The Abundance Thermometer

So I have been reading this book called The Big Leap written by Gay Hendricks.  There is this concept in the book called “Upper Limiting.”  I have to share with you what has opened up for me since becoming aware of this concept.  First of all, “Upper Limiting” is when you do something to stop the positivity and abundance you are feeling and experiencing.  As crazy as that sounds, most of us do this all the time.  It seems that over the years we have come to create meanings and interpretations about happiness, peace, and abundance.  We, as human beings, are meaning-makers.  I am convinced that we are creating meaning the minute we are born into this world.  We start to make interpretations from our environment.  These interpretations start to become belief patterns and many of our belief patterns can be self-limiting.  Some of these thoughts can be about what is too much happiness, love, and even abundance.  It’s like we create an abundance thermometer and we decide when we have reached our abundance limit.  We create this thermometer just like we create everything else in our life, through meanings and interpretations.  Here is an example- have you ever felt super excited about something and then it didn’t happen and you felt disappointed?  An interpretation could be that, when you get that excited, that will lead to disappointment.  “Upper Limiting” would be that when you get that excited about something, you do something to dampen your excitement, like getting into a fight with your significant other or starting to worry about the situation not happening.  Whatever it is, when you are doing this is, it tends to not be on a conscious level.  What is so interesting is that these self-limiting belief systems can often come from an adaptive place.  For example, when I was growing up, I was always taught that if you worked hard, you would be successful, including financially successful.  I saw my father, who is an immigrant to this country, work very long hours.  I also watched my mother go to law school, raise a family, and work hard as a lawyer.  I created the meaning that you have to work hard to earn success and money.  I will go even further to say that I believed that you have to work so hard that you must sacrifice a lot to be successful.  Now what is wrong with that belief system?  It got me to earn my doctorate in clinical psychology by the time I was 27 years-old.  However, how much does this belief system limit me?  This belief system is what drove me to work an inordinate amount of hours as a psychologist.  I believed that I had to sacrifice my happiness, my health and my life to be successful.  Now I don’t blame my parents for any of this.  It’s just that I internalized the belief system that I have to work hard and sacrifice to be successful.  Although it was once adaptive, it is no longer serving me and is actually “upper limiting” me.

The best way to look for this in your life is when things are going well.  What takes you out when things are going well?  Do you start to have worry thoughts, do you become critical of yourself or others, etc…This is the beginning of shedding light on how you keep your abundance thermometer in check.  Feel free to send a post about how you see this in your life.  We are all the same so your truth often has a great impact on others even if you are never aware of it.

Why Does Everything Have Meaning? Or Does it?

As a clinical psychologist, I’ve spent years helping people analyze their thoughts, feelings and behaviors in an attempt to change some aspect of themselves.  I have spent countless hours creating meaning for people in order to help them explain why they feel, think and behave the way they do.  However, a couple of weeks ago, my whole world got turned upside down when I started reading ”A Course In Miracles.”  The Course invites you to drop all meaning and everything you know.  As a psychologist, I always thought that I only had what I knew.  What would happen if I dropped all meaning of everything?  What would happening if I embraced the idea that I had no real understanding of anything?  It was both wierd and one of the most liberating thoughts I have ever had.  I knew NOTHING!

If you think about it, it is just the meaning we give things that cause most of our emotional reactions.  The same circumstance can happen to me and you and we could have very different reactions to it, in part due to the meaning we create.  This is true for situations that create both positive and negative feelings.  I remember talking at length in my own psychotherapy about having to babysit my brother when I was a teenager while my mother was in law school.  I created a great deal of meaning out of that time in my life.  I created a story about being a “martyr” who lost the freedom of her adolescence because I was made to watch over my brother a few hours a day.  When I dropped all the meaning around it, the facts were I babysat my brother a few hours a day during my middle school and high school years.  That is it!  Nothing more and nothing less.

So…how many stories do you create a day? What would life be like if you dropped even 25% of the meaning you create in a day?  Ever sit in traffic and then create the meaning that you are going to be late, lose your job, have no money for food etc…?  What are the facts…You are sitting in traffic.  That is it!

Now as a psychologist, yoga teacher and yoga life coach, I am not about blaming you for your stories but I am about empowering you!  In my experience, spending time talking about and giving energy to meaning and stories that only exist in our minds does not bring about mental health or peace of mind.

My invitation to you is to look at where you can drop meaning and embrace “I don’t know.”  A great mantra to repeat several times throughout the day especially during times when meaning is creating a lot of stress in your life:

“This only means what I make it mean!”

Until next time…Namaste