How a Bike Thief Moved Me From Scarcity to Abundance
My bike was stolen today. It’s not a new bike. It’s not an expensive bike. It wasn’t even in the best condition. The chain was rusting, and it was a little dirty. But it was mine, and it’s hard not to feel violated by the thought that someone broke into my parking garage and very intentionally stole my pretty pink beach cruiser!
As a coach, I know that my thoughts about the situation are what is causing my stress and sadness, and I can change those thoughts. But I’m also a firm believer in honoring my emotions, and giving myself the time I need to feel through them: the sadness, the anger, the unfairness. I tend to be guilty of trying to think positively and find the silver lining right away, but I’ve realized that in situations like this, it’s so important to let myself just feel sad. To sit inside the sadness until it teaches me what I’m supposed to know.
It’s important not to get stuck inside the sadness – there’s a critical difference here – but to let myself feel it as deeply as I need to because the only way out is through.
What happened next is interesting, and the reason I wanted to share my thought process with you. I discovered my bike was stolen because I was going to ride it to Sprouts to pick up some groceries for dinner. I ended up driving to Sprouts instead, and after spending much longer than usual finding the things I needed because I was emotionally multi-tasking, I finally made it to the checkout lane.
Creating “Me Too” Moments
I’m usually a fairly private person when it comes to small talk. I tend to be overly conscious of not sharing things the guy or girl at the checkout counter does not want to hear – they’re stuck and can’t go anywhere, after all – and that was my plan today as well. The Sprouts checker asked how I was and I gave him the pat answer of “fine,” and as the small talk progressed, he asked how my day was going. I wasn’t about to lie at that point, so I timidly and sheepishly told him that I was feeling very sad because my bike had been stolen.
I know that may be the obvious response for many, but that felt vulnerable for me. I was letting him know that I was, in fact, not fine at all. I don’t like offering information like this to complete strangers, but by doing so, I created the opportunity for a “me too” moment, and that’s exactly what happened. It turns out that he had his very nice and very expensive bike stolen a few years ago after riding to the grocery store and emerging with two full and heavy shopping bags of groceries. He had to walk the mile home with those groceries and also figure out how to get around because, at that point in his life, he didn’t have a car. Talk about perspective.
Our Money Mindset
After I got home, I reached out to my next door neighbor and friend to tell her what happened. I needed the space to vent to someone who would empathize and understand. She beautifully created that space and this led into a conversation about our money mindset.
I knew that the primary source of stress behind my stolen bike was what it cost me financially – even though the amount is not that high. Once again folks, it was just a beach cruiser! But I tend to come from a place of scarcity with money. I struggle with feeling like I never have enough, so when I have to replace something, that very limiting belief kicks into high gear.
Recognizing the Choice of Abundance & Gratitude
In that moment, I recognized the choice: I could continue viewing the situation from that “never enough” place, focused on what it would cost me to replace the bike, or I could move into a place of abundance and gratitude. While I don’t have an overflowing savings account, I do have enough to buy another bike if I want to. My beach cruiser was not my only mode of transportation (which is a very good thing – the no gears thing is quite limiting!) and thankfully it was only my bike that was stolen. Not my car.
As I began moving closer to a perspective of abundance, my neighbor reminded me of something that led me to a place of even deeper gratitude. Rent everywhere in Los Angeles has been skyrocketing for several years, and I’ve lived in this apartment for over five years. My neighbor and I both moved in while rent was still much lower, and we save quite a lot each month as a result. But it’s easy to forget this. She reminded me that apartments all over the Westside, including in our apartment building, are renting for prices exponentially higher than what we’re paying.
Part of the negative thoughts that were generating some anger stemmed from the fact that I live in a building where there is bike and package theft. There is a new metro stop that is walkable from my place, and while this can be extremely convenient, it’s also been proven to increase crime. But if I lived in another building that was in a slightly “safer” area, or anywhere else in LA at this point, I would be paying significantly more each month than what I will have to pay to replace my cruiser. Sometimes we need to be reminded of the things we can’t see on our own in these moments.
The Gift Lives Within the Lesson
As I hope you can detect by this point, the issue was never really about my stolen bike, although the feelings of violation and the inconvenience that accompanies something like this are absolutely valid. The lesson this situation gifted to me is the opportunity to look within and create the powerful shift in focus from “never enough” to abundance and gratitude for all that I have.
Do you struggle with a “never enough” mentality as well? If so, maybe what I’ve learned through this experience can help you in some, small way. These are the steps I took to move from scarcity to abundance:
- Simply be still and allow all of your emotions to slowly rise to the surface.
- Honor each one of them, feeling them all the way through.
- Recognize when it’s time to move into a more positive state, to avoid becoming stuck in these initial emotions.
- Look for potential “me too” moments that can create connection and help you feel less alone.
- Identify what you need to process, whether it’s being alone, writing out all of your thoughts, feelings, and frustrations, reaching out to someone else to talk through the situation, or a combination of all three.
- Begin moving into a place of abundance by acknowledging everything for which you can be grateful in this specific situation.
I’d like to leave you with a bonus step. If, after moving through these six steps, you still feel stuck in sadness, identify someone in your life who could benefit from your help and encouragement and reach out to them. This is the best strategy to get out of our own way. It immediately shifts your focus to that other person, changing your emotional state from sadness to compassion and service.
It’s so easy to feel alone in the way we think and feel, but it only takes a moment of vulnerability and sometimes a little courage to confirm that those things are universal.