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What is Abundance?

LITERATURE OUT LOUD

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Audio of this piece is available at the bottom of the post.

Welcome to Abundance, a program of 1001 Thanks.  This is a celebration of the good things happening in your life and the world.  I am your host, Dane Allred.  I believe you can change your life and the world by celebrating the joy, the happiness, the positive parts of this wonderful journey we call life.

I thought today on Abundance we would go ahead and try and define what I think Abundance is -- a couple of words pop into my mind as I try and decide what my life philosophy is and how it's reflected in the things that I do and the things that I say.

I think the Abundance I'm speaking of in this life has a lot to do with compassion for other people, their situations, for all kinds of things that happen in the world and especially for people whose are in circumstances beyond their control.  I think a lot of times that can be helped with humor, and you know humor plays a big part in my life.

I also believe tolerance and forgiveness are excellent ways to make the more abundant life happen in your neck of the woods.

Today, as we talk about Abundance, you may be wondering what does Dane Allred mean when he says "Abundance".

Well, to me, my life is full.  I have an abundance of what many cultures have defined as a full life.  For peoples of the past to imagine our lives would have been impossible.

Think of this.  Most of us have never spent a day in hunger.  When we sleep at night, many of us sleep soundly and securely.  We spend lifetimes that are two, three and four times longer than our ancestors.  We have luxuries unknown in the past.

I am blessed with having a loving wife and children as well as a supportive extended family.  My wife and daughters have opportunities denied to woman since the beginning of civilization.  As a people, we can move freely anywhere we choose;  we can choose where we live; we can choose where we work, and to me, in this world of abundance, it seems our opportunities are only limited by our creativity.

One of the measures of abundance is modern technology and if you think about it, most of the modern technology that we have today are marvels which would have been like miracles to anyone from the past.  For example, I communicate with my family on a cellular phone, which means if my mother is on a boat on a lake and she has her phone, I can contact her.  I can ask how the fishing is today. Think of all the things a modern day cellular phone can do, just by itself.  It has a calendar; it has games; it receives and sends instant messages.  I can compose my thoughts; I can write with a stylus or a small keyboard; those important ideas are preserved; instead in the past maybe lost forever.  On my phone I can access the internet.  I can contact Google or Wikipedia for instant answers to my questions and I don’t have to ask somebody else, and I don't have to go to the library, or continue in ignorance.  The world really is at my fingertips, and not many of us really appreciate the fact that we have such an abundance of information in our reach, but maybe it is because there is so much that we are kind of overloaded.

I don’t fear the dreaded diseases of the past, wondering if they are going to take me or my family without warning.  Even when my wife was diagnosed with stage four bone cancer fifteen years ago, the best treatments available were used since I am part of a risk-pool, and so insurance provides the money for the cures.  Now she lives today because we live in this modern world.

Another example, My sister was spared with a liver transplant.  I am the beneficiary of several types of modern medications which regulate my blood pressure, my allergies and even the size of my prostate.  And I know that may be too much information, but if you consider the state of medicine even two centuries ago, blood-letting was the most common and most popular treatment for ailments, and for those who are unfamiliar with the process, blood-letting means you probably have too much blood; let's let some out and see if you get better.

Just think about the marvels of the modern world.  I can speed across counties and states.  I can fly to other nations in hours if I wish, instead of counting the journeys in days or months.  Now, I have visited places in the world most of the present population of the world today will only be able to read about, even if they can read.  I intend to visit many more.

I am also a citizen of a country which protects the rights of all, not just a selected few.  So I think freedoms are part of our abundance. I have been given opportunities that somebody in my social position would never have been given in other times and other countries.

Because of college scholarships and grant monies that is paid for by taxes, I was able to go to college, and now I'm a high school and college teacher.

Now I am able because of those opportunities to earn a good living for my family. I pay taxes.  I support my government, the police, the military, the public services, public education, and I am so blessed to live in a place where I can say and I can write what I wish without government censorship.

So, when we talk about Abundance, it's not just the things we have, the freedoms we enjoy, but also, the ability we have to make a difference.

Believe it or not, I am actually really grateful for work.  Many of us in the modern day define ourselves by our work. I'd be a much different person without my opportunity to work and satisfying day of work is one of the most rewarding parts of my life, and it's because I enjoy my work and I hope you do something that you enjoy, too.

So, basically, as we look at the abundance of the world and the universe, I'm only limited by my imagination how I want to spend my life.  I have leisure time unimagined even by kings of the past.  I enjoy work so much I have invented other work for myself.  I buy and sell things on eBay.  I have thousands of satisfied customer ratings.  I teach part-time at a local university.  I've written an online public speaking course.  I've written quotations books, mystery novels, an auto-biography of the fifty ways I've injured myself.  I have a website.

I have time, because of our modern economy and the shortened work day, I am able to perform things like a one-man show of Mark Twain and Charles Dickens.  I regularly post on a website read by hundreds of thousands of people every day.  I'm paid to perform in commercials, movies, stage plays and musicals and I've been in over 30 movies and more than 70 stage productions.  I've been in world premiere shows.  I've sung on an original cast album.  I've won awards as a gardener, a poet, a teacher.

I've run three marathons and lots of footraces.  I was privileged to run the Olympic Flame for the 2002 Winter Olympics.  With all the other careers I've had in life as flower and package deliverer.  I've been a gas station attendant.  Most of my life has been spent teaching high school and college students.

And I cannot read the list of these opportunities that I have been given in my life without wondering why I have been blessed when others, and millions and hundreds of millions and billions of others of people live lives of poverty and oppression, sometimes only because they were born halfway around the world from here.

So I know that one of my life’s purposes is to proclaim my thanks for all my blessings.  I'm going to concentrate on the positive and to do otherwise would really be to be an ungrateful recipient of all this bounty.

And that's what really led me to create this show, Abundance, and I have a list of 1001 thanks.  It's the 1001 things I have listed that remind me why I should keep a positive attitude and try to inspire others to see the good in the world, instead of focusing on the negative.

My life hasn't been a bed of roses.  I could complain about my aches and pains.  Like I said, I've written a book about the fifty ways I've injured myself, and I didn't do this to catalog the misery of my short fifty years on the planet.  It's to remind me I am still alive and kicking. I should be grateful for every day that I have been given and I hope to inspire in you this same optimism, to help you realize the bounty of this corner of the universe.  Together there really is nothing we cannot accomplish.

I am not here to urge you to ignore the problems of your life, or the problems of the world.  But I seriously believe carping, negativism and blaming will never solve anything.  So join me on this journey to document our thanks.

Next time -- My Best Self

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What is Abundance?

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