This is a photo of my favorite food treat – a cranberry kombucha drink that I love. And to be honest, it’s something that I’m often crabby about sharing.
You’ll understand why in a bit. But for now, I want to share a story – a story of my buying back to school supplies with my kids this fall.
I don’t enjoy shopping. Back to school shopping – which often feels busy, rushed, and crowded – especially.
And yet with four children, it’s necessary. So this September, I found myself with other parents in Target buying pencils, markers and protractors. As I scanned my kids’ back to school lists, I saw that several teachers asked for optional extras – things like copy paper, art supplies, and tissues. In years past, I skipped this step. After all, it is optional. But truth be told, I skipped this because I felt angry that I was being asked to give more than I was already spending.
As I sat in the Target back to school aisle and felt my anger about buying Kleenex and copy paper, I recognized that the squeeze in my heart was a signpost – an invitation to lean in, and listen. In my anger over tissues, I realized that I was trapped in the “trance of scarcity” – the belief that there isn’t enough money, love or of anything to go around.
At times, I’ve noticed a similar mindset towards food. I have a fairly narrow range of treat foods – so I tend to be possessive about the ones I can and do enjoy. When my kids ask for a taste of my carob almonds or cranberry kombucha, I can feel the same tight squeeze of anger in response, the same unwillingness to share that I experienced in the Target aisle.
In both cases, the trance of scarcity is at work. In both cases, I feel like there’s not enough to go around. And in both cases, I feel afraid that by sharing, I won’t have what I need.
When we feel like we don’t have what we need, we feel deprived, cut off from life and love. We may feel helpless – like we can’t or won’t make it. We may feel frightened or angry. In our response to this separation, we may hoard or cling to the object that we think of as our security in the moment – what we think will help us assuage these feelings of lack and panic.
So we hoard our money or hoard our kombucha or our favorite dessert.
Like everyone else, I live on a budget. And yet I could spend an extra $20 on tissues and copy paper. It may not feel like I could, but I could. So I decided to buy the tissues as a conscious decision to soften my heart and to care.
A week later, I went to back to school night and met my children’s teachers, the recipients of my tissues and paper. And seeing them in person, looking into their eyes, shaking their hands, and seeing their classrooms – all unique to each of them – I felt a wave of gratitude for all that they give to my children and to my neighbor’s children and to our community. I felt so happy that I had given the tissues – that I was able, in a small, small way – to complete the cycle of giving and receiving, and to give back to them.
When we feel connected – when we feel attached to our own hearts, to each other, and to our communities – we naturally care. In fact, I would argue that we can only care when we feel connected; that it’s this connection that feeds our caring.
When we feel disconnected, we contract and self protect. It’s easy to view other people, parts of ourselves, and the earth as objects – as something to meet our needs, or something to manipulate so we can get what we want. We may offer care out of a sense of duty, not from our hearts. Ouch.
When we feel disconnected, we armor up. Our hearts can feel stony and hard. Sometimes my heart feels squeezed dry by the pressures and stresses and rush and hurts of modern life. I feel like I have to do everything myself and feel burdened and alone. Rumi says it well here:
Very little grows on jagged rock.
Be ground. Be crumbled,
so wildflowers will come up
where you are.
You’ve been stony for too many years.
Try something different.
The answer to disconnection is to connection: to connect. And the answer to a stony heart is to crumble, to soften.
Buying tissues can soften your heart. So can sharing your favorite treat food. So can asking for help when you’re the one needing support.
Healing occurs through relationship, through connection. Asking for help and support from trusted companions – what I call scaffolding – is the most important and essential task when you’re healing a habit of overeating, sugar bingeing or binge eating. It’s also the most vulnerable.
So much comes up when we find ourselves in the vulnerable space of needing! It is more uncomfortable to receive than to give, because relying on and opening to others puts us in a dependent position. This can bring up tremendous fear about being hurt, and we may try to fix ourselves on our own in an attempt to avoid this vulnerability.
This week I’m on the receiving end of support, recovering from a bout of poison oak. I had to surrender my heart to receive care. And yet this care helped me feel cared for and seen in a vulnerable place of being irritable, grouchy, and in pain.
Our true abundance is in each other, in our interconnectedness. Like a tree that is rooted to and in the living earth, it is connection that enables us to freely give of our fruit; it is in connectedness that we find peace; it is in connectedness that we find our caring. It is in connection that we soften, find rest, and feel the safety of belonging, where we can lay down the mantel of needing to do it all on our own.
Karly, I feel like you could have written this for me, this very week. I have felt resentful or possessive of my time, my special gluten-free crackers (why did you have to eat MY crackers, when there’s a whole cupboard of other crackers and cookies you could eat?), and even a bag of baby carrots. I feel kind of ridiculous now, but there was a very sharp, fierce pang at the time. Thank you for reminding me how much happier – and whole – I feel, when I keep my heart soft and expansive.
I’m so glad this resonated with you. Some times my anger arises because my boundaries feel violated or I don’t feel like I have a voice – and sometimes, I need to honor those boundaries, my sense of personal power, and say no. And sometimes my anger arises and it’s not something to necessarily believe – sometimes, the answer is to soften and let my boundaries down. And it is quite a learning experience for me to discern the difference!!! 🙂 Love, Karly
Thank you again for reminding me to pause, breathe, consider and release. Your insights shared have been so valuable to me. Thank you for being that signpost; the kind that points us toward acceptance, forgiveness and love for ourselves and each other. We are all more the same than we are different. I appreciate your willingness to expose your vulnerabilities so we can all grow. If you haven’t taken a class from Karly, Do It. And be prepared to never look at life the way you used to see it.
Yes – we are all more alike than we are different! I’m so glad the classes and my words have been helpful to you and have nourished this idea of finding connection in each other. Thank you for taking the time to write. Love, Karly
Great post and I so hope you heal quickly from your poison oak, ouch!! Those of us that are sensitive, seem to be sensitive in all areas.
This post really resonated with me as I have been really focused on the law of attraction and I have been observing how many people in our country of excess, still focus on scarcity. We have so much here compared to so many other parts of the world and yet so many are so afraid someone else might get a piece of their pie. I am seeing how angry and hateful it makes people and it breaks my heart.
Interesting fact is that those that have the least, tend to give the most. I know it took my loosing everthing I had due to illness before I really started to give and to give from the heart. When I was working I gave to charity now and then because I felt obligated. Once I lost everything, I really learned what was important and I started giving from my heart. I have had others tell me that I can’t afford to give to charity etc. My response to them is “I can’t afford not to!” Thank you so much for sharing.
I find your story beautiful. In my own life, I too have found that those who have the least are often the most generous.
Perhaps there is something about having little that softens the stony heart, that opens the heart to give….that evokes a spontaneous generosity. Perhaps it roots us in our interdependence and slays the lie that we are separate and supposed to make it all on our own.
Yesterday I was reading some web copy for a business coach about money and financial freedom, and my heart felt so turned off by it — the copy said something to the effect of, “I have freedom with money because I don’t have to depend on anyone. I am sovereign.” I find that sad – not empowered, because I believe true freedom with money and life lies in our interconnectedness. I never want to reach a place of “independence” where I don’t need to rely on anyone else. (It doesn’t exist.) And I felt horrified to think that this is portrayed as a good thing….
So how do I place myself in the river of life – in this web of giving and receiving?
I find that when my heart closes and I feel that I can’t share – even if it’s a smile! – it’s my own heart that hurts the most. Perhaps something vital in us dies a bit when we feel that we have nothing to give, for it’s a very denial of our soul, of our life, of the breath and vitality that exists in us….
And thank you for the kind words on the poison oak. It has been miserable, and your kind words pierce my heart this morning and ease my suffering. So you have just given to me, and I have received gratefully.
Oh Karly! Yet again, you hit the spot. I’m fairly generous (most of the time), but I too really struggle with sharing my treat foods – for the same reason that you write about. I’ve been trying of late to share these things particularly with my beloved husband and it feels painful and good , all at the same time. And I hear you about the Poison Oak business. I am still astounded by all the biting stinging things in Texas and I too, find it difficult to deal with. Sending you love and healing and even more gratitude for the goodness that you bring into our world. (Your previous post about the sugar/ADD connection has stimulated much thought and discussion in my life – so thank you again.) It’s true – there is NO scarcity of good things. Thanks for the timely reminder!
Perhaps we all can chuckle together when we notice we are feeling snarky about sharing our favorite treat foods and remember how common this feeling is! 🙂 I love that you are reminding me that what truly counts – things like love, connection, compassion, and laughter – are neither scarce nor a limited commodity…..
And you made me laugh about all the things that bite and sting in Texas – like you, I have pretty much (sadly) given up on going barefoot here….
I loved and appreciated this blog post so much, as most other soul-musings and deeper wisdom that you share. I realized that for myself, a lot of my angst and suffering (which often played out in my relationship with food) was predicated on the subconscious belief in scarcity, that there was simply not enough in this world…which led me to eat frantically, compulsively, or without a sense of satisfaction that I truly got what I needed. (“I need to have what I want,” the child cries!) It seems rather childish, but this is, in fact, a part of myself that reacts like a small child, frightened she will not get what she needs. And what better way to see it than through the attachment to food?
Now I am willing to embrace this small child and shower her with love, each and every day, in every way. It is only in loving all the “flawed bits” (the hungry, greedy and angry ones, too) that true and lasting healing can happen. And I am witnessing it each day.
The soul just wants to be loved and expressed in all its iterations and what better way to do that than through the avenue of this spiritual vessel we call the body?! Wow, miracles are all around us once we make the conscious choice to see them and trust in abundance, rather than lack 🙂 Today, I choose abundance and accept divine prosperity.
A humble student,
I related so much to your story. Small children have no choice but to define reality by how they are treated by others; it make sense that we can have subconscious beliefs in scarcity – they were based upon our early experiences, what we experienced as true then.
And yes, it is these young parts of us who then act out in all areas of our lives. They so much want to find rest and to be loved.
You said it so beautifully – I couldn’t have said it any better. This in particular made my heart cry out in a giant “YES!!!” of recognition:
“Now I am willing to embrace this small child and shower her with love, each and every day, in every way. It is only in loving all the “flawed bits” (the hungry, greedy and angry ones, too) that true and lasting healing can happen. And I am witnessing it each day.”
It’s interesting – I woke up this morning with some deep feelings of shame and loss, and on top of those, the tight pull of judgment – of, “No, I don’t want these parts to be here.” And your words softened my heart against myself, and helped me hold these parts of me with a loving embrace. So thank you.
LOVE this. Thank you so much for your sharing. The joke in the family is that mom will begrudgingly share her Kombucha and now I know why. 🙂 The rule is that they can take a sip, not a gulp, lol. Thank you Thank you. I’m going to practice sharing from my heart.
Have a great day!