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Rags To Riches: Do You Have A Poverty Mentality?

Happiness | Lifestyle

We have all been there. Rent is due. The dishwasher is broken. The car needs work. There is just not enough money. How many times have you told yourself that all your problems would be solved if you just had more money?

I was scheduled to work next week and the kids are out of school for the summer. But the budget is tight and summer camp is expensive. The bottom line; I couldn't afford to send the kids to camp. I felt stuck. I was working in order to provide for my kids, yet I couldn't afford to pay someone so I could go to work and earn a paycheck in order to provide for them.

I could have taken the easy way out, and dipped into the savings account, or put the cost of camp on my emergency credit card. I immediately began to feel angry. Why don't I earn enough money? Why do I have to go work, anyway? Why can't I be a spoiled housewife who gets to stay home with her kids? Why me?!?

I had caught the poverty mentality bug. And it was making me very unhealthy.

Shifting Perspective And Changing My Attitude

I took the weekend to meditate on my situation. In reality, I had a lot of resources I could use. The neighbor girl could babysit a few hours each day, which was half the cost of summer camp, and my parents are both retired. Why couldn't they help with the grandchildren?

I changed my attitude and recruited the troops. Before I knew it, I had more than enough help for the kids, and even had activities planned for them every day.

It's easy to feel like there's not enough time, money, room, etc.—to always look over the fence to the other side, thinking that the grass is definitely greener over there. Did you know that you have everything you could possibly need, right here, right now?

What Happiness Is Really About

Happiness is not about buying that bigger house, nicer car, or taking that exotic vacation. Happiness is in utilizing and appreciating the stuff you have right now. Everything around you is a reflection of your psyche. You are connected to everything in this entire universe by a complicated matrix of energy. How you use your mind to manipulate your environment ultimately creates your own personal reality.

If you constantly live in your world with an attitude of “not enough” then you will always feel like a space needs to be filled…and you will attempt to fill that space with whatever your mind can think of to fill it. This might mean filling your living space with plastic decorations from Target. Or filling your time with empty relationships. Maybe you fill the space with mindless television shows or gossip.

Make a conscious effort to modify your attitude from “not enough” to “too much.”

When you open the refrigerator, instead of seeing all the food that isn’t there, take a look at what is. After a long day at work, I came home to a refrigerator with some old parsley, a lemon, an almost empty bag of shredded cheese, half a quart of coconut milk, pinto beans, and some cream of wheat. There was nothing to eat.

I cooked the cream of wheat in a saucepan with the lemon and parsley, formed it into small patties and pan-fried them on the stove. Then, I sprinkled the cheese over the pinto beans with some coconut milk to make a mushy bean sauce. Dinner was yummy cream of wheat cakes dipped into bean sauce and made with love. It was a protein-rich and free(!) dinner.

Learn To Practice Gratitude

If you are reading this article on, chances are you are a practicing yogi, yogini, teacher, or student. As people begin to add yoga to their lives, especially those trying to earn a living by teaching yoga or working at a studio, they begin to see a challenge–balancing the earth-friendly lifestyle of moderation with the over-stimulating, starbucks-driven, money-hungry environment that is present all around us.

And so the saying goes, “be in the world, not of the world.” Ultimately, yogis must master the art of learning to live with less while making it look fabulous and happy.

The next time you find yourself thinking that there just isn’t enough, stop yourself. Rearrange your thoughts and begin to notice that, in reality, you have way too much! Utilize what you have. Practice gratitude for the resources in front of you. And instead of filling that empty space with stuff, fill it with love instead.

Om Shanti.

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