more prone to share what they have, give things away because they know more will come to them when they need them, and see opportunities all around them, instead of perceiving mostly threats.

When faced with some of today’s stark realities – climate change, global unrest and war, corporate control of governments, erosion of personal freedoms, and more, – it’s easy to get tunnel vision and lose sight of all the positive things that are happening in the world.  It’s hard to see the way out when you are panicking or trying to hoard things for an unpredictable future.

But what we really need, in order to tackle the problems of today, is not to focus just on protecting our own self-interests, coming from a fear-based outlook, but instead to keep our eyes and minds open, and to consider how we can pool our talents and resources, work together, brainstorm and come up with the kinds of solutions that can only be borne out of collaboration.  A million heads are better than one.  A rising tide lifts all boats.  Doing what is good for the community is also good for ourselves.  A strong community makes each of us safer and more able to pursue our own goals in life.

Plus, we just enjoy ourselves more, and we get a lot more done, when we have a positive attitude.  Science backs this up.  It’s physically impossible to think creatively when you are mired in fear and selfishness.  That would require a person to use two separate parts of their brain that literally can’t be used at the same time.  (See the books, Positivity, and Positive Intelligence, for more on this.)

We think the best way forward is to stay hopeful, positive, and creative, if we want to actually create a sustainable and vibrant future for our communities, rather than letting ourselves become isolated and afraid, and not even noticing our communities disintegrate around us.

bird-houseAnd once you stop worrying and actually look around, you’ll see there’s a lot to be hopeful about.

The more we choose to look at what is good about where we live, the more opportunities we see around us, and the more that gives us a sense of hope.  We start to realize that we might actually have all the resources, skills and creativity we need to make our community truly amazing. We become open to the possibility that we could, as a community, and as individuals, come out the other side of all this stronger and more resilient than before.

At Abundance NC, we believe strongly in adopting a can-do, do-it-yourself ethic, supporting the development of a strong local economy, incorporating sustainable practices into everything we do, and most of all, we believe in the idea of supporting what is good – the abundant riches of our beautiful home in North Carolina.

At Abundance NC, our goal is to bring people together to shine a light on all the abundant creativity and resources in our community, and to help people connect with one another to brainstorm and innovate ways to create a sustainable future for our communities.  We are all about cultivating and celebrating community resilience – fanning the fires of anything that makes us and the place we live more interconnected and stronger in the face of all sorts of challenges.

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There are several ways to build this resilient community.  One important aspect of this is supporting one another – shopping at each other’s local businesses, buying from farms close to home, hiring our neighbors to do work we need done.

If there is a new farm-to-table restaurant in Durham that buys meat and produce from local farmers, we want everyone to know about that restaurant, so it has a better chance of succeeding and bringing with it those farms.  If someone in Chatham County is interested in trying out using mushrooms to ameliorate oil or coal ash spills, we want to support their effort to make that happen.  If we support what is good, and tell everyone we know about it, the bad will wither and be easier to fight and conquer.

Also important to building resilient community is each of us learning to live more simply on an individual level and becoming more self-sufficient.   We can choose to use less, to reduce, reuse and recycle, to mend what is broken, to learn to do things ourselves, to develop useful skills that make us more individually resilient, including the skill of finding pleasure in simple things.

If we need less, then abundance is more easily found.  We can have everything we need, as long as what we perceive as needs are things like good, healthy food, trustworthy friends, well-made clothing and personal items, a safe home to live in, clean water to drink, and modes of transportation and creating energy that don’t destroy our natural environment.

If we don’t need to have thirty pairs of shoes, or the absolute latest smart phone, or to fly to a different country four times a year, or to own two flat screen TVs and a new car every four years, then maybe we can afford to eat local organic produce, to spend time with our friends and families, and to learn to play the fiddle or spin records or make our own cheese or dance the salsa.

Maybe we’ll have time to ride a bike to work and feel the wind in our hair.  Maybe we’ll have the energy to join a group that’s working to change the world.  Maybe we’ll catch our breath long enough to remember what we are truly passionate about and actually take a step in the direction of our dreams.

The opportunity is there, if we can only see it.  Maybe we really do have everything we need.

That’s what we mean when we say, “abundance.”

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