When I had been living in Korea for about 3 months, I lost my job. I’d moved across the world, made some friends, started to get the hang of teaching, and settled into the city a bit when my principal told me they were closing the school. I could move to another city two hours away, or I could get out of my contract and find a new job and place to live, since the school also provides you with an apartment.
I distinctly remember going to the bathroom and hyperventilating. I was terrified. I was in a relatively brand-new country where I knew approximately 5 people, didn’t speak the language, and was still figuring out how to feed myself properly, let alone navigate the process of paying my bills and sorting out my visa situation, which is also tied to your contract with your school.
And yet. I had chosen the word abundance that year to guide me, even though this was a moment that felt like the exact opposite. It was a moment that felt scary and isolating and panicky. But sitting in that bathroom stall ugly crying, a thought somehow came to me. An abundant thought: I’m going to make this work on my terms. This was nearly three years ago now, but thanks to the magic of technology I actually just found the message that I sent my friend Dylan in that exact moment to prove that this thought came to me, Divine-intervention-style. Sorry about the swearing, mom:
Not all of what I envisioned in that initial set of messages turned out to be true, but I did go to the Philippines, and I did leave at the end of March like I had planned, despite the fact that 9 month contracts were practically unheard of in Korea. I found a new school that I liked far better than my first, where I got to interact with the kids more and do things in my own way. Despite all the fear-mongering from fellow expats that “I’d be lucky” to find another job in the same city, my new school was only a ten minute walk from my old school. I moved to an apartment literally two blocks north of where I’d been living, with bigger windows. I was still walking distance to the friends I’d made and to the beach I loved.
In short: I made it work on my own terms. I got everything I wanted, and then some. In the end, the second situation was so much better than the first.
I’m telling you all of this because I really, deeply believe that the way we think about things matters. What we believe to be possible has the power to shape our perspective, our behaviour, and our outcomes. I don’t have the science to back it up – I can’t tell you statistics or show you graphs to prove this point. I can only say this: I know people who don’t believe abundant things are possible, and abundant things don’t seem to happen to them. I believe in abundance, and I’m regularly bowled over by the beauty of the universe and how many opportunities show up for me.
In case you struggle with these ideas, here are three little things I’ve found to be true when it comes to abundance and manifesting that help me stay positive and optimistic:
1. Give It Time
Gabrielle Bernstein has this beautiful quote that has always stuck with me: “The universe is always working on our behalf, just not always on our time.” Another way I’ve heard her put it is: “The universe has your back, just not always on your schedule.” My belief in abundance does not mean I expect everything to be perfect right now. It doesn’t mean that I think things are going to happen on my idealized timeline, in the exact way that I want them to, or at the precise moment that would be most convenient for me.
It make take way longer than you’d like for exciting opportunities to show up in your life, or things might happen “too fast” or “all at once”, which can also be overwhelming. None of this means that exciting, amazing opportunities aren’t out there waiting for you or about to fall into your lap. It just means that you can’t predict exactly when or how they’ll happen for you.
2. Notice Other Narratives
The truth is, the world is full of bitter, cynical, angry narratives of scarcity and fear: “There aren’t enough jobs to go around. You’re an entitled, stupid millennial if you think you’ll be able to do work you believe in and get paid for it. Good luck finding a nice apartment in this crazy real estate bubble!” We don’t have to look very far to get bombarded with anecdotes that “confirm” these statements: there are people who will practically line up to tell you about all the terrible things that have happened to them or why they can’t have what they really want or why it’s naive/unrealistic/idealistic for you to think or want X, Y or Z.
Which is why it’s so important to actively seek out other stories. Specifically, to surround yourself with the kind of stories that are about beautiful, positive, too-good-to-be-true-but-it’s-true! experiences. The kind of stories that make you think “wow, I didn’t even realize that was an option. I never even knew things could happen that easily, quickly, or effortlessly.” I’m lucky to have a few people in my life who think this way and live their lives from a place of possibility – and they’re always excited to share with me when something amazing flows for them.
If you don’t have those people in your life, find them online or in books. I love Marie Forleo, Mimi Ikonn, Jess Lively and Sarah Von Bargen because they always show me new ways of thinking about the world and remind me of what’s possible.
3. Stay open
In yoga school we learned the phrase “minimum one thousand possibilities.” It’s meant to remind you that in any given situation there are over a thousand ways that something can play out, or over a thousand options you could choose. It’s a helpful idea, because as the author Steve Toltz asks of humans: “Why is free will wasted on a creature who has infinite choices but pretends there are only one or two?”
In every moment we have infinite choices and infinite possibilities available to us. To believe this is to believe in abundance. For me, this means staying open to the idea that the ideal outcome could take many different shapes (minimum 1000 shapes!) and still feel abundant to me. It won’t be perfect (nothing is), and it won’t be exactly as I had envisioned, but it will tick almost all of the boxes and flow in such an effortless way that it feels ‘meant to be’. Or as some manifesters say, “This or something better.”
My current apartment, the business I started this year, the new job opportunities that are coming to me: all of these things don’t look exactly as I’d pictured them, and they all have their quirks. But all of them flowed to me easily and naturally, met or exceeded my expectations, and felt completely abundant.
This is the difference between scarcity and abundance. In scarcity, we think there’s no way to get what we want: it’s too hard, there’s not enough, it’s impossible. With an abundance mindset, we believe that we can get what we want: it can be easy, there’s more than enough, and it’s possible. It might not look exactly the way think it will, and it might not happen right away, but it’s possible.
I absolutely try to live my life from a place of abundance, but I feel like I’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to manifesting, limiting beliefs, and the power of our thinking in shaping our reality. So, if you have resources please share them with me! Do you have tips on believing in abundance and banishing the scarcity mentality? Do you have a manifesting practice or favourite teachers who help you think this way? Please share in the comments below! I’d love to read what you have to say.
PS. If you liked this article, you would probably also like My Favourite Mantras, How to Live More Intentionally, Abundance Ideas, and the post I wrote right after I lost my job in Korea!