If struggling were the way to get there, we’d all be there by now.
The Trance of Scarcity
In a world where “not enough-ness” is the urgent global message, hunkering down for dark times looks like the right strategy yet it is the direct route to true impoverishment!
Fortunately, we have access to the very elements that can change our experience regardless of how convincing it all looks – both as individuals and as a planet. Freedom is at hand! Stay awake and read on.
The Trance of Scarcity is available at most independent book stores or at Amazon.com
Excerpt from Victoria Castle’s The Trance of Scarcity
What eclipses people’s greatness? What stops us short from being as creative, caring, and resilient as we are? What is it that squeezes the life out of us so stealthily that we volunteer to shrink to a shadow of our true selves? And most importantly, how do we stop it?
Before we can decide on a treatment, we must first find the source of the malaise. Once Albert Einstein was presented with the following scenario: If you had one hour to solve a difficult problem, how would you use the time? He answered, “I’d spend the first 55 minutes defining the problem.” In my own life, thoroughly defining the problem presented by the Trance of Scarcity took quite a bit longer than 55 minutes! But while my research may not have been comfortable or brief, it revealed to me an element of our existence, a way of being, that is most often invisible to us. Yet it fairly floats in the air we breathe. We catch it like a virus as we move within our cultural and familial surroundings but then, strangely, we keep it alive for years, without realizing how much better we would feel without it.
In working with thousands of people, I have repeatedly encountered the tragic theme of “I am not enough”––not good enough, smart enough, rich enough, young enough, old enough, worthy enough. Almost as prevalent is the theme of “There is not enough”––not enough time, money, opportunity, love, cooperation, power, you name it. This prevailing premise of “not enoughness” successfully cripples the lives of people who would otherwise be buoyant and passionate. Since its subjects are so readily yet unwittingly loyal to it, I came to call this blight The Trance of Scarcity.
A trance is a semi-conscious state, a daze, a predisposition: under its spell we accept what we’re told without question. The Trance of Scarcity shows up in a hundred personalized versions, but the results are always the same. Instead of experiencing the brilliance and creativity we are aching to offer, the world gets the by-products of actions that oppress, isolate, exclude and defeat.
The Trance of Scarcity has us in its snare and produces unfathomable waste. The Trance may show up privately, as self-doubt and over-consumerism, or publicly, as elitism and disregard for future generations. So many of us spend our time lamenting the way things are, justifying all the reasons why they can’t be different, and preparing for the worst. Whether we act as the oppressed or the oppressor, we are caught in a web of our own making. As a reigning planetary myth, the Trance effectively keeps us from living at peace with ourselves and each other.
There is life on the other side of the Trance––a life characterized by vitality, fulfillment and efficacy. It’s not a pipe dream and it’s not as far away as we’ve been led to believe. It does, however, require tampering a bit with our beliefs and confronting whatever has lived within us as the stone cold truth (usually the most disruptive things we can imagine!) But then, claiming our freedom always causes a certain degree of disruption. Breaking free is the polar opposite of comfort and stasis, very different from sedating ourselves so we can tolerate captivity.
To successfully upgrade from scarcity and struggle to abundance and ease, we must interrupt and dislodge old patterns that have been living quite comfortably within us, acting like they own the place. These old patterns are like a cat that likes to sleep on your head but isn’t the least bit interested in the fact that you are allergic. It’s time to move the cat. A little discomfort can end a lifetime of suffering.
The more each of us chooses to live and breathe and move within a reality of sufficiency and inclusion, the quicker we will break the Trance that now holds our world in its sway. We end this disastrous tale when we stop telling it to ourselves and each other, when we literally begin to embody a better reality. The Trance loses its power when we address the source of the suffering rather than apply yet another bandage to the symptoms. We can eliminate that suffering, one person at a time, starting now.
This book will help you break free from the Trance of Scarcity in three ways:
- By defying the cultural “common sense” that scarcity is an unchangeable truth and revealing it for what it is––a mere story. Rather than offer strategies for better living in a world of scarcity, we will address the source of that “reality of scarcity” and expose it as a hoax, thus eliminating its power over us.
- By leveraging the two elements that create our personal realities––our stories and how we embody them––and then using those elements to create the reality we want. Insights and platitudes have too little impact on our lived experience; it is the practical essentials of embodiment that lead us to a new and sustained way of being where abundance is readily at hand. Embodiment is a key player in living beyond the Trance and will be illustrated in detail.
- By using the powerful, well-tested practices of the Cycle of Abundance that result in greater ease, freedom and satisfaction. Through these practices––as relevant to organizations as they are to individuals––you will learn literally to embody the state of abundance, of living in the world with greater effectiveness and ease.
Part I of this book looks at the roots of the Trance of Scarcity and the social constructs that hold it in place. We will then explore what generates your own reality and how you can change it at the most essential level, rather than waste another minute trying to get your circumstances to behave. Our focus here is on cultivating the way of being that aligns us with abundance: the state of ease and flow.
You can live your life so that you’re never captured or crippled by circumstances again. Embodying abundance isn’t like a fad diet; it’s a way of being firmly grounded in what actually works. It means that no matter what life presents, you can embody confidence, resilience, and success—not because you’re more deserving, but because you’ve found the leverage point for real freedom. It’s a whole new ballgame and one that people miss out on when they maintain blind allegiance to the Trance of Scarcity which insists that “there is never enough, regardless.”
After a lifetime of struggle and strain, we have become suspicious of pleasure, ease, and flow. According to the Trance, the tighter we’re wound, the better. But ironically, this contraction of mind and body is the perfect breeding ground for scarcity.
In Part II of this book, we’ll investigate how the most important ally to embodying abundance is (oh no!) pleasure. We’re talking about real pleasure–– not the shallow kind that comes from overindulgence, but rather the capacity to be so fully present to our lives that we partake of their richness in a way that feeds the soul. The original root of the word pleasure actually means supple, like a river freely flowing, or a fabric with give and resilience. Abundance thrives on flow, not constriction. Specific practices are offered in this book that will show you how to embody that flow.
What we embody becomes our way of being; it influences every part of us. Our way of being in the world is the result of what we practice—whether or not it is intentional. Our habits and automatic reactions live in our muscles and in our nervous system. That’s why the conceptual approach of “mind over matter” does little more than irritate––because it cannot override what is already embodied. Some behaviors and habits are the result of years of embodying our unexamined stories (such as the Trance of Scarcity) and they hold us in patterns that run counter to our biggest commitments: believing that we’re not good enough, waiting for circumstances to change so we can be successful, accumulating enough stuff so we feel safe.
The good news is we already have all the “technology” we need to make the fundamental shift away from the Trance of Scarcity and into embodied abundance. By engaging in the practices offered in this book, we can release our habitual embodiment of the Trance. We can change our experience from a life dominated by struggle and constriction to a life of greater ease and possibility. And this shift can occur independent of our circumstances. Embodied abundance goes far beyond the narcissistic orientation of “As long as I have what I need, that’s all that matters.” Real abundance means living in a state of fullness and flow, welcoming our interconnectedness with everyone else. This is the great power of breaking free from the Trance of Scarcity. Little by little, we are released from the Me orientation that has kept us separate and lonely and we enter the We orientation that makes room for our hearts and minds to stay open and connected.
In addition to working with my clients and students, I have personally tested all of the principles presented here in excruciating detail. About 20 years ago I went through a year I now affectionately refer to as Victoria’s Adventures in Hell. At the time, I just called it Hell. In a matter of months, I went though a crushing divorce, my father died, I had surgery for a major health risk, I moved to a new city where I knew no one, I looked for work for six months, and day by day watched the little money I had disappear. I was well down the path of permanent suffering and struggle when, much to my surprise, I found a different route and took it. Since then my focus has been on embodying what I learned during that time and making it accessible to others, with the hope that their own Adventures in Hell might be as short-lived as possible. This book includes plenty of stories from my own experience, for your education . . . and amusement.
What I learned was this simple, but critical, formula: what we believe and what we embody becomes our reality. If we address both causes, our lives change. While the power of belief has been recognized for years, embodiment has been overlooked even though it is essential to lasting change. Anything short of embodiment is just chatter.
As I caught sight of the Trance of Scarcity quietly pulling my strings, I realized that it was pervasive in far more lives than just mine. The Trance has proven itself to be pandemic: In individuals, communities, organizations, systems, and governments––it has become institutionalized and is accepted without question. Learning to free ourselves is both a personal and planetary issue if we are to create a future in which we all can thrive. When even one person gains access to her greatness, we all benefit. The essentials of embodied abundance aren’t sneaky or slippery; they’re only hidden as long as we’re looking at life through the lens of the Trance of Scarcity. We keep seeing the hopeless view conjured by “not enough” and eventually, thoroughly convinced that the whole thing is pointless, we stop looking.
At this period in history, the majority of people throughout the world feel disempowered and exhausted. Doesn’t make for a very bright future, does it? We know all too well what life looks like inside the Trance of Scarcity––the evidence is everywhere we turn. The time is right to see what life is like when we live in freedom from the Trance. Fulfilled people––those who have ready access to their greatness and aliveness––are resourceful, generous, resilient, peace-making folk. A world full of such people has a very different future than the one we face now. Each one of us holds a piece of the larger solution. Each of us plays our part by making the contribution that is ours alone to make, the one that we’re itching to bring forth. That’s where the real fun is.
If you have had enough struggle, if you are ready for greater autonomy and aliveness, read on. You’ll be helping to change the world, whether you intend to or not. Once you embody abundance as your way of being, you can’t help but be more inspired and more inspiring. You’ll build bridges to replace dead ends, and you’ll easily arrive at solutions to issues that used to overwhelm you. You’ll have broken free from the Trance of Scarcity, and your bountiful life will show it clearly to anyone who wants the same.