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?

Photo by thephotographymuse

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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