Rebecca Elia's Blog

All about Feminine Health, Healing, and Greece

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Eyes of Abundance

Metropolitan Museum of Art - Ancient Greece
What is your reaction to scarcity?

With the financial crisis, I have observed a lot of constriction. This may, in fact, be our first unconscious response to the illusion of scarcity. One need only look at the stock market to view the typical American reaction.

But not everyone responds this way. Thankfully. Several brave souls begin to see this shedding of the old, the unnecessary, the unsupportive of life, as not only liberating but as a treasure trove of possibilities. I, perhaps ignorantly, or, better, blissfully, am one of those souls – glad for the opportunities to move on, to reach for my dreams. When better, when there is nothing to lose and everything to gain? And now that I am in Greece, I’m reminded of what it is like to live from this place of abundance all the time.

I am reminded of how during my first trips to Greece everything was on strike (and I mean everything – banks, garbage collection, electricity, travel agencies…) for two months, and life continued as usual. The Greeks are used to operating in the midst of unknowns. What looks like scarcity to us Americans just looks like everyday life to Greeks. They have mastered living in the present.

Twenty years ago, on the island of Skopelos, I was in awe of their dedication to recycling—this they did out of necessity, reusing everything from paper to boxes to string to glass. Lovely gifts were decorated with small sea shells. No food was thrown away; there were plenty of hungry animals to feed.

I hesitated to come in the midst of their economic crisis. I was worried I would not be able to handle their depression, but I was wrong. Give the Greeks an economic crisis and most are generous to a fault. Has crime increased? Yes. My professor friend’s car was broken into. Banks on Alonissos were robbed. Athenian friends are scared to walk their city’s streets at night.

But none of this has stopped their generosity. Although every family has at least one unemployed member, they find the means to give give give.

Their gifts overwhelm me.

My landlords in Athens announced, several months ago, that I would stay in their lower level flat as their guest this year. And as if that weren’t enough, they had me over for dinner each night. My landlords on Skopelos invited me to a family celebration, an eight hour feast, in which we must have consumed one of each of their farm animals and drank more wine than I’ve seen in my life. Another friend embroidered a bookmark for me in the time it took me to name my favorite color, and then announced she would make another for my five-year-old nephew, who is proudly reading any book we place in front of him. My landlady just gave me a huge jar of preserves. The gifts go on and on.

Yes, I am overwhelmed.

How different our lives are when we view them through the eyes of abundance. It feels biblical—like the loaves of bread and fish multiplying in the loving arms of Christ—arms we all share.

What would change in your life today if you viewed it through the eyes of abundance?