Why the Word “Abundance” Drives Me Insane

If you’re like me and hang out in the personal development and spiritual worlds, you likely hear the word “abundance” thrown around about 17,000,000 times a day. It has become one of the most overused and irritating words that ever hits my eyes and ears, and I want it to stop. This is Reason #1 for my insanity. It’s like the pop song that everyone loves until the radio stations completely ruin it for you by putting them on heavy rotation until you cannot bear to hear it one more time. (That was a run-on sentence for effect. You get the analogy.)

Reason #2: IT IS COMPLETELY NON-SPECIFIC. Do you want an abundance of ants in your kitchen? What about an abundance of fat cells on your thighs? Or how about an abundance of medical bills? If you are “spiritual” and prefer the word “abundance” because you still hold onto the ridiculous notion that MONEY is the “name that shall not be named,” then you are creating active resistance to the very thing you are trying to create, which is MONEY, WEALTH, FINANCIAL FREEDOM. If you resist something, it makes it really hard to bring it into your life. Call a spade a spade. Call money, money.

Now, if you’re savvy (and I know you are), then you are thinking, “but wait, isn’t Amy creating resistance to the word abundance by allowing it to drive her insane?” Great point! I don’t think so, but one never really knows. I try to use it as a little bell ringing in my consciousness to remember what kind of abundance I’m considering. Is it love? Good relationships? Wealth? I  hone in on what the conversation is about and that alleviates my resistance to the word. At least, that’s what I tell myself.

To further confuse you, I’ll leave you with this wonderful mantra that I stole from Tony Robbins and say multiple times a day: “God’s wealth circulates in my life. It flows to me in avalanches of abundance. All of my needs, desires, and goals are met instantaneously, for I am one with God and God is everything.” His glorious use of the words “wealth” and “abundance” is both specific and non-specific at the same time. Assuming that all of your needs, desires, and goals are being met instantaneously accounts for the true nature of abundance, and that includes money, love, health, and material goods. It’s like an umbrella insurance policy. Nice.

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Allow me to school you (a customer service rant)

I wrote the following email and carbon-copied every relevant person up the chain, including the Executive Director. But that quiet little voice, the one that whispers, “Don’t send that….” got the better of me. So instead, I am publishing it here for the world to see so that people don’t get defensive and angry or lose their jobs. Still, it was too good not to share with you, my devoted fans.

Dear [Rude Customer Service Person],

Thank you for your timely response. I have asked my child’s provider to give the chart note/medical record and will submit it as soon as I receive it.

Since [Anonymous] is a Christian-based organization, I expect the customer service to be greater than the average company. I have always said, if customer service representatives only used the Golden Rule of Jesus to guide their transactions, the world would be a much happier and healthier place.

For instance, I expressed frustration over thinking I had provided what was asked for and necessary. The proper (and Christian) response would be to acknowledge that and to apologize that the process had created that response. Just a little compassion and acknowledgement goes a long way to build customer satisfaction. Wouldn’t you want to be treated that way?

Finally, all professional and courteous correspondence should always have what is called a Complimentary Close. You certainly started off friendly (“Good morning, Amy”) but it did not continue nor end that way. If you look back at my original email to you, even I, the customer, included one to show courtesy and respect. Here is a definition:

The Complimentary Close

The complimentary close is a short and polite remark that ends your letter. The close begins at the same justification as your date and one line after the last body paragraph. Capitalize the first word of your closing (Thank you) and leave four lines for a signature between the close and the sender’s name. A comma should follow the closing.

You could also consider this advice that I found on an elementary school website:

Writing a Friendly or Personal Letter
A friendly or personal letter has 5 main parts.
Friendly Letter

HEADING: Includes the address and the date. In some cases, it is OK to just write the date.

GREETING: The greeting usually starts with ‘Dear’ and is followed the person’s name and then a comma.

BODY: After skipping a line, you begin the body of your letter which is the main text of your letter. Indent for each new paragraph.

CLOSING: The closing includes a short capitalized expression such as ‘Sincerely’ or ‘Love’ and is followed by a comma. Skip a line after the body before writing your closing.

SIGNATURE: You sign your name beginning directly below the closing.

Sometimes you may add a POSTSCRIPT at the end of your letter. You write P.S., add a note and then end it with your initials.

Some say the devil is in the details; others say that God is in the details. I guess it depends on how the details are played out.

Sincerely,

 

Amy Allen

P.S. I just realized that you may not know what the Golden Rule is! It is: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Matt. 7:12)

 

 

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United States of Wacky: 8th Grade, Shakespeare, and Trump

My daughter isn’t loud. She isn’t obnoxious. This works against her in sports and works for her with people who are astute enough to know that quieter people often have much more to add to a conversation than the louder ones. When she speaks, she has a well-thought out opinion that never ceases to impress adults. Almost every teacher she had in middle school would write comments that would say something like, “A quieter girl by nature, she has been more content to observe rather than participate in most of our class discussions, but to her credit, she has responded well when called upon.”  They never directly expressed her nature as a negative, per se, but certainly hinted in that direction. This has annoyed me to no end and has made me see that even thoughtful, intelligent educators are seduced by the noise of the squeaky wheels in a group. Introverts are just not valued enough in our culture.

 

All of the 8th graders in her school were put into groups and had an assignment to create a short film based on scenes from Romeo and Juliet. These would be considered and nominated for different categories for the 8th grade Oscars. My daughter’s group created a thoughtful, multi-dimensional film that had beautiful cinematography, an inspired musical score, and great acting. The editing was top-notch and they filmed at several different locations all over town.

 

Guess how many nominations they received? You got it: ZERO. They lost out to kids filming with an iPhone in one bedroom, and boys dressed in crazy, irrelevant costumes, and other wacky crap. And I mean WACKY. And I mean CRAP.

 

I know what you’re thinking: I’m her mother; I am biased. But I can’t tell you how many of her colleagues approached her and her group at the Oscars to say they should have swept all the categories.

 

These girls weren’t wallflowers, and they approached their teacher about being looked over. He said he had fought for them, and that their film was “solid.”

 

My response: “They clearly didn’t want solid. They wanted WACKY.”

 

Our culture loves wacky. We value the loud and crazy and the obnoxious. Reality shows couldn’t survive without the obligatory wacky people causing “drama.” Oh, and have you noticed who rose to the top of the Republican Party recently?! The loudest, wackiest person of all of the candidates! And he won by a landslide! Quieter, more thoughtful people who actually had sensible plans for our country were pushed to the side of the stage, given little opportunity to speak, and basically were hardly even noticed by the press and by the people. Valuing the wacky, which is pervasive in our popular culture, now has the possibility to infiltrate the White House. Just like the crappy 8th grade movies, our national obsession with putting the squeaky wheel on a pedestal shows exactly what we value—that which has no inherent value, but is only a “resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”

Moral of the story? The next time you are in a board room or a book group or a pub with friends, please go out of your way to make space for the quiet person in the group to have their say. Wait until all the loud clanging gongs have jockeyed for position, and make the opening. You are sure to be delighted.

 

 

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Your Mind is an Asshole

OK, it’s not totally an asshole, but it’s mostly an asshole. And sorry for the language, but if you think of a person you know (either in your life or a character on TV) whom you would describe as an asshole, you have a pretty good picture of what is happening in your head the majority of the time. That is, unless you have an Eckhart Tolle-sense of presence and awareness. So there IS hope, but let’s start where most of us tend to hang out: the negative, limiting, fear-mongering place of the subconscious mind.

And actually, let’s not call it the subconscious mind. Let’s call it the pre-programmed mind. Because it comes downloaded with the thoughts and feelings of your parents, who carried in their genes the thoughts and feelings of their parents (and so on and so on). It also seems to hang on to every unfiltered and ill-formed conclusion that your very young self formulated before the age of seven. Guess how that manifests itself in your life as a smart and capable adult? Self-sabotage, depression, fear, addiction….because the pre-programmed mind is constantly running the conclusions that “I must not be lovable” or “There’s not enough to go around” or “I’m not good enough” despite mountains of evidence that you may have to the contrary. So imagine your favorite asshole character standing behind you all the time, saying, “You’re not good enough. You don’t deserve this. Why even try? You know you’ll fail.” It would be outrageous, right? Yet, we allow these types of tapes to run on an infinity loop in our psyches. We let the negative programs run on our psyche’s hard drive because they came as a factory installation.

Did you notice that I said, “we allow” and “we let”? That is inherently beautiful news. You are in charge of your mental computer when you choose to be. It begins with a decision, an intention, to meet this negativity where it is and to consciously let it go. And don’t let your mind tell you that you don’t know how to let it go. You just have to be willing to acknowledge the negative thought and ask it to leave. You can do things like imagine that it is moving out as you breathe out if that helps. But the essence is that you are deleting the files as they present themselves. It is the opposite of creating resistance to it by trying to fight it with willpower. This is using your Free Will in the way it was designed: you make a choice and that’s that. Your mind will want to say that you can’t just choose to be happy and free, but that’s just its asshole self talking.

The next time you feel down or angry or frustrated, pause and check into what you’re believing in that moment. If what you’re believing is making you miserable, then make a decision to let it go and to be happy despite all of that and see what happens. It’s all a big story anyway.

The truth is this: YOU REALLY CAN BE HAPPY despite what other people do, despite your bank account, and despite all of the woes of the world. It’s a choice. It takes some practice and it takes some awareness, but it is possible. And you don’t even have to be Eckhart Tolle after all.

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Why We Need to Send Kim Davis Love and Compassion

I am writing this as a reminder to myself as much as anything. The mere sight of Kim Davis on the news or Facebook has been bringing up inside of me a knee-jerk reaction of hatred, disapproval, and disgust. However, I am well aware of how energy works, and I know that all that reaction is doing is actually strengthening her pain body and the field of hatred and ignorance that she is plugged into currently. Also, she is an easy target just based on her looks, her lifestyle, and her blatant hypocrisy and misunderstanding of anything that Jesus taught.

If you are fortunate enough not to be racist or hate gay people or basically engage in any rejection of any group that is not like yourself, you most likely owe that to having loving and supportive parents, a good education, supportive teachers and coaches, good friends, and good opportunities. Think about it. How many villains in society had these things growing up? Not many educated and nurtured people spend their time plotting to hurt other people. They focus on being productive, loving their children, and trying to be happy and satisfied.

What is a common denominator of all the people who lash out to society by doing things like, say, shooting a bunch of innocent children who are sitting in a classroom? They are always reported to be “loners” or “rejects.” They are not in a situation in which they feel loved and nurtured. They are not successful in their lives. They are frustrated, misled by their own warped thinking about how life is and how they are victimized from the world “out there.”

I can only assume that Kim Davis suffers the same frustrations in her life. And that she will continue to suffer much more (George Zimmerman’s life comes to mind). At the end of the day, everything comes back to us full circle and multiplied. Do you notice how badly your body feels when you hate her? It feels tight and constricted, right? It is uncomfortable. That is because our true nature is love. And when we hate her who hates those of whom she does not approve, we are allowing her to bring us down to a very low vibrational level. This low level feels so yucky, like walking into a smoky, seedy, smelly bar in the worst part of town.

Somewhere, underneath all the layers of distortion, is a spark of God inside of Kim Davis. It’s in all of us, and she is no exception. While it may be well hidden, we must, as spiritual seekers and people who don’t want to add to the pain body and the suffering, try to find a way to have compassion for her. Because had we grown up as she did, indoctrinated with insane ideas, and given very little opportunity in our lives, we may have turned out just like her.

The energy of love and compassion is the only thing that will neutralize this and all abominable situations. It’s so hard to do, until it isn’t.

But don’t think I won’t smile when she is fired or goes back to jail. Justice is justice.

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Panicked and shut down completely?!?! NOW WE ARE GETTING SOMEWHERE.

(An unexpected guiding principle for making your dreams come true) 

Recently, a single friend of mine took on a new client with whom she had a lot of chemistry. On paper and in person, this guy would pretty much be her dream mate. Since the relationship is professional in nature, when he looked into her eyes and she recognized her beloved, she did what any of us would do: panic, shut down, and run away.

When she emailed me about this, my response surprised her: “Panicked and shut down completely?!?! NOW WE ARE GETTING SOMEWHERE.” Yet, it also resonated as true even if she couldn’t completely articulate why.

Let me explain.

As most of us know from experience, when you are single and wanting to be in a committed relationship, you most likely try your hardest and put yourself out there and date a lot of people. Some people are total “NOs” and some we talk ourselves into as being acceptable, even if we don’t swoon or get that unexplainable “this is going to be the love of my life” feeling. So we have a definite “no” response and a “sort of yes” response to different possibilities.

However, when we have a YES, YES response, another part of our being that pops in and says, HELL NO! (One of my teachers, Brian Whetten, wrote a book called Yes Yes Hell No: The Little Book for Making Big Decisions about the subject. You can get the book here.) It’s like we are standing on the edge of a cliff, looking down at everything we thought we ever wanted, and the inner gatekeepers come out and say, “Danger! Don’t do it! It’s a scary, unknown place, and we all know that we can’t have everything we want!”

According to Whetten: “Whenever you hear the voice of fear, it’s telling you one of two things. Either it’s warning you about a real and present danger, or it’s alerting you to an opportunity for growth and change. It’s letting you know that something just registered on an inner sensor, and your life is at risk of getting either better or worse. The problem is, the voice of fear can’t tell which is which…… In the absence of a real and present danger, the voice of fear is an almost perfect indicator of which direction to go –as long as you go the other way.” (Excerpt from Chapter 4)

 

So this is why my surprising reaction to my friend, who was beating herself up for having panicked and shut down, was so healing. She was able to see that she was very, very close to her most cherished dream possibly coming true. Instead of the half-truths of “maybe I could make this guy work” or “this one seems nice and like a good guy,” she can see that even if this one turns out not to be the one, she now knows what her dream looks like in reality.

So the next time you find yourself panicking and shutting down, whether it’s starting a new business, taking an African dance class, or having drinks with your dream partner, take a deep breath and smile. If there’s no saber tooth tiger around, your fear is your greatest ally pointing you exactly where to go.

 

 

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The Remedy for Debbie Downer

I know a woman who rarely smiles. When I first encountered her and this dynamic, I felt an existential terror that took me by surprise. Her affect reminded me of trying to get a British royal guard to make eye contact or laugh…it ain’t happening. It seems that most people (except those who have severe blocks to picking up on social cues) naturally mirror each other in conversation, both in energy level, tone, and affect, which builds relationship and understanding. It’s Building Rapport 101, frankly, to do so and is employed by teachers, salespeople, and therapists. Mirroring is one of the building blocks of Neuro-Linguinstic Programming (NLP). Think of how we are naturally quiet and reserved at a funeral, because coming in cracking loud jokes doesn’t match the occasion, right?

OK, back to my terror. Naturally, my first conclusion was that her lack of joy was somehow my fault, and this evoked a desire to rescue her. I mean, why not? I have enthusiasm and joy to spare, and she is a victim of not having any. In the moment, I was too caught up in my role to recognize how I was participating in the classic drama triangle of persecutor, victim, and rescuer.

Whenever we take a position against someone or something else, it sets up an energetic tug of war. And for those of us who ever played this in our youth, we can remember what that feels like: struggle, strife, and using your will to keep your position. The remedy is quite simple.

You drop your end of the rope.

This played out beautifully at a fancy luncheon I attended recently. When this woman sat next to me, I felt myself internally picking up my end of the rope. I began to strategize on how I could engage her, try to make her smile, try to gift her with my enthusiasm. Then suddenly, an internal piece of guidance came into my awareness from the depths of my wisdom. It simply said, “You don’t have to rescue her. It’s not your job.” In that moment, I felt a deep sense of calm and relief. I completely let go of the rope; I relaxed and let her be her and let me be me. I did not match her affect or energy. I was bubbly and engaging with the rest of the crowd and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

As a sticky note that I once kept in my drawer at work said, “It’s not about you.”  I highly recommend remembering this little golden nugget if you find yourself in the same situation. What is about you is how you respond to people who want to bring you into the drama triangle. The magical part is, when you quit polarizing, they are left standing with their “stuff.” And more times than I can count, they are liberated as much as you are.

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