I’m on a quick business trip to New York for the umpteenth time over the past twenty years to teach a marketing seminar I’ve been leading for the past ten. Truth be told, I’m in New York an average of three visits a year. That probably makes for close to sixty or seventy trips in my lifetime. After so long these jaunts have become pretty routine and with so many under my belt, they all blur together. When held in New York, my seminar is always booked at the same location in Midtown Manhattan, so I end up spending a lot of time there specifically, without venturing uptown or downtown much or elsewhere in New York.
Still, with that many visits to the same place I’ve had ample opportunity to explore the city in bits and pieces, often working in a Broadway show, trip to a SOHO restaurant or Upper East Side boutique, a visit to a museum or, after September 11, 2001, even a ride down to where the World Trade Center had once stood majestically anchoring the south end of the island.
When I first started traveling for business two decades ago, every destination was a new realm to be explored. That’s the kind of traveler I am – leave no stone unturned, get off the beaten path, find the hidden gems and soak up every moment of experience through total immersion. Given the choice between lounging, resting and eating or squeezing-in one more new sight or experience, I opt for the squeeze-in every time. Each moment of a journey to a new or favorite destination is a treasured one since, as a traveler, I’m always journeying with the knowledge and awareness that “this time could be the last time” I’m at a particular destination, so I’d better make it count.
But in the past year or two I’ve become complacent when it comes to NYC. Familiarity seems to have finally bred contempt. Almost imperceptibly, I’ve been dreading the hustle and stress of going to New York and arriving already in full retreat, desiring only to avoid the noise, dirt, tourist and light pollution and hole up in my hotel room. Definitely not like me. Perhaps moving from Chicago (comparable in big city “feel”) to Florida five years ago triggered this cocooning. Leaving tranquil, balmy Florida for the likes of Gotham (or any major metropolis) is never an easy transition.
Even as my inclination to retreat when heading to New York silently needled me, hinting that something was out of whack, I was disinclined to resist it. Cocooning felt like the right thing to do at the time. Besides, I’m usually in and out of the city in 48 hours and classroom-style teaching for two days straight is physically exhausting, so it seemed like if my body was crying out for rest and renewal in the evenings, that’s what I should give it.
Other than that, I haven’t spent much time contemplating all this until today’s trip when I realized what a perfect barometer New York is for my inner state. And you know how it goes – the outer always reflects the inner.
This has been an unusual year for me, absent many of the normal currents and patterns that have defined previous decades. I’ve charted a new course for my marketing business, and it has brought exciting new opportunities but also a steep learning curve and not-exactly-fun new challenges. I’ve traveled a lot less than previous years, alternately enjoying and feeling stifled by the change. Of particular note is a growth journey centered on money and abundance, encompassing everything from the Law of Attraction to dispelling conditioned money myths from my youth to dealing with uneven cash flow (due to changes in my business model )to the roller coaster of the economy. It’s been a year marked by growth, sure, and true to form it’s been damn uncomfortable. Not miserable, but damn uncomfortable.
The truth is, it’s felt like walking on shaky ground all year, and all that shaking has done its fair share of undermining my confidence. When abundance is your destination, feeling undermined in any way is not a good place to be.
And therein lay the problem, the solution, and the lesson. Abundance is not a destination; it’s a state of being. Intellectually I know that. Emotionally I can feel that. In daily life, however, it has been a struggle to live it. And THAT – the “living it” is the only and fastest way to manifest it into a daily (or at least steady) reality.
The catch-22 should be obvious: if what you are experiencing is lack, withdrawal, finite/shrinking resources, debt, and loss – namely, the exact opposite of abundance – how the hell are you supposed to live it when clearly, you don’t have it?
The answer is that there is always abundance around us, it simply may not be in the form we want (hell, it’s usually not!) and all we really need to do is tap into it the abundance that is there in order to un-stop the plug blocking the flow of abundance to where it isn’t.
If you want financial abundance as I do, but don’t have it, feel and experience abundance where you do have it in your life. Your family? Your health? Your environment? Your food? Your car, boat or house? The climate where you live? Your friends? Your romantic relationships? Surely even the most destitute among us have an abundance of something positive. The challenge is to live in the feeling of abundance where you do have it even in the face of screaming lack where you don’t. And yeah, it ain’t easy but it is doable. How? Follow the flow.
Today I got a great refresher course in going with the flow. I arrived mid-afternoon in the city and after checking into my hotel, honored the urge to get out. I had to walk around, I couldn’t stomach another few hours banging away at the computer. The city wasn’t calling to me as loudly and brightly as it once had (“Walk this neighborhood!” “See this show!”) but something was calling and the yen to respond was clear and definite. Plus, I had promised to buy my daughter a special candy she had seen, after a school trip to NYC in April, only at the NBC Studio gift shop, so I walked the few short blocks to Rockefeller center where NBC is headquartered.
Once there, I consciously chose to go with the flow; to let myself be led where I felt the inclination to go. I bought a combo NBC Studio/Top of the Rock ticket, getting the very last spot on the last tour of the day, and spent a few hours sight-seeing, even going so far as to be one of two volunteers in my group of twenty-four to play “newscaster” in the mock news studio on the tour. I saw the studios for Dr. Oz, Jimmy Fallon, and Saturday Night Live. For the first time in twenty years of coming to New York, I went to the Rockefeller Center observation deck and took pictures from the roof of the building.
As I noticed my fellow tourists, many from foreign countries, I couldn’t help but realize the extent to which I’d taken my trips to New York for granted. Here were people who were possibly on the vacation of a lifetime, who were in this city for the one and only time they would ever be there. I put myself in their shoes and felt a new appreciation for all the past abundance already bestowed upon me, coupled with gratitude for the current day’s new experiences as well.
Then, hungry and wanting to take care of myself physically, I passed City Lobster on the stroll back to my hotel. I’ve often seen this restaurant while walking that same route and it had always intrigued me. Well, what better way to feel abundant than a little lobster, right? Although my appetite couldn’t handle a two-pound crustacean, a lovely lobster salad fit the bill and my budget.
On the final leg of my walk back to the hotel, two people complimented my outfit (decidedly summer-y sans shorts, sneakers and flipflops) and as I often do in New York, I felt neither like resident nor tourist but somewhere in between – almost, a little like a part time resident. I’ve traveled enough to know that things can go horribly wrong or wonderfully right when you’re away from home. And when they’re going wonderfully right, like today, it’s a sure sign you’re going with the flow.
I wasn’t done dipping in the abundance stream just yet. A light dinner left me with a lingering desire for dessert, and although I’d had the chance to indulge in a Magnolia Bakery cupcake (it’s a mortal sin if you’re a lover of baked goods and miss this while in New York) I’d passed the bakery before deciding where to eat dinner and it was now blocks behind me. So I took the next best option – called hotel room service and ordered some banana chocolate chip cake with fresh seasonal berries which I’m happily indulging in as I write this.
The tally for the day:
- NBC/Rockefeller Tour Ticket: $35
- Lobster Salad Dinner: $35
- Banana Chocolate Chip Cake: $15 (this is New York, and room service!)
- Refilling my abundance meter: Priceless!
Yes, all this and a new blog post for under $100. Tomorrow, I just might splurge on a ticket to Billy Elliott.
Don’t ever let anyone convince you you have to be financially wealthy to feel abundant. Abundance, like any desired state, is a place of being you must feel and live your way to even and especially against the odds. I promise you this, though, that while you’re consciously and responsibly relishing in the abundance that is available to you, your feelings of lack and fear will melt away faster than the icing on a Magnolia Red Velvet cupcake.
Tell me, what do you do to reclaim your abundance?