The other day, I ordered a coffee that cost four bucks and some change. I had four dollar bills. But when I dug into my wallet for the change, there were no real coins inside – just two gold game tokens. What!? The guy behind the counter laughed, wondering aloud if I had a clever kid at home {ahem. yes.}. And then he told me not to worry about coming up short and handed me my latte.

Ahhh, so grateful.

It felt like a funny little nudge from the universe after a couple of weeks of struggling with my abundance mindset. See, I believe my thoughts create my reality: when I focus on what I’m lacking, more loss and deprivation surfaces for me; but when I focus on the riches in my life, I feel {and am} taken care of.

Well, that perspective’s been put to the test recently. A perfect storm of big family and work expenditures combined with unexpected delays in some major client payments put us in a serious pinch. And friends? I started to fret. And the more I did, the worse I felt – and, it seemed, the worse things got. I got mad at every bill that arrived in the mailbox. I tensed up every time I thought about things we needed to buy, big and small. I started to doubt anyone would ever buy anything from me ever again. Oh yeah. I went there. That downward spiral is quick and harsh.

And then, one morning, I opened up my Notes from the Universe email. I don’t read them every day; only when I feel moved to do so. It was a super simple message – advising me to “act as if” –  but those three words woke me up. Part of my belief system is that, in order to attract more of what I desire, I must act as if it already exists. And I totally wasn’t doing that.

Shifting to “act as if” didn’t mean spending frivolously as if money was no object. But it did mean that I needed to trust I always have enough and that there’s plenty to go around, to believe that more is coming, to honor my resourcefulness, to celebrate the abundance I already have. I’d been doing the opposite. It’s like Eckhart Tolle writes in A New Earth:

So, I made a conscious move to focus not on what I didn’t have – but on what I did have, and to express my deep-down gratitude for it all. It was possible to witness my own wealth in every mundane moment of the day.

As the temperature dropped and I got the kids ready for school, I felt gratitude knowing I could send them out into the world all warm and cozy, wearing last year’s winter coats and hats. Abundance.

As I pulled into a gas station to fill up my tank, I whispered “thank you” for not only having the money to get gas but to have my own transportation. Abundance. 

Boiling water for mac & cheese that night, I relished having all we needed to eat dinner as a family: fresh water, a working stove, a cupboard full of pots and pans, food in the pantry, schedules that allowed for us to gather around the table together. Abundance. 

And as I counted my blessings instead of the bills, our bounty grew as unexpected gifts appeared. An old friend offered free tickets to a family movie. Invitations to speak and contribute to new projects showed up out of the blue. And a package arrived on our doorstep: Verizon, who gave me a Samsung Galaxy SIII this summer as part of my participation in their Midwest Savvy Moms program, sent me a second device: an LG Intuition tablet. Another high-tech device to play with!? My kids think we’ve won the lottery!

Because we have. We have totally struck it rich – and I clearly needed a reminder. No matter how much is in my wallet – whether real money or gold tokens – I am grateful for living a life of amazing abundance.