May 19, 2009

Abundance theory

This is the festive insulated bag that our CSA delivery arrived in yesterday. We leave the bag at our front door the morning of our next scheduled delivery in two weeks. We can even put the trimmings and unused parts back in the bag and they'll compost it for us.

I thought this was a good photo to introduce an article I read recently about abundance theory. It's from Oprah's magazine, and you can read the entire article here. The brightly-colored bag and the mother lode of produce inside perfectly illustrate the concept.

Abundance theory is all about trusting that you'll find what you need, because there's plenty of everything available. For most of history, and still in many parts of the world, things of value were scarce. So it made sense to live in what's called a "just in case" mindset. It goes like this: "Just in case I don't have anything to eat in the future, I'd better take advantage of this sale on canned navy beans, even though I don't like beans." Most of us know someone who lived through the Depression who has a hard time getting rid of ANYTHING.

But when we live in an abundant environment with an assumption of scarcity, it leads to all kinds of dysfunctional behaviors associated with hoarding and storing. Things like working too much, eating too much, buying too much and spending too much. All these problems and more are the result of a culture of excess.

The article claims that making the mental shift of focusing on the abundance in your environment will cause your life to improve in all kinds of areas that may seem unrelated. This rings true for me because my experiment of joining The Compact has turned into a bountiful adventure. Not buying STUFF hasn't felt like deprivation or sacrifice at all. In fact, quite the opposite.

I'm experiencing an embarrassment of riches in the produce department. And now I just have to make sure I don't waste any of this gorgeous food. I hope you enjoy the article. Please leave your thoughts and ideas in the Comments section.


hiptobeme said...

I like this. I think that is so true, you give out and then you get.I have been reading about this in some other forms on attracting prosperity. If you are miserly, then it closes you off to allowing yourself to attract positve input. Not just with food, but with your time, friendships and even money. How will you use up all that food? Have a party? Veggies and dip?

hustler said...

That is so true. I don't want to be someone who buys up cans of beans that I don't like. I'm in the process of trying to grocery shop effectively. Seems I "never have anything to eat" even though I really do. I like your cooler, too.

Anonymous said...

HMM...Abundance theory.

I also like the lemonade theory. Life gives you lemons, so you make lemonade....

Both literally and figuratively
(substitute any fruit or vegetable!)

Marylyn said...

It's a feel-good theory. Not very scientific. Wouldn't work in some places, even nowadays. I feel called to be skeptical, even though I can think this way if I let myself, and have done so when in my twenties and thirties. I would be delighted when I would need something and it would appear, BUT ONLY EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED AT THE TIME. No provision for tomorrow. No reason to hoard "stuff," but this theory seems to discourage saving money. What about that?

WilderMiss said...

Angela, you've inspired me. This solves two problems for me: 1) I am lazy about grocery shopping and ever want to do it, 2) I don't eat enough veggies as a direct result of number one.

I've checked into it and there seems to be SEVEN different CSA groups that offer delivery in my area. Yay! I'm going to check it out today. Here's hoping they can delivery to appartments.

WilderMiss said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Marylyn said...

What is CSA?

Angela said...

Hiptobeme- I think my husband and I will be able to use all the food without having a party (not that it's a bad idea). My plan is to use the greens up this week and then the root veggies next week since they'll last longer. And the fruit is already gone! I'll have to buy more fruit at the market to supplement.

Hustler- Yes, it's a fine balance between having enough food in the house and not wasting.

Lala- Yes, I like to think of myself as a "lemonade theory" type, most of the time anyway.

Marylyn- The theory definitely doesn't hold in an environment of poverty, either individual or an entire region. It's specifically about people who have enough of their needs met that they're reading magazines, etc. and looking for more out of life (see Maslow's hierarchy of needs, etc). So it's about an excessive culture, but wouldn't include being prudent, just excessive. So I don't think it discourages saving money. I know what you mean about a "feel-good, nonscientific" theory, but in a way it's just logic. For example, if you live a middle class lifestyle in the U.S. you'll never have to worry about finding decent clothing because there's a glut available. That wasn't true years back when people made all their own clothes by hand and only had one or two outfits.
CSA stands for Community Sustainable Agriculture (see previous post with photo).

Wildermiss- I'm glad I've inspired you. I would definitely check the amount and price so you don't get TOO much food. And have fun! I hope it helps you eat more healthy food.

The deleted comment was just a comment that came up twice, not anything objectionable or profane or anything like that.

Ellen- If I were single, I would look into splitting it with a friend or neighbor. In our case, it will take us two weeks to use it up so I would worry about waste if I didn't have the option of delivery every other week.

Anonymous said...


Thank you, thank you for linking to this article. I love it, I believe it, but it's really hard to actually live believing in abundance at times.

I've just given up something and am hoping to gain a whole lot more by doing so, without worrying about scarcity in the meantime.


Danielle (of lessismorebalanced)