Land and Expand

August 25th, 2011 by Steve Pavlina

Whenever I write about abundance and the Law of Attraction, there’s always someone to reply, “Easy for you to say, Steve! You have X, Y, and Z, so of course it’s easy to talk about abundance when you’re already enjoying an abundant life.”

How do I respond to this?

First off, these people are right. It is easy for me to share my thoughts on abundance. Even the words on abundance are abundant.

I could make it sound more difficult if you think it would help, but I’d have to fake it.

At one time it was a real challenge for me to hold the vibe of abundance. I had every reason not to: bills piling up that I couldn’t pay, 6-figure debt coupled with a low income that didn’t cover my basic expenses, creditors calling 10 times a day, falling behind on my rent, an unreliable car, a grossly negative net worth, less than $100 total in the bank, using a cardboard box as a piece of furniture, and… a pregnant wife.

Mired in Scarcity

Many people hold the belief that if you look around and can point to sufficient evidence of scarcity, that this is a good enough reason to consider abundance to be an unrealistic pipe dream for the time being.

That belief looks pretty good on paper. Obviously if you’re surrounded by evidence of scarcity, you’re in a situation that’s very likely to make you feel a sense of lack. Who wants to deal with collection agencies? Who wants to have their car break down? Who wants to get evicted?

Aren’t these negative experiences?

Let’s buy into that mindset for the sake of argument. Let’s assume that these experiences are negative, or at the very least undesirable.

Maybe a Zen master would be able to find peace among such turmoil, but you probably aren’t a Zen master, and neither am I.

So let’s just accept that it sucks to be in a situation that’s contrary to what you want.

The Horror, the Horror

Being in a scarcity situation is like watching a horror movie. You get dragged into the plight of the characters, so you feel their tension and fear. It’s difficult to watch such a movie and not be sucked into its emotional reality at least to some degree.

You could sit there watching that movie, trying not to feel anything, but what if it’s a horror movie marathon? Eventually you’ll be drawn in by one scene or another, and you’ll feel something. You probably can’t maintain the concentration to feel good or neutral the whole time you’re there, not with those movies playing right in front of you on a gigantic screen.

Same goes with real life. If you’re surrounded by a seemingly negative situation, how do you avoid feeling negative? You can try to feel positive for short bursts of time, but eventually the situation will suck you back in.

What do you do in such situations?

Change the Channel

Leave the theater. You’re not obliged to watch the entire horror marathon.

Maybe you think you have to sit through the whole thing because you bought a ticket. Can’t let it go to waste, right? But if you’re not enjoying the experience, why stay?

If you find the horror situation thrilling and compelling, and you want to ride it out, feel free. But if you’ve truly had enough and you’d rather do something else, then leave. There are no guards forcing you to stay put.

Now you can’t necessarily leave every aspect of your real life behind in an impulsive instant, but you can summarily abandon the old energies that no longer interest you. You can turn your back on whatever bugs you.

Even if you feel rooted to your seat during the horror marathon, you could pull out your cell phone and engage yourself with its tiny portal. You could choose to ignore what’s happening on the big screen. You won’t be sucked into the movie experience nearly as much if you do that.

You’re not obligated to give your attention to the negative scenes that are playing out in your life. If you don’t like what’s playing, don’t watch it — unless you truly desire the thrill it provides.

If you feel you must show up physically, then check out mentally and emotionally first. Give the bulk of your attention to something that’s more interesting to you.

Ditch the Bad Movie

What can you give your attention to instead of what you don’t want? Give your attention to what you want. If you don’t know what that is, then focus on anything that attracts you more than your current reality. Turn your back on whatever isn’t working in your life. Leave it behind like you’re walking out on a bad movie.

Some people will probably complain when you do this. Ignore them, or poke fun at them, but don’t let their whining get you down. They’re part of the bad movie experience, at least for now. They may come around later, but if they’re reinforcing a scarcity-based role for you, it’s best to abandon the whole production, no matter how much you like the other actors.

You’re perfectly capable of defining, creating, and then holding a vibe that’s completely out of sync with your current physical reality. This is precisely what conscious growth is.

Many people seem to believe they can’t do this, but they can. You do it whenever you change the channel on the TV or switch to a different website. It’s as easy as pushing a button. You simply shift your attention from one experience to another.

This is how you shift from scarcity to abundance. Commit to leaving the whole scarcity movie behind. Ignore it completely. Change your attention channel to abundance.

When you walk out, feel free to make a stink about it: “Scarcity, you suck! Worst movie I’ve ever seen. So repetitive and boring. I want a refund. Zero stars!”

Cinema Abbondanza

What’s playing in the other cinema?

Instead of just horror movies, you can enjoy comedies, romances, adventures, and more. The abundance theater is more modern, with crisper video and audio and comfy seats. Best of all, the floors are free of cinemuck.

To enter this theater, pretend you’re already there. Manufacture the experience in your body and mind. Create the laughter, the excitement, and the lovey-dovey feelings right where you are.

Perhaps the most important aspect of the abundance vibe is appreciation. It’s similar to that feeling you get when you just finished watching the best movie ever. What does that feel like for you? Can you reload such a feeling right now? How would you do that?

There are lots of ways to load up positive vibes. Some people do it by listening to their favorite music. Others like to visualize their desires as real. Some like to dance and sing or move their bodies around a lot. It’s really not complicated. If I asked you to load up a positive and abundant vibe, how would you do it? And how would you hold that vibe for at least 10 minutes?

Vibes and their realities are mutually reinforcing, so if you have a reality that’s congruent with a certain vibe, then all you need to do to maintain that vibe is to keep noticing the reality it’s connected to. If you’re in a scarcity situation, all that’s required to maintain scarcity is to keep noticing it. So it’s very easy to perpetuate scarcity once you’re there.

When you’re in an abundant reality, it’s equally easy to keep perpetuating abundance. Your reality will keep delivering more evidence of abundance.

But when you want to switch to a new reality and a new vibe, you can’t keep looking at the old reality since that will just reinforce the old vibe. You have to create the new vibe and/or a fictitious version of the new reality somewhere else on the side. You can do this by using your imagination and by carving out a location in time and/or space to plant the seeds of your new reality.

Plant the Seeds of Abundance

So first plant the seed of your new reality. Wedge it into your current space-time. Then keep watering that seed as you extend it in both time and space… until the new vibe has infected your reality to such a degree that it becomes the dominant vibe.

My preferred way of doing this is to dedicate a block of time each day to vibrational shifting work. I’m working on some fairly significant shifts for myself, so I’m currently devoting a good 1-2 hours per day to this.

I find it’s best to do this first thing in the morning, so as soon as I wake up, I instantly start thinking about the new reality I wish to experience. I load up the corresponding vibes and begin to experience them. It’s easy to do this in the morning since there’s nothing to distract me. I remind myself of some new desires, and I visualize them in a variety of ways. I imagine how I’d feel if I was already there.

This is not a complicated practice, so don’t act like you’re clueless as to how to do it. Be clueless and do it anyway.

As I go through my day, I try to extend this vibe further and further into my day (time extension).

When I went running this morning, I continued doing the visualizing and listened to some of my favorite music. After my run I sat in a park and appreciated the sunrise. I held that sense of appreciation for several minutes because I know I’ll expect that I’ll feel very appreciative when I’m physically experiencing my new reality, so that’s a congruent vibe to create now.

The very first day I start working on a new vibe shift, I may only hold the new vibe during my dedicated morning session, and if I’m lucky I’ll briefly reload it a few more times during the day if I can remember to do that. After several days of practice, I might be up to spending 30-50% of the day congruent with the new vibes. And I keep building up from there until the new vibe becomes so dominant and habitual that I barely even notice it — after a while it just feels normal.

Land and Expand

As I begin a new vibe shifting process, I try to keep planting ever more seeds throughout each day. Again, the morning is the easiest for me because it’s quiet, and I’m not distracted by anything else, so it’s not that difficult to plant the first seed there. But in addition to that, I’ll keep trying to attach this vibe to other parts of my day, as if I’m trying to infect my entire daily routine with a new thought virus.

When I unload the dishwasher, I reload the vibe. When I make food, I reload it. When I get into my car and put on my sunglasses, I reload it. When I sit down to do some writing, I reload it. When I write my to-do list for the next day, I reload it. I do this over several days, so eventually I create at least a half dozen daily triggers for the new vibe.

I have enough practice at this that it’s not too difficult to remember to do it, but if you find it difficult, then feel free to use physical triggers. For example, you could put up sticky notes around your environment to serve as reminders to load the new vibe whenever you get a chance.

This really doesn’t take any extra time because I just keep doing whatever I’d normally do, but I shift the vibe I experience while I’m doing it. So while I’m making a meal, for instance, I’m taking the same actions, but I remind myself to notice what an abundance of food I have and how awesome that is. I think of how easy it is for me to get more food if I need it. I think of how much I’ll enjoy the meal. I think of how much I enjoy sharing meals with my girlfriend. I think about experiencing different kinds of foods while I’m traveling and how much I enjoy those kinds of experiences. And so on.

Once I’ve planted the easy seeds, I keep watering those while I work on planting seeds in more challenging soil. When I’m sharing a meal with people, I pause and load up my new vibe mid-conversation and then continue from there. If I catch myself feeling frustrated, I pause and load up the new vibe. Eventually I’m doing this sort of vibe shifting perhaps 20 or more times per day, every day.

Basically I’m trying to infect as much of my daily reality with the new vibe as much as I can. Day after day, I’m gradually overwriting my old vibes and replacing them with new ones. The old vibes are congruent with my old reality, the one I’m ready to leave behind. The new vibes are what’s needed to attract the new reality that I’m ready to create.

Patience, Grasshopper

I’ve been through this process many times before, and I not only trust it, but I also enjoy it immensely. It’s a lot of fun once you get used to it.

At first I felt pretty frustrated by how long things seemed to take. But eventually I shifted my attitude about that, and I quite enjoy the anticipation of seeing the old reality shift to become my new reality. It reminds me of an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation called “Homeward”, where Worf and his brother have to move a group of people from one planet to another without letting the people know what’s happening. So they transport the people onto the holodeck and then program the holodeck to gradually transition the terrain from that of the first world to that of the second, as the people within the simulation seem to be walking a great distance.

As I do this vibe shifting work, I love to watch my reality gradually shifting day after day. I get super curious to see what elements of the shift will show up each week. At first the shifts seem fairly minor, but eventually I look back and realize that I’ve traveled a great distance from when I started, and my current reality bears little resemblance to the old one.

Time-wise it normally plays out on a schedule that looks something like this: At first nothing seems to be changing in my outer reality. It’s purely an inner shift, and it seems like what I’m experiencing has no resemblance to what I’m imagining. The new vibes are totally out of sync with my current reality. But within a few days, some minor synchronicities start popping up. Then gradually the external reality begins to change in small, almost trivial ways. People start acting a little differently towards me. I start getting new ideas. My behavioral patterns start changing a little. Usually after a week, it’s obvious that something’s up, but I can’t point to any serious results yet. After a month, I’m clearly seeing evidence of change, but I’m still not there yet. After about 3 months, I’m firmly grounded in the new reality, and now I can just coast to stay there.

I’m only a couple weeks into another round of vibe shifting work, so I’m in that early phase of enjoying seeing all the subtle shifts that are now coming each day. My work patterns are shifting, as you may have noticed by the shift in my blogging frequency this week. I’m going to bed and waking up at different times. My interactions with others are changing. I’m not trying to create these changes through deliberate action; the behavioral changes result from holding a different vibe for much of the day.

I’m enjoying the positive anticipation of what’s coming up as well as the mystery of how it’s playing out.

It is easier to trust this process when you’ve been through it a few times. It’s very much like planting a seed and knowing that it will grow into a plant, given enough time. At first you may not believe that a little seed can become a large plant, so perhaps you take a small leap of faith and trust a gardener who says that’s just how it works. Maybe you plant the first seed, and nothing happens. The gardener tells you that you have to water it, or it will die. You try again, and it still doesn’t work. The gardener reminds you to plant your seed out in the open sunlight, not in a dark room. Eventually you follow the gardener’s advice accurately enough to see the plant sprout. Once you reach that point, it’s easier to trust the process because then you can see the physical progress week after week. But when you first plant each seed, you have to keep watering it and trusting that the process is working even though you can’t see the evidence yet. It will eventually sprout.

When you’ve planted your new vibrational seeds and watched them grow into a whole new reality for you to experience, enjoy, and appreciate, rest assured that people who haven’t successfully grown those crops yet will ask you how you did it. Then when you tell them how it’s done, don’t be too surprised when they reply: Easy for you to say! ;)



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