"Abundance is not a number or acquisition. It is the simple recognition of enoughness." -Alan Cohen
We live in this crazy, fast-paced, rapidly technologically advancing world where by the time you pick something up and get to the register, there is a newer, better version going on the shelf. We want our apps, our games, our touch-screen this or that, HD so vivid you can see when someone has a new blackhead, flatter, thinner, smaller, more storage, faster speed, greater connectivity. We connect to other human beings through electronics, recognize them by their avatars and know all their preferred songs and movies by their favorites lists. Almost everything is linked. What you watch on Hulu is posted to FB. Instead of asking our kids what's going on, we read their status updates. Babies are born and their pictures are posted within minutes of their arrival on the planet. We've turned into a world of button pushers and whine when we don't have enough RAM. Is it really necessary to take our cell phones into the bathroom with us?
There are amazing benefits to being "plugged in." I talk to distant relatives a lot more. Doing family history research is so much easier. I can find a recipe at the snap of a finger. And on those awful wired nights when I can't sleep, there is almost always a friend somewhere in the world to chat with. And I saw recently a photo of a soldier sniff reading a book to his child via a laptop webcam because he couldn't be there. There are good things about living in this age.
I think the problem may be that we're getting to the point where we are living beyond our means to have the latest and greatest at a cost of greater debt and working overtime so we can connect with the family we never see because we are working the overtime to give them the tools to connect because we miss them because we have to work to give them the ... you get the idea.
How, then, do we get to the point where we realize we already have abundance in our lives; not in the accumulation of toys, but in our relationships, lessons, faith, love, and nature.
Here's some ideas to help sort things out:
Make an inventory. Make a list and put the things that are important to you on it. Now, cross off everything that has to be plugged in, use batteries, or has to be charged in some way. What's left?
Keep a timesheet. For one week, calculate the amount of time you spend with electronics. Make sure to note what you are doing on them. This is important because calling your kids' cells to make sure they are safe is very good. Sending your mother school photos on Facebook or email is very good. Accumulating little gold coins playing cards or growing crops of imaginary plants is ... well ... a time drainer.
Think of what you pray about. In your prayers, do you thank God for your 96" HDTV? Of course not! Pay attention to the things you do thank him for and make them your priorities.
Have a family experiment. Gather the family together. Turn out the lights and light candles. Now have everyone turn off their electronics. Have a stopwatch handy and see how long it takes someone to start twitching.
Go for a family walk. Make a note of how many children are and aren't out playing. Soak in the things that money cannot buy. Express to your family your gratitude for being a part of them. Pick a wildflower and hand it to someone. Find a sparkly rock and give it to someone else. Hold hands. Breathe deeply. Discuss the abundance that lies within you and within your family. Sit in a circle in the grass and play a silly game.
Make a plan. Plan one evening a week to spend with only family and with no electronics. Discuss the family walk. Talk about your feelings. Talk about the wonderful things in your life that more money cannot get you.
I am a woman who writes. That means copious hours on the computer everyday. I write these articles and I write books. I have to market myself and that means more hours in front of the glowing screen on social networks. I just need to leave it at that. This article is for me. I will never get my real farm if I continue virtual farming. I will never make a decent living if I play gambling games instead of focusing on my work. And, I need to spend less time dreaming about that huge flat-screen HDTV and appreciate my bohemoth old-school television! Less time wishing for that touch screen phone and more time using my flip-phone to connect with the people I love and check up on them. I am doing my best to love my enoughness.