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Monica Pickard spent twenty years of her adult life as a child care provider. During that time, with the help of her husband, she raised her son who has been diagnosed with Autism and Developmental Delay. She learned to navigate a world that was new to her – the world of Special Needs. She now shares these experiences and the wisdom they taught her, with love and heartfelt compassion for the human condition.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Abundance: Focus

This world is full of abundance. I have seen it with my own eyes. My sister and her husband recently had to leave everything they owned behind because their apartment building was on fire.

Take a moment and consider what that would feel like. Your whole life and everything you’ve accumulated, gone in an instant. You might be thinking about your furniture, your photographs, your home. They left behind their cell phones, their ID cards, their keys, their cats because they were hiding and unable to be found in the smoke, $90 worth of meat in the freezer, the art my sister had created with her own two hands and imagination, the important pieces of paper they accumulated in life, medication, toothbrushes, shoes; every-single-thing a person needs to live and the things that make our lives bearable and even enjoyable. When they climbed out of their apartment window - or jumped out, as my brother-in-law did - they had the pajamas they were wearing and a blanket. My nephew was staying with them at the time and had only his cell phone, the clothes he was wearing, and his car, but no keys to get into and drive the car. One of their neighbors had it even worse. She lost her life. That woman’s family lost her.

Still, even with all the losses we encounter, the world is full of abundance. Family, friends, neighbors, and community all gave whatever they could to the victims of the fire. The outpouring of support began the very night of the fire. The Red Cross sprang into action, helping people find shelter, clothing, and gift cards. One month after the fire, my sister and her husband were in their new apartment, furnished through donations of cash, clothing, furniture, food, and appliances; you name it – people in and around our community gave it. It was one of the most beautiful things I have witnessed. After a couple of weeks – that felt more like months – they were allowed to retrieve a few things from the smoke-filled apartment. They got their ID’s, some pictures, their bicycle, and a cell phone. One of their cats, Sissy, survived, thank God. She was found the day after the fire. One veterinarian gave his services, without charge, to help Sissy recover. Their other cat’s body was recovered and Charlie was given a proper burial.

The love, support, and compassion I witnessed were absolutely overwhelming. So why are there times in our lives, often when we are not even at our lowest point, do we feel like the world is not abundant? Why do we feel like no one cares; like recourses are limited; like there will never be enough?

The answers are found in focus, perception, and belief. What we focus on, we create. What we perceive becomes our reality. What we believe becomes our truth.

Focus draws energy to us. What we think about, talk about, obsess about, and worry about changes the energy in the air around us. When we are focused on not having something we need or want, it makes the air thick with negativity. Our thoughts and words spiral into more feelings of lack, which draws even more lack into our lives. The more we focus on abundance, the more the air lightens with positivity; drawing more abundance to us. This is true in every area of life – our children’s abilities, love, time, health, money, help, and so on. You don't have to believe it. Just notice it and you will see.

My sister, her husband, and my nephew were overwhelmed with a feeling of loss the night of the fire, but help came not long after their ordeal began. My parents found them and gave them shelter for the night. The very next morning, donations started to roll in. Cash donations were being placed into a Go Fund Me account. Clothing began to arrive. Offers of support came from people they never met. Abundance when they needed it most became their reality. The losses were still real, especially the cats, but the energy was moving in a positive direction. In between the feelings of loss, they were overwhelmed with gratitude. Their focus wavered between grieving the losses and rejoicing over the abundance flowing towards them. They were not allowed to remain stuck in lack because the evidence of abundance was always present. Don’t get me wrong - it was not easy! It was depressing and heartbreaking and exhausting with everything that needed to be done, but we all received more than we gave. As difficult as it was for each family member helping them, it was a million times more difficult for them. 

I imagine it is difficult to find motivation to help yourself after you’ve been forced to leave behind EVERYTHING. The trauma must make you feel like you’ve been defeated. You work, you struggle, you strive, and then it all goes away in an instant. It can consume you. But it does not have to. I watched my sister go from grief to gratitude all in a matter of seconds. With one breath she cried for their pets. With the next, she expressed gratitude that she, her husband, and her son all made it out alive. One moment brought a wave of grief for the loss of the things her husband worked to acquire, compassion for the man she loves, and gratitude for the hard work he does to support them. My sister was a true inspiration to me during this ordeal! We all went from anger over the silence of the fire alarms to appreciation for the people who banged on the doors and yelled, “FIRE!” More than once we thanked God for the firefighters and police officers who rescued them. After every complaint, there was always something to be grateful for. Always.

Emotions came that we didn’t expect. Even getting some things back became a reminder of all that was lost. The finding of Sissy brought more grief over Charlie. Questions – why couldn’t they both have lived? Why? And then we remembered that a family lost their mother, their sister, their aunt, and she was a human family member. Retrieving some photos and seeing how unharmed they were, made us all wonder why they could not retrieve more items from the apartment. Could not more be salvaged, we wondered. But ultimately gratitude for what they could get and the miracle of getting anything at all back won our focus. 

The hardships we face can be lessons if we look carefully at the events that happen to us, our reactions to them, and what flows towards us after those reactions. Gratitude for what you have, no matter how little it feels like, is the way to draw more abundance into your life. Those who have shall receive more, and they will have an abundance. Those who have not, even what they have shall be taken from them. This truth hardly seems fair, but it’s right there in the bible. For thousands of years, we’ve been trying to grasp this nonsensical concept. Abundance flows through the appreciation of what you already have, even without the promise of more. Gratefully focus on what you have and more comes your way. This is a truth and a reality we can experience in the midst of tragedy! What I love most is that when you understand and accept this concept, you can literally watch it happen. I did and it was beautiful.

What you focus on, you create. This is a spiritual truth. It is driven by something important: Perception. Soon I will post about abundance and perception. Until then, My Friends, take care to focus on and be grateful for what you have.

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