Last Friday was a bad day – one of the worst I’ve had in a long time. I spent a lot of time worrying and stressing and trying to control the outcome of things that were outside of my control. I also spent a lot of time beating myself up for doing these things (because I know better), and then getting really down on myself for not being further evolved than I am.
I won’t go into all of the details of what was going on, but one of the things was my disappointment over low sales of Lead with Your Wild Heart. I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on this program and many emails of interest, and I am completely convinced that it is a beautiful and meaningful program, so I let myself believe that those things would translate into significant sales. I was wrong. For whatever reasons (a saturated market, wrong time of year, marketing to the wrong people – your guess is as good as mine), sales were low, and that means that once my current contracts end at the end of June, I’ll have to work harder at finding more sources of income over the summer. Sigh.
Things began to shift over the weekend, though. I took a couple of long walks in the woods, visited the museum with my family, and walked the labyrinth where crocuses are beginning to bloom. The coming of Spring helped to shift my perspective. Life can’t be all bad when crocuses are blooming.
A few things kept going through my mind on the weekend. First of all, I reminded myself of an ongoing mantra of mine… “The outcome is not my responsibility.” In other words, I am not responsible for how many people show up to receive my teaching, I am only responsible for whether or not I offer my gifts and whether I do my best to make them available to people. I’m doing that. I’ve poured my heart and soul into Lead with Your Wild Heart and I KNOW that it is the best possible expression of my gifts. I also know that it is a deeply meaningful journey for people who choose to take it. I offer, people receive, and that is all that I am responsible for. The numbers have no relevance to the value of the offering.
The other thing that kept going through my mind was what we’re taught in Art of Hosting… “whoever shows up are the right people.” This is what I tell myself every time I teach a course, host a retreat, or throw a party. Even if only two people show up, they are the right people. Even if I show up alone, I am the right people. There is value in large gatherings, and there is value in small. If the offering is made, the right people will show up whether it’s two or twenty or two hundred.
And so I spent my weekend surrendering, trusting, and letting go. I walked, I prayed, I released, and I trusted.
Now, there are some simplistic versions of this story that we all want to believe in, and one of those versions would be this: “After letting it all go, I attracted abundance, hundreds of people showed up and I was rich.” That’s the version you might seek after focusing on things like the Law of Attraction or The Secret. I hear that version ALL THE TIME on the internet and I cringe every time I do.
That version has a limited view of what “abundance” means. That version sees abundance as monetary gain, or all of those things that make life easy and smooth.
The real version of the story is still about abundance, but it has nothing about money or fame, or even ease.
Only a couple of more people registered. No crowds were knocking down my door. Abundance showed up in different ways.
On Monday, it suddenly occurred to me that there was absolutely nothing on my calendar on Tuesday. AND I didn’t have any projects due or papers that needed to be marked right away. WHAT?! How could that be? My calendar has been over-crowded for months now, and there is almost always a to-do list a mile long.
Not only was the day wide open, but the weather was stunningly beautiful after many long months of snow and cold.
A free day AND beautiful weather? That sounded like abundance to me!
I dedicated the day entirely to self-care. After dropping the girls off at school, I packed my journal and camera, bought a chai latte, and headed out to a provincial park not far from the city. I found a hiking trail and I wandered for hours in the woods. Then I stopped at the beach, and dipped my toes in the water, feeling like I’d been sprung from the prison of a long, hard winter. When I got hungry, I drove into the city, picked up some picnic food, and ate lunch at a special place called Oodena, a celebration circle near the forks of the two rivers that run through our city.
It was an exquisite day and I relished every moment of it.
But it got even better…
In the evening, I came home to find a package had been delivered by someone my daughter didn’t know. Inside was one of the most beautiful hand-knit shawls I’ve ever seen. I was dumbfounded. This was for ME?! I opened the letter in the package and discovered that it was a gift from a very special woman who’s been a student in my Creative Discovery class. She’d poured love and prayers into every stitch of it – specially for me. “Heather, I prayed that you and your family would be blessed with all that God knows is right for you and that He would guide you and give you the wisdom you need as you travel your path. His beautiful shawls seem to have a wonderful ability to heal, to encourage and comfort and to give solace and protection, especially in difficult times, and they give the most warm Divine hugs too.”
The shawl is burgundy and magenta, and this is what she learned about the meaning of the colour magenta: “Magenta represents universal love at its highest level. It promotes compassion, kindness, and cooperation and encourages a sense of self-respect and contentment. Magenta is the colour of the non-conformist, the free spirit. It pushes you to take responsibility for creating your own path in life. Magenta inspires change, transformation, growth and personal development.” And then she added: “Do you recognize yourself in all this?”
Wow. TALK ABOUT ABUNDANCE!
It was especially meaningful to receive this gift from someone I met through one of my courses. She has been touched by my work to offer her own gifts. (Her first book is coming out in publication next week!) What more could I ask for than to be an inspiration for other people so that gifts continue to flow in the world? I don’t need hundreds of people to show up – I just need the RIGHT people to show up!
And… I don’t need a lot of money, when I have abundance of another kind. I have the abundance of being part of a gift economy that can never be measured by monetary transactions.
Just one more story of abundance and the gift economy… this morning I went to yoga class at my favourite studio and I didn’t have to pay for it. Why? Because I have exchanged coaching sessions for yoga sessions with my coaching teacher! We are both sharing abundance and money has nothing to do with it.
Yes, abundance shows up, but it may not look the way we expect it to look, and it may only show up when we’ve walked through the fire of surrender and trust.