When There’s Scarcity In Another
As we journey down the path of living a life of enough, there seems to come a time when we wake up to everyone else’s scarcity. For me, this discovery took awhile. I’ve been really interested in myself as the subject, focusing on my own personal context, the one, we say, we have the most control over.
So, it was surprising to me on my sufficiency buddy call the other day to hear myself spill out with the utter pain I am in over my husband’s scarcity – certain ways he has of thinking and being that are grounded in “not enough” or “too much.” This was just the tipping point. Later in the day during a sufficiency group I’m part of, I watched how easy it is to want to kick-out someone struggling with overwhelm, someone who essentially is not living up to the standards of “enoughness” I’ve set up for myself.
If we are unable to allow for someone else’s scarcity – to have space for it – do we ourselves fall into the scarcity trap?
I think yes, we do.
Sufficiency as a mindset is not on the same continuum with scarcity – too little or too much. Rather, it includes it. Living in sufficiency includes the weapons of scarcity and the people who wield them. The practice that follows in the face of another’s scarcity is, let them be where they are (tool of sufficiency: what is). Offer the space – the compassion, love and acceptance – that they cannot offer to themselves. What a gift.
Now, are you wondering, like I often do, where boundaries come into play? When can we say, “Enough is enough”? No more. I want out. Or I want you out. Or, this has to stop.
The principal that goes hand in hand with practicing the laws of enough, the one that lies at the root of the design of life, is paradox – where two seemingly opposing things occur at the same time.
So when someone is trapped in scarcity, it helps if I can stay grounded in enough, where I can be of service, and not get trapped too. To have that boundary while allowing there to be space. These guiding principals support the allowing for this paradox:
- Everyone counts. If one of the laws of enough (#4) is that You belong already, that means they do too.
- Sufficiency requires community. We humans are open loop systems, and we require each other’s nervous systems to know ourselves. (Law #5: No one is exempt. No one.)
- Growth happens through a point of tension. The seed breaks through its shell to transform into roots and a stem and a bud and so forth. When I am uncomfortable – e.g. feel agitated, wish someone would be different or get away – that means it’s a good time to get curious about what’s there for me to learn, discover and let go to allow something new to arise. (Letting go is critical to mastery, Law #7.)
- Having boundaries is healthy. If the first three points above are true, it’s also true that we don’t have to always work it out, always stretch or be available, all the time. Sometimes people are just not in shape for relationship, and that’s ok. (Law #6: Knowing where you begin and where you end will set you free.)
If what I want, if what I am committed to, is a world sourced from enough, doesn’t it make sense to be of service to those who are suffering in the scarcity paradigm? Am I brave enough to be that vulnerable in the face of my pain and greater points of tension – whether it’s my husband, brother, or a member of a group I’m part of? If love is indeed the answer (Law #8), am I willing to be annihilated myself in its name? In the service of freedom from lack and excess?
2 thoughts on “When There’s Scarcity In Another”
Thanks Shea. I wonder about boundaries as well as ego. Sufficiency implies less territoriality because there’s not such a need to stand guard. Seeing insecurity or shame or envy, which might be difficult to feel, relaxes further the need to stand guard because it dissolves ego. Love, as you point out, may be the direction of sufficiency because it radiates outward under all circumstances.
Wonderful observations, Shea. As one who has experienced “lack” over the past year, I’ve watched some friends/family respond to this in different ways, depending on how my “scarcity” triggered their own fears. For me, it was knowing that their judgments weren’t personal, and that can be a hard ride when one is needing basic things like food & shelter. What I’ve come to discover is that it IS love that gets me through…love for myself, others and trusting my intuition. It was a helluva ride, yet I’m coming out the other side more empowered than ever and with a passion to “be the love” : )
Thank you so much for the validation…the “Enough” course seems to be more than!!! Peace…