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Fragments and Shrapnel: Abundance

Years ago when the economy tanked and newspapers and online news sources were shouting strum und drang and the end was surely near, I started carrying an abundance journal. Much like everyone else at the time, my husband and I were struggling to stay afloat and while we tried to figure out how to pay our bills and eat at the same time. It was easy for me to look at my empty checking account and think of how bad things were, but having been down that spiral before, I choose to look at what I did have.

Now that Thanksgiving is over and the Christmas frenzy is in full swing, the stress of the holidays has begun. We look at the balances in our checking accounts and wonder how the heck we’re going to pay for presents. Everyone bemoans the commercialism of the holidays but still continue with the tradition of scraping by and going into debt buying presents. Sure there are cheap and easy gifts you can give, and I found that out when I learned how to knit. But this blog post is not about cheap and easy holiday gifts, it’s about creating abundance.

I carried the abundance journal with me and would jot down ideas or things I encountered throughout the day that made me feel abundant. My list ranged from simple things like admiring the nice houses in my neighborhood, to the bulk food section at the grocery store, to the produce aisle filled with inexpensive fruits and vegetables. Hell, even the simple act of composting our food made me feel abundant. Of course the occasional Trader Joe’s gift card from my in-laws would land in our mailbox and that would make me feel abundant, too. (Note to in-laws: This is not a hint… just an example)

The simple act of recognizing what WAS abundant in my life instead of what wasn’t helped change my perspective and create more abundance. It’s one of those easy and yet hard lessons I needed to remind myself that everything isn’t ALL bad when life is feeling like a grey Pacific Northwest day.

Recently, I decided to invest in another abundance journal when the onslaught of holiday gift giving advice and ůber sales at the local box store began their seasonal swarm. Sure, I could ignore it and write my manifesto about consumerism, but that display in the Macy’s window in downtown Portland sure looks inviting along with the $200 sweater.

Some of the items on my list include:

  • The holiday tree and all of its energy-saving lights in downtown Portland
  • Passing by full restaurants and watching people laugh and enjoy themselves
  • Watching the leaves on the trees change from green to red to yellow.

Simple things like the changing and the swollen Columbia River after a heavy rainfall made me feel like I have something when all the holiday advertising is telling me otherwise. Last week I while I walked to work, I picked up a gorgeous yellow and red leaf and gave it to a co-worker. I told her it was a lucky leaf which meant she would have a good day. She was most appreciative and it made me feel good.

So, as the weather gets colder and the lines everywhere get longer and people crankier, what makes YOU feel abundant? What alternatives are there to the $200 sweater to feel abundant?


About Anna Alexander

I get ideas. I write things. I sometimes follow through with those ideas. I also run long distances and live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband cat who lets us pay the mortgage on his house.

One response »

  1. I was walking down a wooded trail the other day with snow on the trees and the mountains all around. I looked up at the blue sky and said “man, am I grateful.” It was beautiful, quiet, majestic and FREE.


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