Scarcity is a profound and painful experience of lack. There are people everywhere who experience the desperation of real scarcity - a lack of food, water, safety, infrastructure, money, health care, education, support, encouragement - you name it, it is possible to experience scarcity in almost any way. Having lived in Zambia and traveled throughout Africa, scarcity of material resources is evident everywhere you look. Though there are (too many) people who experience real scarcity in the United States, far more people have ample resources who still feel the painful clutch of scarcity. How can that be?
The scarcity wound refers to an inner experience of scarcity in the present moment that is based primarily on past personal, familial, and societal experiences and/or narratives. In other words, the scarcity wound leads to suffering in the present moment that isn't based on the current reality. Make no mistake, this fear...
I care about the human experience of trauma. Having been diagnosed with PTS (post-traumatic stress) in my late 20's, I am deeply aware that true healing is about recovering our innate wholeness and reclaiming a sense of joy, aliveness, and connecting to self and others in meaningful ways. I am committed to this work because trauma is a human experience that we will be in relation to for the rest of our lives -- life is filled with challenges, difficulties, and stresses. Just as it is filled with beauty, joy, and delight. To understand trauma is to embrace the fullness of our human experience: both the fragility of our body psyche and the incredible resilience.
We are taught that trauma is an event or a circumstance that is disturbing and overwhelming (see dictionary). This is a gross simplification of the truth of what trauma is, and how it impacts the body and therefore, the way we live. Not only is this a simplification, but it might incline you to dismiss...
I worked in a bank in my early 20's. Believe me, when you count bills all day and your fingers turn black from the counting, stacking and wrapping of different denominations of money, that is the experience of money. Dirty paper.
But if it were just dirty paper, it wouldn't take so much of our time and attention.
Money IS dirty paper. And it's also so much more.
Money is a construct, a tool - something that we collectively created and continue to agree to use. It is a testament to human ingenuity and creativity. Money is symbolic. But of what? What does money symbolize?
Money is an expression of nature. A symbol that we created (out of nature herself, I might add) to serve growing economies and populations - for ease of transportation, trade, and use. Collectively, we've mostly forgotten what money represents.
Take a $50.00 dollar bill. This $50.00 bill can transform...
However, early on, we are indoctrinated into ideas about worthiness that lead us to believe that worth is to be found outside of ourselves -- in how we are perceived and received by those around us: another’s assessment or gaze or our monetary value or the work we do or our beauty.
Consider gender bias, not to mention racial and sexual bias — consider all the ways society narrowly defines who and what is worthy or most often, unworthy. Then there are the insidious ideas and lived experiences of needing to “earn” your keep, needing to perform, being expected to be pleasing (or not), or to be quiet, having your ideas dismissed, diminished, or worse, stolen. And the hits keep rolling, don't they?
Let's not forget the ever-present societal focus on beauty: body shape, size, and image, looks, and fashion that keep many women from the very real work of...
Here's the kind of stuff I heard growing up (and stuff a lot of my clients heard, too)... Either you are successful or you are a failure. You are either rich or you are poor. You do it right or you do it wrong. Either you have enough or you don't. You are happy or you are sad. You are worthy or you are not.
Scarcity is a choice-less, contracted state. In scarcity, you cling to whatever perceived goodness is available, desperately hoping it won't change or go away. In scarcity, you desperately fight against what feels challenging - paralyzed by the fear that you may never have what you want.
Scarcity is rigid and brittle. Feeling like a victim yet trying desperately to control the outcome. You can be sure that if you are using words like either/or, black and white, all or nothing, I can't, or I have to - you are in the grip of scarcity mentally, emotionally, and energetically.
Let's shake that off.
You are not a machine. You are not a toaster with a faulty heating element. There is no final, steady-state of perfection, transcendence, or even plain old goodness to keep reaching for. You are brilliant, wise, and you shine so bright when I see you -- I wish you believed what you really, deep down, know is true: this brilliance, your brilliance, is the real deal.
No matter how much I say this, no matter how much I repeat this, I know that it's hard to hear in the swirl and roar of airbrushed images, affirmations that attempt to elevate you above your flaws, and the subsequent hangover cures peddled to everyone who is trying to distance themselves from their lack of perfection.
And, I know firsthand how much work it takes to live into this truth, which can seem like you are trying to fix something in you that is fundamentally flawed. That's not it -- it's more like chipping away at old paint...
Somehow, we've gotten the message that fear must be avoided at all costs. However, I would say the point isn't to be fearless, but to heal and to learn from fear. SO many of the women I work with arrive with tremendous fear and a sense of scarcity in different forms and variations. So the time felt ripe to write a post about fear and how to work with it in a way that actually works.
Nope, it's actually going to be a lot more empowering than that. Because frankly, I think it's ridiculous to believe that we shouldn't feel fear or that we should try and be fear-free. Why? Well, fear is hard-wired into your limbic system. So working with your fear, not pretending you don't experience it, is far more transformative than trying to escape it.
I don't believe that we live in a world (or a body) where we can stop experiencing fear. The most powerful practice...
I've heard the gamut of responses to the idea of "practice" -- from spiritual transcendence to athletic performance to dreadful, dull, and boring repetitive action.
In actuality, you are practicing every moment of every day. Consciously or unconsciously, you are practicing your responses, your actions, and your reactions. You are practicing your best and your worst qualities by simply doing what you do, over and over. This ultimately defines the quality of your life.
However, done intentionally, practice can be a potent and reliable ally in real and reliable transformation.
Intentional practice is about making a different choice -- disruption of the status quo in your actions. Intentional practice has a vision. Intentional practice is also fluid and deeply connected to the present moment and what is working.
Intentional practice means you are practicing something that is incredibly important to you be...
No matter what circumstances, no matter what has happened to you, the end of the story — the way that you or I work with what we’ve been handed in life is what matters.
One of my clients, struggling at the moment, wondered aloud if focusing on trauma was just keeping her stuck, unable to move forward. Her wondering really struck me — I’ve certainly felt that way over the years and wanted desperately to just. be. over. it. I’ve taken the road of, “If I ignore the pain, the anger, and the anxiety and just focus on the positive and my strengths — it will just go away.”
It is so very human to want to avoid pain, to avoid feeling, to avoid facing the demons that lurk in the unexplored darkness of our body psyche. We fear that we will be swallowed whole, that pain will consume us, that we will never emerge from what might feel like a bottomless pit.
The depths and edges of our discontent, the tension we feel between how things ARE and how we want them to be, urge us toward transformation, toward change. Our pain shapes us into the people we are, and, if we choose to say yes, our pain will shape us into the people we are meant to be.
Saying yes to accepting suffering as a teacher and guide clears the path, moving us toward possibility, toward wholeness, and yes, toward joy - toward deep and abiding joy. This is a tremendous gift as well as a great paradox — no one asks for the trauma, the wounding, or the circumstances that create such profound suffering (yeah, no thanks). We wouldn’t wish it on anyone else, would we?
However, the pain and suffering we experience because we are alive and we are human is an invitation to a co-creative dance of becoming who we truly are and who we are meant to be.
But I do believe...
I am dedicated to supporting you as you heal the scarcity wound and embody authentic wealth. I can't wait to see what you do with your power, sister!
Your time is now. Let's do this.