The Need for Abundance

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Julie Morgenstern's book "Organizing from the Inside Out" talks about the root causes for disorganization. One psychological obstacle of organizing is the need for abundance. The idea struck a chord, not only in terms of organizing the environment, but also regarding buying food, cooking and sometimes eating. Aha!

She talks about some people's "deep rooted need for volume in their lives". The root causes are often childhood deprivation, or observed family patterns. Growing up as one of four children and living with a single parent who survived the depression, I got the double whammy. "You may associate volume with a sense of fullness, comfort, security, and identity.” she says. Yes, I may.

I'm at a place in life where I'm looking for more and more a sense of balance and flow in my life. Like most, this means living in a pleasant environment with a healthy lifestyle.

Julie suggests working with and building around the need for abundance rather than fighting against it. She describes a young mother who loved crafts and wanted to spend more time with her children than her parents had spent with her. The house was a craft explosion. This woman "had grown up in a large household where money was always scarce and attention was even scarcer." Julie proceeded to create a craft center for the client in a closet, not discarding, but categorizing and consolidating. The woman was then able to enjoy her collection with her children, and ironically, the woman was able then to off-load the excess more easily.

I have some closets and collections (books, clothing, my hard drives) on which I want to use this system. I've already done it with the pantry and the refrigerator and the pan cupboard. Stacking up all those cans of black beans made it easy to start using them up. Once I had organized the pantry, I felt a real freedom. I know what food we have, and what I need to buy. I also know that if I have a stash of what the child of a depression-era mother calls "luxuries", like dried fruits, a huge collection of herbs and spices, various types of flour and baking supplies and good jam I do feel a sense of "fullness, comfort, security, and identity." That’s OK. And now I also now know when there is actual room for something new.

Cooking and eating is tricky. I tend to want to cook more than we need, thinking that it is efficient: the extra can be frozen for another meal. Yes and no. Freezing means packaging, dating, and keeping track of. But sometimes food ends up languishing in the refrigerator. Ugh. And if one cooks a lot, there is the temptation to eat more. So again, looking for balance.

Do I need abundance? There is a part of me that knows on the deepest level the constant outpouring of abundance. And my meditation teacher Pir Vilayat used to use the metaphor of a mountain climber, of necessity, jettisoning items as she climbed to higher and higher realms. Having too much stuff weighs one down. And he used to admonish all the time “don’t let the support system take over”. I’m looking for balance. To be continued….
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Agreed: abundance and "stuff" are an oxymoron!

    2982 days ago
  • BILLB000
    Great blog, Azimat. And thank you for sharing your perspectives on the book as well as your own insights. I am going to get that book. It resonated with me....hmmm...don't need to wonder why as I look around the large collections of stuff that surround my desk and computer.
    2983 days ago
    Very timely for me (right down to the pantry which I'm tackling after I finish our bedroom and closet). I think this is very true. I might just have to pick up this book... once I find a place to put it. emoticon Thanks for posting.
    2985 days ago
    I know exactly what you mean.
    I grew up in a very poor home with a lot of scarcity and my DH did not and he does not understand why I feel a need to always maintain a full pantry and refrigerator.
    I think we have developed an understanding of each other's position now.
    2985 days ago
    great blog!
    2985 days ago
    Great synopsis and thought-provoking comments, Azimat! I just ordered the book from (won't cost me a penny of my abundance)!
    2985 days ago
    I totally get this. Grew up in a semi-hoarding household, the child of a depression-era single parent who saved almost everything, "in case". It's a habit I picked up and ran with.

    It's amazing how God uses devastations and tragedies to purge these tendences from us, or at least help us see another way. In 2004, my mom and my husband both died, then less than a year later, Hurricane Katrina came along...and in the wake of all that, I learned that I can live with much less "stuff". Right now, I live in the space of a dorm with part of a living room (I share with other volunteers in the community relief ministry my church has.)

    Good job in recognizing patterns & tendencies, and learning to work around them. :)
    2986 days ago
  • GRACED777
    It seems to me that when one area of my life is out of balance, it tends to spread to other areas. And some areas have been out of balance for as long as I can remember. However, I too am working on coming into order.

    I also read Julie Morgenstern's book--I really like it, but I stopped with collecting things in an organized fashion without getting rid of anything and it became an organized mess, which was very hard to deal with when I moved. I had so much to move or get rid of. I'm trying to do better now...
    2986 days ago
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