Earlier this month I was staying with my cousin in Mill Valley, California, a small, quiet, redwoods-filled town a few minutes north of San Francisco. We were there for a few short days of adventure. One morning during our stay, I had to call into a work meeting and finish up some reports so I drove him into the city to enjoy the sights while I went back to the house. I wasn't too upset about having to work because as much as I love the city, I really needed some quiet time in nature.
As I was crossing the bridge after dropping him off, my tire started to make that rumbling sound everyone knows and dreads, so once I was back on land, I pulled over on this lush and misty dead end road under the Golden Gate to check it out.
It wasn't flat, but I knew it would be soon. I quickly Googled somewhere to go and drove there as carefully as I could. While I waited for the kind, small-town but city-savvy tire folk to check out my car, I walked back to our Airbnb. The walk was relatively short, maybe a few city blocks, but at a steep, woodsy incline. I took that walk with great stress, the whole time hoping the cost of this unexpected issue would be low. Money has always been something I've feared. I grew up in a money-scarce energy and considering I started my adult life with a student debt I'll likely take to the grave, it didn't get any better as I got older.
I decided I didn't want to stress on my days away from real life, so instead I started to take a look around. I started to recognize that by sheer nature of having to work and being met with this tire issue, I'd found myself taking a break from the city I so desperately needed and was lost in a sea of peaceful redwoods.
I'll abbreviate the tire details: bolt stuck in it, hole too big to fix, new tire, hundred bucks. Fine. Not great. But fine.
Exhausted from the short but stressful hike back up to the house, I threw myself on the bed and started a guided abundance meditation; just something to help readjust my mindset from financial horror to a feeling of peace and faith. I didn't want to engage in the act of swiping my debit card with a bad energy in my heart, so I listened to the meditation a few times until I felt positive about giving away a hundred of my hard-earned dollars.
Getting my car back from a mechanic is one of my favorite feelings in the world and I decided to celebrate with a fresh tank of gas before finishing up work and heading into the city to meet my cousin. The (seemingly only) gas station in town looked like it was trying to close, but instead of backing down like I normally would in a scarcity frame of mind, I snuck in. I got set up and started pumping my gas when the customer using the other bay told me the pumps were broken and moving slow. He'd been there for 15 minutes and only got a gallon of gas. A gallon's better than nothing, I thought to myself and thanked him for the intel. I noticed my pump was moving faster than his but I still had time to kill, so I fumbled around with some things in my car and started up a nice conversation with the gas station attendant who came out to officially stop new folks like me from sneaking into the place.
I walked back to my gas tank waiting for it to stop pumping when all of a sudden I felt moisture on my hand, something spritzing. Rain? Maybe, but I'm under the gas station canopy. Gas. It's gas. Gas is spraying everywhere!
Unbeknownst to all of us, part of the issue with the broken pump was that the sensors no longer worked and didn't detect that my tank was well beyond full. Gas was shooting out of my car like fireworks on the fourth of July. My gas station attendant friend went to grab the sand bucket while I tried to drain any excess gas from my tank and clean my car, and myself. When he returned, he paused between me and the other customer still hoping to get one more gallon of gas on the next bay. "Isn't it so funny," he said with wide, amused eyes "how some people don't have enough, and other people have too much?!"
Funny is one word to describe it, and it's only funny to you if you're on the side of too much. And there are so many directions in which this can be taken, and my mind went right to the drastic income inequality in the U.S. When we look at our socioeconomic disparity, the way systemic racism plays a role in it, and how there are people who can try to manifest their way out of struggle but will continue to have the system throttling their intake, we may realize that abundance comes with some degree of privilege. Even if it abundance means getting gasoline all over your clothes.
But I tried staying more positive (because I get to, and needed to). For me, there in that moment, I could almost hear the Universe say "but you asked for abundance!" Gas wasn't the thing I was looking for, but it worked nonetheless. Because even in this situation where abundance created a bit of a mess, I felt guilty for being the one on the side of too much. As much as I hate the struggle, there's something about me and how I feel about me, that leaves me more comfortable having less. And I'm so over that.
One part of the abundance meditation is to visualize a forest full of trees upon which money does, in fact, grow, and how you can go grab whatever you needed when you need it. It's a peaceful imagery but one I can't fully lean into without thinking but there's a monster guarding the perimeter of that forest, right? And he's going to try to kill me before I leave with the money? It's as if I think having abundance is theft or some kind of crime I'll have to pay for.
Clocking these instinctual reactions, like with all things, is so critical to recognizing the underlying core beliefs we hold about ourselves and who we are in the world. Even though I've put in a lot of work to process through these core beliefs, there are some areas within me where they've chosen to hide and stick around. But we can do the work, and we can create change -- all of us, privilege or not -- and we can walk away with an abundance of gasoline, $2 of which I'll never get off the pavement. In other words, I don't believe that spectacle was a coincidence. I tried to move some things around in me and the Universe responded. It just responded in a clumsy way much the same way I executed the request. Imagine what can happen once I fine tune this abundance thing, eh?