Welcoming Abundance

I’ve been thinking a lot about abundance and its opposite: scarcity. With the economy in the doldrums, everywhere I turn I seem to hear bad news about scarcity and lack, falling this and that, rising costs, businesses disappearing.

I’m not an economics expert, but I am the owner of a six-year-old, sole-proprietor business. The depressing milieu has made its way into my mindset. I have been saving money. I have been snatching up as much juicy work as I think I can handle. It’s been alternately exhilarating and terrifying to have work piling up. In some ways, being busy makes me feel successful.

But being busy and being successful aren’t always the same.

Yesterday I was offered a tiny proofreading job from a publisher for whom I’ve worked in the past. I turned it down.

I turned it down! Real, live work. No, thank you!

This publisher is the one who tried to stiff me on a $1,400 three-book copyediting payment last summer. They took 96 days to pay me my small fee, and I had to get assertive and mean to get my check. Demanding my payment and sending them to collections was very difficult for me and I really don’t ever want to go through that again.

It’s rather astonishing and funny that they want me to work for them again in any capacity, since I so boldly insisted on being paid!

I told the AE who offered me the tiny job that I am booked through end of October and would be happy to consider future projects at my hourly rate of $X or my per-page rate of $Y. (“Happy” is an exaggeration here. I really don’t ever want to work for this company again anyway.) She kindly wrote me back, saying “… unfortunately, due to the current economic climate, we’re unable to meet those terms. If you would still like to be considered for projects, I can keep you on our list, but we have a fixed rate for our freelancers.”

To which I replied, “I do appreciate the consideration and it seems we have similar concerns. In the current economic climate, I cannot afford to work for less than I am worth. I have thirteen years of editing experience. Please contact me again when your rates come up.”

I’ll probably never hear from this publisher again, but I’m feeling good nonetheless. It was scary turning down a job. It was scary telling her the rate I would work for and that I wouldn’t take less.

Why is it scary? Because— what if I don’t have enough work?

This brings me back to the idea of scarcity. If I operate my business from a position of scarcity, taking any little scrap that comes along, won’t I always feel the lack and the struggle? If I take on loads of low-paying jobs, always saying yes, no matter how poorly they pay, money will still be scarce. And so will my time. And my patience and sanity, too.

I can always make more money. I can never make back my time.

I thought about the fee that was offered to me today and the time involved and realized that I would gladly PAY that amount of money for that many hours of uninterrupted, free, non-work time with my family. What’s the point of trading that time for that amount of cash?

So, how does one countermand or cancel out the prevailing societal mood? How does one recognize and welcome abundance instead of cowering in the face of scarcity, and acting only out of necessity instead of desire?

I can start by looking around me and being grateful for all I have. I do try to do this regularly, and it helps. Also, I can speak up for what I want, say out loud the kind of work I like doing, and even say I want more of it. Even if I’m the only one who hears these requests, that’s OK, because my own words can arm me in situations where I might be tempted to settle for less because of the dreaded what-ifs. I can recall myself saying these things and be inspired to act accordingly.

I want abundance: more opportunity, more money, more time, more love and learning and growth and relaxation. I want to work smarter, not more, and not for less! I want to do a great job for great clients who appreciate me. I want to live and work, not just work. I want, sometimes—every once in a while—to have fun. And I want to enjoy all the abundant blessings in my life, for they are so many, so fine, and so precious.

Just sayin’ it out loud.

3 Responses to “Welcoming Abundance”

  • Ross Pruden
    September 18, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    Great post. Especially the part:

    “I can always make more money. I can never make back my time.”

    Time is the one universally democratic commodity—not only is it divvied out to us all at the same rate, it is uncompromisingly finite, too.

    Living in abundance is about skimming off the lard to work on only the things which really matter. Thus, by turning away work, you aren’t limiting your options at all but increasing them—by spending less time with a no-pay client, you free up your schedule to find newer and better (paying) clients, right?


  • Jennifer Luna
    September 18, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    I love the attitude of gratitude! It’s about appreciating what one has, rather than what one wants. Wanting what you already have rather than always aspiring for more is a challenge. When someone can sit back and value the everyday miracles, they truly become content.


  • Ethan
    September 21, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    I love reading your posts. This one touches me in a very tender way; it is incredibly brave and full of love both for yourself and your family. Creating a world where Abundance is the norm takes a lot of faith and I imagine is scary when you’ve got to provide for children. I suppose what I’m trying to say is: I think it’s amazing and brave that you are choosing a world of abundance and love over a world of sarcity and fear.


Leave a Reply

  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

    © 2003–2018 Please do not use my photographs or text without my permission.

    “Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” —Ursula K. LeGuinn

  • Buy Our Festivals E-Books

  • Archives

  • Tags

  • Categories


  • Meta