How Much Is Enough?
Embracing the Concept of Sufficiency
I.M.O.W. Global Council member Lynne Twist is a global activist, fundraiser, and the author of The Soul of Money and founder of the Soul of Money Institute. She was an original staff member of The Hunger Project when it began in 1977, and was named the Humanitarian of the Year in 2005 by Youth at Risk. She argues that women are in a unique position to alter mindsets when it comes to economic sufficiency.
The idea of sufficiency or "enough" is more important than ever at this time of global economic uncertainty. The kind of sufficiency that I am talking about is not actually an amount. It is a way of being, seeing and living.
The principle of sufficiency is this: If you let go of trying to get more of what you don't really need, it frees up oceans of energy to make a difference with what you have. When you make a difference with what you have, what you have expands.
Another shorter, perhaps easier to grasp way of saying this: What you appreciate... appreciates.
Gratitude is central to recognizing and acknowledging the sufficiency of what's already there. When we turn our love and attention away from what we think we need to what we already have--financially, emotionally, physically and spiritually--and nourish it, express it, and most importantly, share it, experiences of profound prosperity, wholeness and sufficiency flood our lives.
Embracing sufficiency thus becomes a radical step that will transform our understanding of economics and of wealth.
We live in a world that promotes a mindset of scarcity. That mindset eclipses our experience of our own wholeness and sufficiency and turns our attention to wanting what we don't have. Consumer culture depends on people living in fear of scarcity, feeling inadequate, empty, and deficient so that we think we need to acquire and accumulate more to be okay. We are swimming in messages that tell us we are not enough, that there isn't enough and that more of anything and everything is better. We're told that there is no alternative, and that's just the way it is. This condition of scarcity is made up of toxic unexamined and unconscious beliefs that have us constantly craving what we don't have, and keep us frantically chasing after money so that we can acquire and accumulate. This mindset is invalid, destructive and disempowering. It is also untrue.
When we as women naturally connect to the deep relatedness among us, then genuine wealth becomes available. The etymology of the word "wealth" comes from well-being, or the "well of being" that is often at the heart of a women's life.
Women are the natural carriers of what I call "the radical surprising truth" of sufficiency. We as sisters, daughters, wives, partners, aunties, grandmas and mothers always, no matter the circumstances, find ways to heal and care for and provide what is truly needed for the people we love.
My life has given me the opportunity to work with women in Sub-Saharan Africa, India, Bangladesh, and even deep in the Amazon rainforest. What I have seen is that, despite the most difficult conditions, we women always find a way to nourish those around us.
As more and more women move into positions of leadership, power and authority, we must focus on making a difference with what we have, rather than try to accumulate more and more. The practice of sufficiency will lighten our hearts, transform our understanding of wealth and lighten our footprint on Mother Earth. Our aim must be a shift from measuring how much we can accumulate to honoring what we can allocate, share and contribute.