California recently emerged from a drought that lasted 376 weeks. From December 2011 to March 2017, the state endured one of the most intense droughts in California history. The cause was attributed to a ridge of high pressure in the Pacific Ocean, named the “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge” which often barred winter storms from reaching the state. Researchers can see evidence of past droughts by analyzing tree rings, smaller during periods of drought.
For those of you living in the state, you will recall the winter storm blasts beginning in 2017. Snow for days. The cumulative effect resulted in the state being declared drought free by mid-March 2019. I live not far from Truckee, California – near Lake Tahoe – and the stories of the snow piling up around the town were intense. There was literally nowhere to put the snow it fell in such abundant quantities.
At the same time the California drought was in a period of recovery, my creative life was in a season of drought. The internal stirring to create was strong, but nothing was happening. Creativity for me is more than creative arts, yes, it’s that, painting, writing, but it’s also putting together groups, pouring into others. That area? Nothing, nada. And I felt it rolling around inside me in the form of frustration. I kept dreaming and the “I want to,” phrase was one I told myself frequently as I worked through ideas, but they never came to fruition.
Until they did.
Within the last month, it’s as though the floodgates have opened. The drought ended, and rain began pouring from the sky. When that happens after a period of environmental drought? There’s a risk of a flash flood. The ground can only absorb the moisture so fast and the additional water must go somewhere, anywhere.
What was one, two opportunities became five and six and as I reflected on the abundance, on how I would juggle, a mixture of excitement and overwhelmed was cooking inside me. Overwhelmed won, for a moment.
But I realized that I had a choice. I could do anything I wanted, but I couldn’t do it all. Tough to come to grips with for someone who prides herself just that. Who doesn’t want to let anyone down by saying no. At this phase in life though, wisdom prevailed. We might think we have to do it all, but we don’t. What we need to do is realize where our strengths and talents lie and lean in. The other stuff, the stuff that’s fun and we have interest in? That’s all well and good, but if it spreads us too thin, if it pulls away from our area of strength, should we pursue it? For me, the answer was no.
Because, although the period of drought is fresh in my mind, thinking that there will never be other opportunities like this is a scarcity mindset. There will be more. For any of us, if we choose an abundance mindset, there will be more. When we have the abundance mindset, it’s easier to stay within our boundaries. Saying yes to the right things and being comfortable saying no to the not quite right things.
What are you saying yes to right now that you should be saying no? The choice is yours but if you’re saying a soft yes, a wavering yes, an “I guess so,” yes…the answer is probably no. You can say no. There will be more. And when you can say a strong yes? You’ll know it’s right and as you lean in to your areas of strength, you’ll find abundance will continue to flow into all the right places in your life.