Inspired by the Idea of Sufficiency

Nature provides ample evidence of abundance. Consider the lilies of the field..

My church St John’s Lutheran is helping to bring Lynne Twist, author of the Soul of Money to Sacramento on October 5. I attended a dinner and musical evening to raise the funds for her fee. It piqued my interest in her book. I may have read it before a few years ago but it resonated in a much deeper way this time. Sometimes the timing is finally right to think about a subject more deeply. I am at a bit of a crossroads as to the ways I am earning a living. I was ready to be inspired by the idea of sufficiency.

I am all too familiar with the idea of scarcity. Our western economy depends on the idea that we live in a zero-sum game where only the most competitive win. “This mantra of not enough carries the day and becomes a kind of default setting for our thinking about everything, from the cash in our project to the people we love or the value of our own lives.”

“In the mind-set of scarcity, our relationship with money is an expression of fear; a fear that drives us in an endless and unfulfilling chase for more, or into compromises that promise a way out of the chase or discomfort around money.”

“Scarcity is a lie. Independent of any actual amount of resources. It is an unexamined and false system of assumptions, opinions, and beliefs from which we view the world as a place where we are in constant danger of having our needs unmet.”

I have been caught up in these 3 toxic myths: 1) There’s not enough. 2) More is better. 3) That’s just the way it is. It is exhausting. I have had glimpses my whole life of another way but I have not been able to completely embrace it. I did not have a vocabulary for the other way. The way of sufficiency.

“Sufficiency isn’t an amount at all. It is an experience, a context we generate, a declaration, a knowing that there is enough, and that we are enough… When we live in the context of sufficiency, we find a natural freedom and integrity. We engage in life from a sense of our own wholeness rather than a desperate longing to be complete.”

“I suggest that if you are willing to let go, let go of the chase to acquire or accumulate always more and let go of that way of perceiving the world, then you can take all that energy and attention and invest it in what you have. When you do that you will find unimagined treasures, and wealth of surprising and even stunning depth and diversity.”

Enough is a place you can arrive at and dwell in.”IMG_0561

“True abundance does exist; it flows from sufficiency, in an experience of the beauty and wholeness of what is. Abundance is a fact of nature. It is a fundamental law of nature, that there is enough and it is finite. Its finiteness is no threat; it creates a more accurate relationship that commands respect, reverence, and managing those resources with the knowledge that they are precious and in ways that do the most good for the most people.”

The book is long on concept and short on practical steps. I look forward to attending the Impact Foundry’s conference on October 5 to learn more.

“When your attention is on what’s lacking and scarce–in our life, in your work, in your family, in your town–then that becomes what you’re about. That’s the song you sing, the vision you generate. You engage in lack and longing and what’s missing, and you call others to that same experience. If your attention is on the problems and breakdowns with money, or scarcity thinking that says there isn’t enough, more is better or that’s just the way it is, then that is where your consciousness resides. Those thoughts and fears grow from the attention you give them and can take over your life. No matter how much money you have, it won’t be enough. No amount of money will buy you genuine peace of mind. You expand the presence and the power of scarcity and tighten its grip on your world.

“If your attention is on the our capacity you have to sustain yourself and your family, and contribute in a meaningful way to the well-being of others, then your experience of what you have is nourished and it grows. Even in adversity, if you can appreciate your capacity to meet it, learn, and grow from it, then you create value where no one would have imagined it possible. in the light of your appreciation, your experience of prosperity grows.”

CTI Leadership instilled in me a belief in collaboration and cooperation based on the 10 month program experience. “A you-and-me world is full of collaborators, partners, sharing and reciprocity… Respected evolutionary biologist Elisabet Sahtouris notes that Nature fosters collaboration and reciprocity. Competition in Nature exists, she says, but it has limits, and the true law of survival is ultimately cooperation.” This is the reality I know exists and now I want to lean into it more fully.





Pacing Myself Until Election Day

high five
High five photo from

I have felt like the world was off kilter before, but perhaps not as much as in 2016. Reading news articles increasingly feels like there are two alternate realities competing in this election. Of course I am convinced that mine is the realest reality and when I read news stories about the “crazy” things others are saying it is upsetting.

There are two narratives competing and if it wasn’t blatantly obvious before, there was no denying it after the national party conventions. Lots of column inches are being written calling us to choose either a white-dominated isolationist worldview or a more inclusive global view. In fact I counted over a dozen distinct stories on Facebook and Twitter that I could read just this morning alone. The question is how to stay tuned in until November 8 without wearing out.

This morning I read a very helpful op ed in the Los Angeles Times by Christopher Cokinos, “How to stay sane in the time of Trump.” After almost falling off a ladder reacting to another of Trump’s whoppers, he set limits on his consumption of television news. He listens to Miranda Lambert when Trump comes on the radio. The best advice is his 5/5 rule: consume only 5 election stories a day and no news after 5 p.m.

A little while later I finished reading Lynne Twist’s The Soul of Money and she had further helpful advice. After the 1987 stock market crash, she and her husband faced a familiar choice: “We could go into that whole swirl, the swirl that was everywhere we were looking that day, but we looked at each other and made a vow, a little deal, that we wouldn’t do that. We would use the situation with the stock market to as an opportunity to count our blessings and reconnect with the nonmaterial assets that were the foundation and core of our true wealth, our life, and our joy.”

This faith restoring conversation helps us to disconnect from the fear and the anger and reconnect with our true values. As Twist points out, “The conversation we have with ourselves and with others–the thoughts that grip our attention–has enormous power over how we feel, what we experience, and how we see the world in that moment.” Let’s not cede that power to someone else.

There is a profound choice to make this election: what conversation are we going to be a part of? Are we going to feed the conversation of scarcity and us or them? Or shall we be a part of the conversation of enough and them and us? Are we going to press “angry face” to dozens of stories a day on social media, or head out the door to help build a house with Habitat for Humanity or register someone to vote? Are we going to yell at the television or radio, or turn it off and listen to uplifting music that helps us to see that right now, right here, everything is all right.