The title of Week 6 is "Recovering a Sense of Abundance". Like the preceding chapters, this one is a combination of thought-provoking text and tasks/exercises.
The writer deals with the beliefs we have about abundance, and recommends certain activities, to address these beliefs and to start expelling the unhealthy ones that serve only to keep us stuck. She encourages the reader to introduce certain practices into her life, to shift her relationship with the concept of abundance. I like the fact that the practices are accessible, and not outlandish. I think that's a large part of the book's appeal. You feel comfortable tackling the tasks, and, if you're like me, you believe that you will experience some kind of shift in your life.
I have to add something, here: there's a lot in this book that is not new to me, as many of the topics feature in other literature on personal development. Having done the Mind Power course in 2003, worked with two life coaches, read a lot of books and articles, and listened to many motivational talks, live and online, a lot of this rhetoric is familiar. But you know what? We may permanently assimilate some of the teachings we're exposed to, but it's normal to run out of steam, and to need reminding of others. One of the things I like about this type of thing is that I can never have too many reminders. And I like encountering the same concepts in the words of a new author/speaker.
I've noticed that I realise how much I've changed, only when confronted with either a person or a situation I've dealt with in the past. Sometimes I actually get verbal feedback about how different I am, but most of the time I'm just acutely aware it. One's life experiences also change one. I'm less gullible, less idealistic (in some ways), but unfortunately also a lot less trusting.
One of the many ways in which I've changed is I'm a lot less likely to put myself down in my speech. I often used to say, "With my kind of luck", followed by a negative outcome. I don't say those kinds of things anymore. I don't say self-deprecating things about my body, anymore. If I'm not happy with my body, I do something about it. I have no intention of adding to the negative feedback about my looks that I've received from various parties, throughout my life. I reject that shit. It's abusive, and it serves to keep women subjugated, believing they're not good enough. Affirmations played - and still do - a huge role in that shift in me. Fourteen years later, I still do the Mind Power exercises - they work for me. They include affirmations, acknowledgement, contemplation and visualisation. There's also a technique of catching yourself in a negative thought and replacing the thought with a new one. You can train yourself to stop self-sabotaging. Another change I consciously made in my life, fourteen years ago, was to try hard not to get sucked into gossip - to me there are more beautiful things to talk about, and more interesting ways to spend time. I physically remove myself, when there's gossip. I've smallened (one of my made-up words) my circle of friends because of this.
To supplement my reading of Chapter 6, I listened to a talk by the dynamic Lisa Nichols, on Abundance, and what she said struck me: ''Wealth is about money and possessions, but abundance is a 360 experience.'' And she talks about the many people she knows who have the former but not the later. I've seen this for myself. I don't know why, but we make the mistake of thinking that the people who earn more money, drive fancy cars and wear expensive clothes have somehow got it all sorted, they've ''arrived'', they're on a higher level of awareness. Nope! They just have more money. Plus all the things that money can buy. There are many, many wise people around, earning minimum wages, because they could not complete their schooling, or because they never had the opportunities in life that others did. They just have less money. Plus all the hardship and pain that come with it.
See what happens when you read Chapter Six?
I need Chapter 6. Like so many people, I was raised with statements like, "Money is the source of all evil'', and even though you're not aware of it, you grow up incorporating that into your belief system. Lisa Nichols says there are three things we need to learn about money: ''How to earn it, How to keep it, and How to grow it''. I had to learn, over many years, that debt per se was not evil, because you could have No debt, Good debt or Bad debt. I never learnt those things, as a child. But I'm consciously teaching them to my children. And the best way to teach our children anything is to live the behavior. Children don't learn from what we say - they learn from what we do.
I need to end this post, so let me do so with a quiz from Chapter 6 of ''The Artist's Way'' that helps you find out about your own beliefs about money:
For the record, the issue of abundance, as acknowledged by Julia Cameron, is about so much more than money, but money is an area of abundance that many people struggle with. This chapter really helps one reflect and question one's own assumptions and blockages.
I've long believed that this journey of life is wonderful, and I will drink every drop if it while I have it. I'm consciously allowing life to smooth out my rough edges and to sharpen my blunt instincts.