By Chimsom Orakwue. Photography by Deun Ivory.
Lately, a topic that’s been on my mind is the idea of abundance — living a wealthy life. And this goes far beyond the concept of traditional wealth (although money can make experiences easier to acquire), but encompasses a true richness in all aspects. Richness in family. Richness in relationships. Richness in love. Richness in gratitude. Richness in joy.
The catch is that abundance and richness in life is a gift that is given internally. We cannot fuel it through external circumstances or accumulations; one can have an account balance of a million dollars and still lack a sense of abundance. Abundance is a perspective that we must birth — first in our minds and then in our hearts — in order to view our lives as unboundedly enriching blessings.
Training the mind is the first, but often the most difficult step. It’s a task that one must constantly choose to perform daily. Similar to brushing your teeth, you learn the skill, continuously practice it and make little adjustments as you develop, learn, and mature. The process never stops, but it does become easier.
And once the mind is set, the heart follows.
Giving gratitude helps me uncover the richness my life carries. When I give thanks to a sweet summer breeze, the breathless laughs of my siblings, the ability of my body to simply move, I find my abundance — daily. I find joy in every tiny aspect of my life, understanding that my life has been uniquely crafted to aid me in fulfilling my purpose. Not my sister’s, mother’s, best friend’s, coworker’s, or a random stranger’s on social media — mine. And it is my task, therefore, to see everything around me as a gift and a blessing, each situation offering a lesson in seeing/witnessing the abundance that is around me.
There are small, practical steps you can take to begin to live your life abundantly. The following are three practices I have implemented into my life that have made a big difference in how I view the world and live in a state of constant richness.
Make a list of the things that bring you joy and seek to include those items and/or experiences into your daily life. For me that can include prayer, yoga, the creamiest morsel of dark chocolate, laughs and deep conversations with my patients, and walks in nature where the sunlight bathes my skin. Throughout your day make time to enjoy these small pleasures and be reminded of tiny moments that bring you joy.
Eliminate distractions. We are often bombarded by phone notifications, emails, alerts and buzzes, which causes us to live our lives through a 5-inch electronic screen. Be mindful of how you spend your free time. Rather than automatically reaching for digital stimulation, take a seat outside and feel the sun gently warming your skin, have a conversation with an old friend, nourish your mind and soul with a book, or just sit with your thoughts. There is power in moments of solitude. When you begin to find meaning in those quiet moments, it is easier to find the abundance that exists throughout your life.
Saying “no” is ok. (Surround yourself with what brings you joy). People-pleasing is a dangerous trap to fall into and is one that I found myself cycling through for years until I truly realized that I, and I alone, have the power to dictate where I direct my energy. Remember that “no” is a complete sentence in itself. Don’t be afraid to say no to people and projects that do not nourish you and bring you joy in order to make time for those that do.
Living a wealthy life is ultimately a practice in seeing and seeking the abundance that exists in every moment and in recognizing the value that each experience adds to your life. The more we continue to recognize that there is joy, purpose, love, lessons, blessings, preparations, richness, etc. in all aspects of our existence, the more that we can, too, begin to see the abundance that surrounds each of us.
Chimsom Orakwue is a newly-minted medical student and a lover of joy, travel, and all things health and wellness. She is a firm believer in curating a life that brings you joy. Frothy turmeric chai lattes, pizza so hot with browned bits of cheese that dance across the bread, soulful laughs, time with God, and dad jokes are some of her favorite parts of the day. Chimsom’s work combines her passion for medicine and wellness to create accessibility and ease for all to pursue their right to a healthy and joyful life. You can connect with her on instagram and her website.