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Every time I see another book or essay on prosperity and abundance, I cringe.  The very words bring up a barrier in me, a disbelief, perhaps a feeling of unworthiness, and always a judgmental feeling of misplaced priorities.  I have all that I need.  More than I deserve.  More than I can ever use.  More than 90% of the people in the world.  Why this emphasis on prosperity and abundance?

Ah, but you’re thinking in terms of wealth, a gentle voice whispers.  There are so many other faces of prosperity and abundance.  Take “creative expression” for example.  Something you are intensely interested in.  What would creative expression look like for you in terms of prosperity and abundance?

Hmmm.  I would share my work unabashedly, openly, wherever and however I could with whomever might be interested, with the world so to speak.

And why don’t you do that?  What holds you back?

This is the kind, encouraging voice in my head, the one who prods me and asks questions that open me up to possibility.  But there is another voice in my head.  A big fat critic.  A Capital C Critic.  He tells me I’m not yet an expert.  I don’t know enough.  I’m not accomplished enough.  He tells me to keep practicing.  Maybe someday.  Just not ready yet.  Don’t embarrass yourself, he says.

I think about “Experts.” I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time learning from experts.  They seem to have forgotten the steps.  They talk with big words.  They assume things because they have become so automatic.  They’ve worked through the questions and techniques I’m still struggling with.  They often don’t have patience for a toddler like me.

For me, it is easier to learn from someone just ahead of me, someone still struggling, someone still asking questions.  Or from someone walking beside me.  Or pushing me from behind.  Just not an Expert who already has all the answers.  I need to hear how hard it is or was for other people.  I want to know what worked and what didn’t.  I want to know about mistakes because I make a lot of them, and I want to know I’m not alone.  I want to hear the humor.  I want to laugh at my scribbles and early works and be able to see the progress.  When I hold things tightly because I’m seeking perfection, I am listening too hard to the Critic.

With the Critic in charge, there will never be abundance.
I will be too afraid to share.
With the Critic in charge, there will never be prosperity.
I will be too afraid of rejection.

The kind but determined voice keeps talking so my Self will hear the truth about this self-appointed, misguided Critic who takes every opportunity to remind me I’m not an expert.  I face him squarely and tell him I agree, I’m not an expert.  But so what? I tell him.

So what!

I quote Mary Oliver to him: “The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own power restive and uprising, and gave it neither power nor time.”

It’s the sharing of our journeys that’s important.  Our unfinished struggles.  Not the stories where everything is resolved, and someone has figured out all the answers.  I have a lot of respect for experts, for masters of their crafts, but I want to hear from strugglers.  I want to know I’m not alone.

Here’s the crux of it.  I have an insidious critic in my head that keeps me from sharing my unfinished rough drafts, my struggles, my works in progress.  This critic keeps me from taking the necessary step away from the deep regret Mary Oliver warns me of.  This critic comes up over and over and over.  Like a weed.  An invasive weed that pops up over there and over there and over here, even though I pull it out and think I am done.  Critic seeds were scattered far, wide and deep.  But they are weeds!  Weeds, weeds, weeds, weeds, weeds!  NOT the flowers and fruit I want to grow.

When I see I weed in my garden, do I walk by and say, “Oh, no! A weed in my garden!  My day is ruined.  I will go inside and hide my face.”?

No, no, no, and NO!  As soon as I see a weed, I recognize it for what it is.  I pluck it out.  Toss it away.  I don’t think about it for the rest of the day, the night, the week, and the month.  I toss it away and am done with it.  I waste NO time and energy thinking about that darn weed.  I pluck the weed to nourish the flowers.  I give my time and energy to the flowers.  Marvel at their beauty and am grateful.

It is no different with the weeds in my heart and mind and soul.  They require recognition, plucking and tossing, and no more time or energy.  Let me not be that regretful person Mary Oliver describes.  Let me answer the call to creative work, feel my own power restive and uprising, and gave it ALL the power and time I possibly can.”  Yes, my first step is to ROOT OUT THE CRITIC!  Cast him away.

And there it is.  Prosperity and abundance of creative expression – however we choose to express ourselves.  Do it lavishly with no apologies!  Share with me!  I’ll share with you!  Together we might journey along the path, learning from our rough drafts and struggles and wonderings and attempts to say with various art forms what we feel deep inside.  Share unabashedly, openly, wherever and however we can with whomever might be interested.  Weeds be gone!  Act abundantly.  BE prosperous!

Weeds in My Garden