I’m reading a book called The Trance of Scarcity: Stop Holding Your Breath and Start Living Your Life by Victoria Castle. This book calls into question a central story most of us living in American culture have internalized:
(1) I am not enough and
(2) There is never enough.
I am not enough means that no matter what the reality, you always believe you are never smart enough, rich enough, beautiful enough, successful enough, etc. Because you are never good enough, you assume you must always struggle in order to achieve anything in life. You feel constantly pressured and are so physically tightly wound that even breathing in a relaxed manner becomes difficult.
There is never enough translates into the belief that no matter what you do, you will never have enough of what you need. The search for enough money, time, love, success, is endless and the sense of fear of never having enough of these things, profound. Endlessly collecting material goods and fiercely protecting your gains are common outcomes of this assumption.
This story of scarcity constrains hope, raising doubts about your capacity to ever be enough and to lead a fulfilling life. Castle argues that the Trance of Scarcity prevents you from expressing your natural greatness, creativity, caring, and resilience, moving you, instead, into a state of numbness and disconnection from your true self.
In her book, Castle says that Albert Einstein was once asked by a reporter what he would ask the universe if he could get a direct reply. He said he would want to know “Is the universe friendly?” Castle writes that “If we answer that the universe is not friendly, we hold ourselves at the mercy of imagined hostile external forces; we feel strictly on our own…we feel alone, ashamed, permanently insufficient. We move through the world like dejected spectators; strained, isolated, telling ourselves story after story of our unworthiness and life’s unfairness. Feeding on a continual diet of despair and rejection, courtesy of the Trance of Scarcity, we desperately seek ways to go numb. Our life force is diminished to a whisper.”
Castle continues on to describe a stance of Abundance: “If we answer that the universe is friendly, however, we show up at the party ready to greet old friends and meet new ones. We add our signature dish to the potluck and prepare to feast. We understand that partaking of the flow takes nothing away from anyone else. We freely partake of and freely contribute to the constant stream of resources and possibilities. Our belonging is undisputed … We create a life of meaning and fulfillment, absorbed in making the unique contribution to the human community that is ours to make.”
Castle astutely notes that changing beliefs is insufficient: “…what we believe and what we embody becomes our reality. If we address both causes, our lives change. While the power of belief has been recognized for years, embodiment has been overlooked even though it is essential to lasting change. Anything short of embodiment is just chatter.” In other words, you must practice what you believe at the deepest levels in your life.
Check out this very interesting book for some very concrete practices for breaking free of the Trance of Scarcity.