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Stop Focusing on Lack to Fully Enjoy Your Experiences

“Not what we have but what we enjoy constitutes our abundance.” ~Epicurus

Yoga retreats in rural getaways nestled in tropical mountain spaces. Exploration trips for pleasure and business on the east and west coasts. Bike riding and people watching on Santa Monica Boulevard.

Recognition and sponsorship from leaders in my professional circle. Adventures with my husband and daughters in Jamaica.

Even with all these rich life experiences, still my focus was always the same: If I could just have more money, my life could finally get good.

The past year found me deep on a journey to discover the muted parts of my life.

Through meditation, exercise, candid conversations, and radical self-expression, I’ve learned so much about myself, the influence my past has had on my present, and the ways in which I’ve been hiding.

Some of these revelations have been stark, not the least of which is the realization that a good chunk of my mutedness is rooted in one five-letter word: money.

For most of us, it’s inarguable that we need money to cover our day-to-day lives. 

Even with my minimalist tendencies, I’m not one to give away the majority of all I own and take a vow of poverty. Truth is, I’m way too attached to shoes, obnoxiously loud colors of nail polish, and unconstructed blazers to fully adopt the less-is-more philosophy.

I can say though, that the more I release from my life (both physically and emotionally), the more access I gain to my Higher Self. 

This access opened my eyes to a finding that has already created significant changes in my relationship with the energy of money. I’ve made it one of my daily life chants:

While you design your best life,

don’t chase the money,

crave the experience.

I’ve always chased money. More specifically, I’ve always viewed my connection with money akin to patches of grass. I’d earn enough to cover a bit of ground, but never enough to cover a respectable-sized lawn. 

There was never enough, and my pattern was to always focus on covering a particular patch of ground, and chase opportunities to one day cover a larger patch. In all of this, I had learned to pretend that the chase was unavoidable, and engaging in it could somehow give me enough joy to overshadow the overall yellow and brown baldness of my lawn.

But I have learned that the chase is not where I can expect to find joy.

Instead, it is in the richness of my experiences, and my commitment to focusing on my needs, not my fears (bald lawns) that I find myself feeling real joy.

I‘ve long peppered the vast majority of my best experiences with “Even though I had no money, I still got to do stuff” seasoning.

It’s as if I wouldn’t (or couldn’t) explore, much less accept the idea that my life was happening in beautiful ways, despite my lack of a boast-worthy net worth.

No matter how incredible the experience, when I thought or talked about it, I’d still frame it by the parameters of my not-enoughness.

My refrains always followed the same pattern: this is so frikking cool, too bad I …

This island is amazing! This is so frikking cool, but too bad I can’t have the zip lining experience because I don’t have any money.

I can’t believe I’m in New York again this year! This is so frikking cool, but too bad I can’t buy nicer souvenirs for my daughters because I don’t have any money.

Wow, I’m speaking at a conference in Los Angeles! This is so frikking cool, but too bad I couldn’t bring Kris and our girls because I don’t have enough money.

I can’t believe they’re all waiting to do a workshop with me—here in Jamaica, nonetheless! This is so frikking cool, but too bad I couldn’t provide them with customized take-home journals because I don’t have any money.

Arghhh! I was stuck in bald-lawn mode, and no matter the richness of my harvest, I was tenacious about re-potting my seeds in “because I don’t have any money” soil.

Thankfully, I learned how to use that tenacity for something that better serves me.

I went inside myself, asked for guidance, and got curious about what life would be like if I simply accepted the experiences as rich in and of themselves, with no added expectations of dollar amounts, better souvenirs, or customized workshop materials.

As always, my Divine Ask led me to an uncomplicated and life-altering realization:

I was having those rich life experiences, in spite of my limiting beliefs. So if I could have those experiences while focusing on lack, imagine what I would accomplish if I focused on the experience?

Money never stopped me. My beliefs were just limiting my capacity to fully appreciate the true richness of my experiences. 

Money doesn’t equal a rich experience. Even with small bank statements, we can find ourselves in places and situations that provide infinite opportunities for joy, if we actively choose not to let them fall through the cracks.

Now, I choose to experience something different, and so can you.

I choose to be wide open to the vast richness of all the experiences I can have in this lifetime. I’m talking all 31,700 square miles of Lake Superior open, and I can already see sprouts of greenness fill those patches on my old lawn.

Can you think of some ways you’ve been hampering the richness of your life experiences? And how can you let go to experience them more fully—and joyfully?

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Profile photo of Akilah S. Richards

About Akilah Richards

Lifestyle coach Akilah S. Richards helps entrepreneurs un-mute their voices at The Life Design Agency. Her forthcoming book, The Execumamas Survival Kit asserts that balance is best reserved for yoga & flamingos, and that finding harmony is the key to work-life fulfillment. Learn more at AkilahSRichards.com.

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  • I wish my mother could have learned this. We lived a great distance apart, so our main contact was by phone. Every conversation began with complaints about the most minute annoyances. It was exhausting to listen to her and be powerless to do anything about her perceived problems. When I was at her funeral, I realized that the one word that could describe her outlook on life is “disgusted.” She lived the last 20 years of her life in exactly the place she wanted to be, with my sisters close by. Although not wealthy, all her needs were met, yet, she expressed disgust with every aspect her life. Sadly, my sisters have inherited her outlook on life. Visiting them is soul-draining, and they believe that I am unrealistic for being satisfied with my life and openly expressing any form of joy and gratitude for what I am and what I have.It’s almost as if they believe that I am tempting fate and asking for bad luck by being content with my life.

  • Redhen45

    Good post. Thank you 🙂  I believe we all  “buy in” to the idea of measuring our wealth and prosperity by the amount of money we have and the material and tangible goods we’re able to acquire with it to a certain extent. This is due to the a commonly held belief  based on “outward” appearances.  If we’re truly fortunate, we realize at some point that our true and lasting treasure lies within. As you so beautifully point out, our ability to see the inherent richness and  joy  in our life experiences opens us up to a universe of abundance and prosperity. 

  • This is a wonderful post! If you focus on what you love then you will get what you love. Keeping moving towards your passions and you can’t go wrong. Any step towards the positive is the right step.

  • Godmenandmoney

    This was great. 

  • Thank you for this wonderful insight on shifting our perspective to a more deserving one!

  • You are so welcome, Ruthanne.  These lessons make it well worth the journey.

  • Thanks for reading!

  • I appreciate you, Christine!

  • Shelley Chapman

    That conscious shift is a necessary part of our day to day existence. Rich with experiences we all can take this gem and plant it in our abundant landscape. Thanks Akilah for sharing!

  • I agree wholeheartedly! Thank you for re-affirming this lesson.

  • Thank you for sharing so deeply, Marcia! Soul-draining is a powerful word, and such an accurate description of how some relationships can feel!! Thankfully, those of us willing to work toward experiencing something better can share with others and allow this option to be explored.

  • Jo

    I am so appreciative you wrote and shared this article. Illuminator indeed! I hear the same script (although different circumstances) in my mind, and never considered my thoughts from this angle. Thank you in helping take another step forward in releasing negative and definitely limiting thought patterns.

  • You’re welcome, Shelley! Indeed, let’s all commit to paying daily attention to our Abundant Landscape–I love it!

  • You’re most welcome, Jo.  I didn’t think of it that way for years, either.  I believe it’s Dr. Wayne Dyer that said, “when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at start to change”.  That’s absolutely been my experience of late, and now I look forward to hearing about your sshifts as well.  Drop me a line and let me know–this work is so important.

  • Jodi

    This is a wonderful post that too, was much needed! I have the same “money filter” over my eyes. Every time I am on vacation, even in beautiful Kauai, I think what helicopter adventures I could be taking over the Na’ Pali coast as opposed to diving off a catamaran cruise! I want to have the experiences that celebrities have and I get depressed knowing this will never happen. Instead, I need to really search my soul and realize no amount of money will make me happy, I am responsible for my happiness and joy in this world.

    I have a friend on Facebook that I always get her updates and read her blog postings when she gets around to doing them. She has so much excitement and enthusiasm for even the small things in life that reading all her updates use to disgust me. I never understood how some one could be so happy with simply having a caring husband and doing daily tasks like the laundry but this girl found happiness in it all. As much as it disgusted me I secretly went back to her profile and blogs wanting to find the same happiness she had found. I have never come to realize what change has made her so happy but I have still been searching for this cure to my pessamistic attitude. These daily blogs have really been helping and have opened my eyes to my way of thinking and perceiving life’s wonder.

    Thank you for your amazing insight and experience!

  • You’re welcome, Jodi.  I am so glad this spoke to you.  I want to point out to you that apparently, your money filter is rather weak, which means it’ll be that much easier for you to fully transition to a place of full gratitude. 

    The reason I say that is because of the fact that you’re already drawn to the energy of people like your positive friend on Facebook.  Whatever we’re drawn to is a reflection of something that already resides in us, so clearly you have full access to your own capacity to find and feel joy in all things–yay, Jodi!!!

  • Tinarose29

    I am currently not working and I’m going through a very hard challenge and yet I live in one of the most expensive areas in the UK, I am a full leisure member of one of the most pretigious gyms and I drive a classic Land Rover and sometimes and Audi. And yet I woke up this morning feeling, unhappy, anxious, disorintated and fed up, beacause at the end of the day these things do not belong to me and I ‘have no money’. After reading your article my spirits lifted and I feel so very blessed to be where I am with the little that I have…if I can live like this without money then the possibilities in life are endless and surely filled with joy. Thank you!!!!!

  •  Thank you for sharing that, TinaRose! You are very blessed, and now you’ve passed that blessing on to those of us as yet another reminder that there’s always something to GIVE THANKS for, and something worth sustaining our JOY!

  • Laura

    Thank you Akilah for your perceptive post. It helps when you realize others are going through the same trials, tribulations, and testing while we are on the planet. It’s hard because we all need it (money) to survive, and it does seem to be in short supply. I hate worring about it and expending energy that way. I always think the higher power knows what I need and I ask for the universe to provide it. “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.” Luke 12:27 But . . . it is a difficult lesson I have to practice it daily.

  • Wellnessminded

    I used to have this same problem. Always viewing life from the position of lack and deficit. If only I had more, especially more money. A friend of mind was trying to get me to go on a yoga retreat to kinda regain my focus. But again because I was so focused on making more money I really didn’t want to make time for it. Long story short I ended up going and it changed my life. I have totally regained my focus and I feel much better about the space I’m in. I have learned how to keep my balance and be thankful for the smallest things. It was nothing short of a rebirth! I love this place, definitely worth the trip! http://bit.ly/SamahitaRetreat

  •  What a wonderful story! Thanks for sharing this.  Sometimes rebirths are hidden inside our challenges–I love knowing that!

  • You’re welcome, Laura.  I agree completely that daily practice is the key to long-term positive change.  Thanks for reading and sharing your own perspectives.

  • Tinarose29

    you are so right Laura, its the daily practice that’s difficult. We can do this!!!

  • Larie

    Thank you for sharing your revelation Akilah, I know this will not only fulfill you, but your clients as well!

    Larie

  • Sandra Hicks

    This post was right on time for me. I totally try to live with that principal of craving and enjoying the experience rather than being over taken by the crave of money, though it is needed. I have my mY moments, but I try to put it all in perspective. What makes it hard for me is my spouse who sees everything through a money filter, and often looks at experiences from a perspective of lack. Even though he has a good job, and is certainly a man who keeps a side hustle, it never is enough. He has a hard time understanding the how’s and why’s of the work I do. I will be showing this Post to him, it will create good conversation I’m sure. Thanks Akilah!

  •  Yeppers!! Thanks, Larie–that’s one of the best things about radical self-expression: you get to use it’s effects to benefit others. 

  • You’re welcome, Sandra! I’m so glad this reached you! Yes, show it to your husband, and perhaps he, like me, will start on a path that leaves more room for immediate JOY!

  • This is great. I’m working on accepting life’s experiences instead of focusing on the lack…it’s so hard. I do that same thing. I am in Hawaii right now for a kettlebell competition and instructor certification, but I keep thinking about how little money I have, how little I’ll have when I get home and how hand to mouth my life is lately. I keep beating myself up for little things–like forgetting my makeup bag and toiletries and having to replace everything with subpar products at high prices. 
    It’s hard, too, not to think about all of the people in the world who have so much less than me, and my husband at home working and going to school and helping me fund my trip with his tips from haircutting…
    I keep flipping from I have so much to I have so little, like a see-saw…