They say that money doesn’t grow on trees. Which I always think is funny, because in most countries money is printed on paper, and that does actually grow on trees! Or at least it’s made of trees…
For me, trees have taught me three big lessons about abundance.
Abundance Tree Lesson #1: A Hollow Tree is NOT a Healthy Tree
Years ago I was quite fixated on gaining material success. I worked hard at school, I won scholarships, I spent many years at university and learned about economics, and statistics, and the intricacies of trading global financial markets. I worked at a merchant bank. I discovered many secrets about how and why money flows around the world the way that it does. And I learned how I could position myself to catch some of that flow.
But here is a good question to ask: Why? Why did I want material success so badly?
It’s not a stunningly obvious question… I mean who doesn’t want it? Don’t we all? Do I even need to be asking that?
In my mind, I thought money would solve all my problems. I thought I would get the fine house, and the sexy car, and the walk-in closet full of high, high heels that would go ‘click click click’ when I walked down my long, sundrenched hallway, past huge panes of glass, and out to my sparkling pool… and everything would be perfect. Just perfect.
I imagined that once I had all those things, everything in my life would feel beautiful on the inside too. Like the pages of an interior design magazine. And until I had attained that dream, if I didn’t feel so fantastic on the inside… well, I could easily explain that to myself. I simply wasn’t there yet.
And then one day, I arrived.
I got the house. I got the car. I got the shoes. I even got a handsome and successful husband, and we had a gorgeous little girl. Everything on the outside was beautiful and perfect. So why didn’t it feel that way on the inside?
Ever heard that saying: “wherever you go, there you are?”
I was still me, with all my old issues and insecurities. An annoying tendency to dip into depression still clung to me. I don’t mean to belittle depression, believe me. But the fact that I was prone to it did annoy me. It didn’t fit with my ideal of the perfect life. And perhaps that meant that I didn’t fit into the ideal either.
No matter how much my perfect life tried to convince me, I knew nothing had really changed. Not in a way that mattered. Not inside. Maybe I could fool everyone else, but not myself.
I felt hollow. And if I was honest, I had felt hollow for almost as long as I could remember… something deep inside me was shut down. And that made even the most stunning successes in my life feel empty. Everything tasted like dry toast.
Wow. Do I sound like a brat, or what? Because OH! The outside of my life was so glorious! Where is the gratitude for that? And yet, the outside did not match the inside. So I guess something had to give.
Maybe I even conspired with my own subconscious, or the universe, or whatever, to set that straight. To even things up. To strip material success and glory from my life so that the outer would match the inner once again.
Before long, I had travelled to the brink of bankruptcy. My daughter had gotten sick and nearly died. My handsome and wonderful husband, who happened to be transgendered, decided that he wanted to become a woman and someone was trying to blackmail us about that.
Oh yes, it all began unravelling. And fast.
The hollow tree of my life was collapsing in on itself.
Abundance Tree Lesson #2: Water the Roots, Not the Leaves
The epiphany came for me when I realised that I was recreating a version my childhood experience all over again.
My parents, like me, had achieved an amazing level of success and wealth pretty early in life. By about the age of 40. They had worked hard for it, and like me, they’d probably thought it was going to be the ‘answer’.
Then, when they’d achieved all their goals – the architect designed house on the shores of a beautiful lake in Canada, their own private airplanes, an art collection, a constant stream of fabulous parties full of beautiful people – they discovered an inconvenient truth. They still were not happy.
That’s when their drinking really escalated. That’s when they began to take it all apart – piece by piece, binge by binge, screaming fight by screaming fight – until nothing was left. When I was 11 they divorced. My father retreated to Australia, and moved in with his brother. My mother declared bankruptcy. There’s a lot more to this story, but suffice it to say that I saw too much alcohol-induced craziness to come out with my childhood innocence intact. Something deep within me had died.
Later, as I faced my own possible bankruptcy, also at around the age of 40… and the dissolution of my marriage, blackmail, and the stress of my daughter’s health crisis… it struck me how my life was playing out in a way that was eerily similar to the story my parents had modelled for me. I had somehow recreated the same glorious heights of success, the same experience of emptiness… and I knew that if I let that story continue to unfold according to the ‘script’ then what came next was going to be a spectacular train wreck.
How could I stop it?
It suddenly became apparent to me. A blinding flash of the obvious. I saw the connection between my deepest beliefs – about myself, about money, about success and how it relates to happiness – and my own outcomes in life.
If the roots of my situation lay in my childhood programming, it meant that if I wanted to change my situation, I needed to make a change at that level of programming. At the level of my beliefs. I could still have a successful and beautiful life… but I had learned a truth. The inner and the outer must match.
I had always used knowledge and effort as the means to gain success, but that was like watering the leaves of my tree of abundance. And that’s what a lot of people do. Go out and get qualifications, work hard, and do lots of tangible actions in order to get what you want. And that’s not a waste of time. Education is important. Action must be taken. But when the roots of the tree are unstable, watering the leaves is not going to make a much of a difference. It will fall over anyway.
I saw that it was my underlying belief blockages and limitations, my faulty subconscious programming, which had undone all the benefits I’d gained from extensive knowledge and action.
You might look at my story and say it was not my fault. But accountability is important. I needed to take responsibility for my choices and try to understand why I had made them. I might not have chosen my daughter’s health crisis… but I had chosen my husband, and together we’d made some unfortunate decisions in our business. That’s the thing about the way our subconscious minds work – our underlying programming affects a million little choices and decisions that all add up to us playing out the exact script of our beliefs.
The roots of my tree (my beliefs) were unstable, and that’s what needed to change. I needed to heal the part of me that was shut down and hollow, and I needed to water and tend to the roots.
Abundance Tree Lesson #3: Don’t Be a Bonsai
When the roots of our tree of abundance are deformed, or limited, or not supportive of our conscious goals in life then our tree’s growth will be stunted. Just like a Bonsai tree is stunted. Because a Bonsai tree is just a normal tree that has been put into a tiny little pot so that it becomes root bound. In that condition it can never reach its full potential. It stays small.
We are like that. Ultimately it’s our limiting beliefs that thwart, or undo, our best efforts to succeed. And that keeps us small.
Don’t be a Bonsai.
It takes some effort to dig in and uncover your limiting beliefs. It also takes some effort to overwrite them with beliefs that do not limit you. But it’s easier than you think, and so worth it.
When I over-wrote my limiting beliefs, I was able to change the trajectory of my story. We managed to avoid bankruptcy and go on to rebuild even greater financial success than before. And it was easier than I thought it would be. Because once I changed my limiting beliefs, I was literally able to see opportunities that had very much been right in front of my nose all along… but I had just been too blinkered and stressed out to see them. Changing my beliefs changed the way I saw the world, and that in turn changed my opportunity set, and my experience of the world.
Other areas of my life transformed as well. My husband did become a woman, which I now believe was the best thing he could do for his happiness. He is now a she – a beautiful woman who is still my best friend. And, thank God, my daughter recovered and is now growing into a beautiful young woman herself.
My tree of abundance is no longer a Bonsai. It’s big and strong. The roots are healthy, stable and deep. Yours can be too.
I documented the process I went through in order to overwrite my beliefs, to lovingly nourish and tend to the roots of my tree of abundance, in a book called The Abundance Code: How to Bust the 7 Money Myths for a Rich Life Now. (It’s available on Amazon).
P.S. I’d love to hear from you… scroll down and leave a comment.
P.P.S. If you haven’t see The Abundance Code film yet, you can check out the first 10 minutes for free here
Julie Ann Cairns trained as an economist and financial market analyst, has over 25 years experience in the field of funds management and financial education, and is the author of the book The Abundance Code: How to Bust the 7 Money Myths for a Rich Life Now, published by Hay House. She is also the director of The Abundance Code documentary (2016) which explores through 15 powerful interviews with thought-leaders from around the world, how our world and our collective consciousness can make the paradigm shift from Scarcity thinking to an Abundance-based way of being. Our very survival may depend on it.