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NOTE: Cynthia Brian, Be the Star You Are! Founder and Executive Director, provides today’s post, The Gift of Abundance.
The Gift of Abundance Excerpted is from Be the Star You Are! 99 Gifts for Living, Loving, Laughing, and Learning to Make a Difference By Cynthia Brian. Cynthia is a New York Times best-selling author of several books, TV/Radio personality/producer, lecturer, and enrichment coach specializing in acting, media, writing, speaking, and life success.
Cynthia is the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® The mission is to empower women, families, and youth through increased literacy, improved positive media messages, and skills for living. Since 1998 she has produced and hosted the weekly upbeat, lifestyle international radio broadcast, StarStyle® (www.StarStyleradio.com and she produces the young adult radio show, Express Yourself!™ for the Voice America Network, Empowerment Channel. Cynthia writes for magazines, newspapers, and on-line sites. In her spare time, Cynthia can be found working in her garden or playing with her barnyard of adopted animals.
Cynthia’s Story: Do You Believe In The Gift Of Abundance?
I grew up on a farm, the eldest of five children. Our parents taught us specific values: hard work, loyalty to family and friends, responsibility, and keeping our word. We learned to be independent and self-sufficient. Although we had few possessions and even less money, we were content in our simple, natural surroundings. I can’t imagine a better upbringing for a child.
Our playground was vineyards, hills, and dales. Our companions were horses, cows, sheep, chickens, ducks, rabbits, dogs, and cats. As we hiked the mountains and paddled the creeks, we pretended we were explorers discovering new worlds. We had caves in which to hide. The mustard fields were our dollhouses. We drove tractors, plowed fields, and picked fruit until our hands were raw. The nearest neighbor children lived two miles away, so our life was mostly within our family. Without much money, we believed we were living the gift of abundance.
Work hard, dream hard, laugh hard, live abundantly.
Every season brought new adventures and excitement—preparing the vegetable garden in spring, going on camping trips in the summer, hayrides and harvest festivals in the fall. I have fond memories of enjoying the warming fires and holiday magic of winter. Life on the farm was fun, challenging, hard work, and full of promise.
We didn’t have fancy clothes. We did have a pair of Levis, a pair of boots, a couple of shirts, a school uniform, and a Sunday church outfit. Twice a year, at Christmas and Easter, our Auntie Cleo would take us shopping and buy us a new outfit. These were thrilling excursions. I learned to sew in high school so that I could have a bigger wardrobe. Since I was the oldest, my sisters inherited my hand-me-downs. We always felt another gift of abundance; our family. We were surrounded by delicious, homegrown food, a close-knit family, plenty of trees, and land to roam. We were truly rich in spirit, if not in money.
The Power Of Belief
From my first awareness, I knew I was important. I grew up believing that I had the power to achieve anything I ever wanted. Of course, it meant I was willing to work diligently to get it. It never occurred to me that I could or should be handed something free simply because I wanted it.
Yes, I am an optimist. My glass is always half full, even when it’s filled with bitter medicine. My life has been a rose garden, albeit with lots of thorns and tragedies. As a child, I almost died of encephalitis. Many people I have loved died at an early age from accidents or illnesses. My youngest brother was crushed and killed when a tractor on our farm turned over on him when he was sixteen. My gentle grandfather was killed while mowing his lawn when a tree toppled over on a windless day. And, my hero, my Dad, died from a rare cancer at a young age.
Because of these experiences and many more, I have learned that our most significant failing is not to follow our dreams, not to sing our song. I admit that living expansively and exuberantly isn’t always easy. Sorrow and pain make us want to contract and withdraw, not expand and excel. We live well only when we embrace the following fact. The very fragility, pathos, and unpredictability of life make every moment precious.
Embrace The Gift Of Abundance
I aim to persuade, push, and compel you to live every minute fully and consciously. We never know how many chances we’ll have to “get it right.” Life is finite. The drive seen in my mission is due to my agony in dealing with loss. I have learned that pain, suffering, emptiness, and loneliness are an important part of the human experience. Everyone, rich or poor, weak or powerful, endures these emotions. We are here on earth to learn, laugh, cry, feel love and pain, and to be. Most important, we are here to live and make a difference. Part of getting it right is getting it wrong. We are not the same, but we are all one.
Abundance is not about acquiring a luxury house, a fancy car, expensive clothes, and a jet-set lifestyle. Instead, the gift of abundance is about feeling that there is enough in life for everyone. My early years taught me that a sense of abundance goes far beyond material things. It spans our spiritual life, emotional stability, intellectual stimulation, and physical closeness to the earth.
Having abundance means having fresh air to breathe, clean water to drink, food in our stomachs, a roof overhead, somewhere to walk, and feel the beauty of nature. It includes someone to love and someone who loves you in return. Other elements of abundance are laughter, learning, and the wealth of health. As children, the teaching is to be happy for another’s success, and to believe that there is abundance in all things. If someone else can achieve greatness, so can I. So can you.
We rarely lack abundance, just the ability to understand its meaning in the purest form. The world is a place of emotional and spiritual plenty. Abbondanza, as my mother always said in Italian. Notice and be grateful for everything you have. The gift of abundance is everyone, everywhere, everything.
The 3 Step Exercise: Abbondanza
Shut your eyes. Imagine in vivid detail everything you feel you need to have a fulfilled life. Your list will be unique to you. It can include loving relationships, children, animals, a home to live in, food on the table, clothing, a car, enjoyable work, and so forth. Once you see yourself surrounded by everything you need, add some of the things you want.
Open your eyes, get out your pen, and make three columns: “What I need,” “What I want,” and “What I have.”
Every day, write down the things that you give thanks for: sunrises, beautiful gardens, a pillow on which to lay your head. Recognize the gift of abundance around you. Tell yourself frequently, “I have abundance in all things. There is enough to go around.”
Sales Tips: The Gift Of Abundance
Assess where you are at and what makes you happy
Expand the areas that bring a smile
Use your knowledge to provide community support
Welcome feedback to improve your endeavors
Each evening analyze what you did well, and what needs improvement
On a daily basis acknowledge your gift of abundance
Even day revisit your goals to be inspired and move forward
Each week review your accomplishments and set new goals for the following week
Always revise and improve your strategy for tomorrow including upcoming job interviews.