Making Room for Joy

My family went on vacation one year to Cape Charles, Virginia, a small beach town. The house we rented had a large backyard with a pool, but we made it a point to spend a day at the community’s private beach. As we sat huddled together under the shade of our one beach umbrella, we noticed small crabs emerging from holes in the sand. At first, they’d slowly peek out from their homes, checking to make sure the coast was clear…literally. They’d side step their way back inside then reemerge, sand tucked into their little arm which they then tossed out and away from the entrance. We were so amused by these little creatures diligently cleaning out their homes one armful of sand at a time. When we left the beach, the tide was beginning to rise bringing all that sand back into their tiny homes.

Today while listening to a guided meditation, those crabs came to mind. The meditation focused on abundance, a concept that was really difficult for me to embrace when I rekindled my spiritual practices.  Growing up in a Catholic home, my understanding of spirituality had been shaped around ideas like sacrifice, avoiding hell and the sins that put us there, and a lot of guilt. Abundance seemed like such a sinful concept. I didn’t feel deserving of all the riches that life has to offer. And, I certainly didn’t feel like asking for those things was a “good” way to live.

What I’ve learned through my recent spiritual journey is that welcoming abundance is not about wealth and riches in the material sense. It’s about harnessing the positive energy within ourselves, pouring that energy into the world, and welcoming it when the world pours that energy back into us. It’s about not allowing fear and scarcity to rule our lives, which forces us to live small and guarded. Choosing to welcome abundance is choosing to believe that there is enough in the world for everyone to get what they need to feel fulfilled. It’s a shift in our mindset that makes room for joy in our lives. I needed to toss out those old ideas first.

Like the tide pushing sand back into the crabs’ homes, obstacles and challenges are a constant in life. We can choose anger, frustration or fear, risking the chance that those feelings swallow us whole. Or, we can choose to accept what is and work through those challenges. The crabs reminded me of what it’s like to intentionally clear out what doesn’t serve me each day. It’s a practice, a process, and a part of life. And with each little scoop of sand that I toss, I make room for more joy in my life.

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