Cultivating An Abundance Mindset

8 forms of wealth abundance mindset permaculture principles Aug 21, 2023
Cultivating an Abundance Mindset with Earth Mumma Permaculture

In a world often driven by scarcity, the concept of abundance thinking shines as a guiding light, offering a transformative perspective that aligns seamlessly with the principles of permaculture. This article points to the notion of the 8 forms of wealth as a multi-dimensional way to think of abundance and, therefore, develop it in our lives, and explores how to cultivate an abundance mindset. 

If permaculture is new to you, we suggest beginning with this article: So What Is Permaculture? 

Firstly, let’s get clear on what Abundance means: 

Abundance refers to a state of plentifulness, profusion, and richness in various aspects of life. It is a condition characterised by having more than enough resources, opportunities, and positive experiences. Abundance goes beyond material wealth and encompasses a sense of fulfilment, prosperity, and contentment. It is a mindset that acknowledges the potential for growth, expansion, and flourishing in various dimensions, including material, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual realms.

Abundance does not necessarily mean excess or extravagance but rather a balanced and sustainable flow of resources that supports well-being and the potential for growth. It is often associated with a positive outlook, gratitude, and the belief that there is more than enough to go around, both for oneself and for others.

In contrast, the scarcity mindset leads to doom and gloom, which arises from a place of fear and anticipation of scarcity, often driven by concerns about potential disasters or societal collapse. Individuals who adopt this perspective in permaculture may approach it primarily as a means of survival. They focus on accumulating resources, preparing for worst-case scenarios, and ensuring self-sufficiency. While their concerns may be valid, this mindset can lead to a narrow, fear-based approach that focuses on defending against imagined threats.

Either way, abundance or scarcity, both mindsets profoundly influence how individuals interact with and implement permaculture principles in their lives. We will delve deeper into each perspective later in this article. 

Whilst nature thrives in balance, we do too, so having a balanced perspective is helpful. It is true that all permaculture design outcomes consider potential threats, plan for self-sufficiency and aim for resilience. However, the difference is the abundance mindset has a “making life better” perspective, embracing the viewpoint that sees permaculture as a holistic framework that goes beyond survival, with the view of enriching the earth and people, to thrive. 

This is not about denying scarcity or not facing challenges with rose-coloured glasses of naivety. This article aims to present these contrasting mindsets for both perspectives, with the potential to integrate a balanced, proactive way forward with a solutions-focused intention.

The essence of Permaculture…

In the context of permaculture, abundance is reflected in the regenerative capacity of ecosystems, where cycles of growth, decay, and renewal create thriving environments. 

Abundance thinking is rooted in the understanding that nature's cycles inherently provide abundant resources when approached with respect and mindfulness. Embracing this in daily life involves recognising and appreciating the richness and possibilities that exist, fostering a sense of positivity, and making choices that align with sustainable growth and well-being.

By integrating these permaculture principles into your mindset, you can shift from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset. This shift will empower you to see the potential for growth, connection, and sustainability in every aspect of your life.

These are some examples of Abundance thinking that relate to each of the twelve principles

  1. Observe and Interact: Involves recognising the abundance of information that nature provides through observation. Instead of seeing limitations, individuals with an abundance mindset notice the wealth of patterns, relationships, and cycles that offer insights for sustainable decision-making. How-to: regularly observe your garden and local environment, noticing patterns and interactions. Keep a journal to record your observations and learn from nature's abundance.
  2. Catch and Store Energy: Appreciating the abundance of renewable energy sources available and capturing and storing energy, both physical and metaphorical. This principle extends to storing knowledge, experiences, and relationships for later use. At Home: Install solar panels or a rainwater harvesting system to capture and store energy from the sun and rain for household use if possible and build/maintain your personal energy levels with healthy habits that regenerate your well-being. 
  3. Obtain a Yield: Seeking multiple yields from a single action or resource. We aim to maximise the benefits and returns from our efforts, embracing the idea that nature's abundance offers diverse rewards beyond the obvious. How-to: Plant a diverse range of edible plants in your garden to increase diversity to harvest food all year, and generate yields in all 8 forms of capital/wealth. 
  4. Apply Self-Regulation and Accept Feedback: Viewing feedback as a wealth of information guiding better decisions that involve adapting behaviours to align with nature's abundant feedback systems. We understand that feedback is useful information guiding us towards more sustainable choices. At home: Embrace feedback from your garden's health, adjust watering, fertility and care based on its response, and learn from our mistakes and successes. 
  5. Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services: Recognising the abundance of renewable resources that nature provides to use them to meet needs. We focus on harnessing nature's abundance sustainably and avoiding overexploitation. At Home: Utilise compost as a renewable resource, turning kitchen scraps into nutrient-rich soil amendments gardening.  
  6. Produce No Waste: Seeing waste as an untapped resource with potential. We find opportunities to repurpose and regenerate resources, aligning with nature's cycles of abundance. At home: Compost kitchen waste and yard clippings to create nutrient-rich compost, enriching your soil and efficiently consuming what you need. Buy quality, repair when possible and borrow/share when you can. 
  7. Design from Patterns to Details: Recognising patterns of abundance in nature's designs. We can observe and mimic these growth patterns, allowing the design to harness the inherent richness of nature's systems. At Home: Design garden beds using principles of biomimicry to create efficient and productive spaces like herb spirals, banana circles, and food forests. Do activities that suit the season, time of day and circadian rhythm. 
  8. Integrate Rather Than Segregate: Acknowledge the synergistic relationships between elements and the abundance that emerges from interconnected relationships. We seek to create connections and collaborations that yield abundant results, just as diverse ecosystems thrive through symbiotic relationships. At Home: Practice companion planting where different plants support and benefit each other, optimising growth and yields. Consider all perspectives to inform decisions. 
  9. Use Small and Slow Solutions: Getting started, one step at a time, valuing gradual growth and accumulating resources and benefits. We understand that slow, well-planned approaches often lead to more sustainable and abundant outcomes. At Home: Start growing annual veggies and herbs around your house, small-scale in close proximity, and plant a fruit tree, orchard or food forest, allowing them to grow and provide abundant harvests over time slowly.
  10. Use and Value Diversity: Acknowledging the wealth and stability benefits from diversity and embracing the diverse gifts in varied ecosystems and communities. We recognise that diversity offers resilience, adaptability, and a broader range of resources and perspectives. At Home: Plant various native plants in your garden to attract diverse pollinators and plants that will enable you to yield health and well-being in different forms; nutrition, air quality, relaxation, comfort, protection and inspiration. 
  11. Use Edges and Value the Marginal: Recognising and leveraging the richness of edge environments where different ecosystems meet. We see the potential in these transitional spaces, known as eco-tones and apply them to our lives for increased productivity and creativity. At Home: Utilise the edges of your garden beds for planting herbs, vertical walls, ponds, lawns and different microclimates of sun, shade, and hot, cool areas to maximise the use of space. 
  12. Creatively Use and Respond to Change: Embracing change as an opportunity for growth and adaptation. We anticipate change and find creative ways to harness it for benefit, aligning with nature's ability to respond to evolving conditions. At Home: Experiment with different gardening techniques and adapt your practices based on the changing needs of your plants, and embrace your role as a change-maker to make your life better with creativity and sustainable earth-based practices. 

By embodying abundance thinking in relation to each permaculture principle, we can create a thriving, sustainable, and abundant home environment that aligns with nature's regenerative cycles. More detailed examples are provided later in this article so keep on reading!

The 8 Forms of Wealth…

As we explore the synergy between abundance thinking, permaculture, and the 8 forms of wealth, we uncover a holistic framework that extends beyond monetary wealth and encompasses diverse aspects of our lives, reminding us that abundance transcends the material realm.

The concept originated within the permaculture movement as a framework for understanding wealth and resources in a more holistic and diverse way. It was popularised by the designer and educator Ethan Roland Soloviev as the framework expands the traditional understanding of wealth beyond purely financial assets and highlights various dimensions of resources that contribute to a prosperous and sustainable life.

Often referred to as the 8 forms of capital, wealth is interchangeable here and a personal preference because of this meaning and sound; well-th. It is not limited to the financial realm and looks at the overall quality of life.

Here are the 8 forms of holistic wealth with practical application to create more abundance: 

  1. Time Wealth: Abundance thinking empowers us to make time for what truly matters. Permaculture, through efficient design, allows us to harness time more effectively by creating self-sustaining systems. Allocating time for self-care, relaxation, and meaningful connections with loved ones.  How-to: Practice conscious spending by investing in sustainable products, supporting local businesses, and contributing to causes aligned with abundance thinking.Allocating resources to permaculture projects that promote regenerative practices, such as creating a self-sustaining garden or participating in community initiatives.
  2. Intellectual Wealth: The abundance mindset nurtures intellectual curiosity and the belief that knowledge is boundless. Permaculture's emphasis on observation and learning parallels the mindset of continuous growth in intellectual capital. Engaging in lifelong learning and skill development to enrich your intellectual capital. Sharing knowledge and expertise with your community, embodying abundance by contributing to others' growth and learning.
  3. Material Wealth: Permaculture's focus on resource efficiency resonates here, emphasising the value of utilising materials responsibly, recycling, and repurposing to create abundance within our material environment. Reducing waste by repurposing materials and creatively reusing items in your everyday life. Participating in upcycling projects, transforming discarded items into useful resources, aligning with permaculture's ethic of "produce no waste.
  4. Living Wealth: This aligns perfectly with permaculture's view of the earth as a living system. An abundance mindset recognises the interconnectedness of all living beings, urging us to care for and regenerate the living capital of ecosystems. Planting native trees, supporting biodiversity, and participating in conservation efforts to nurture and regenerate living capital. Implementing permaculture techniques that restore soil health, water systems, and wildlife habitats, contributing to the living capital of your environment.
  5. Cultural Wealth: Both permaculture and abundance thinking advocate for a thriving community. An abundance mindset fosters collaborative approaches, celebrating diverse cultures and traditions, as permaculture integrates the wisdom of the land's indigenous people. Engaging in cultural exchange events, workshops, and dialogues to celebrate diversity and strengthen cultural capital. Learning from indigenous practices that harmonise with the land, incorporating their wisdom into your permaculture endeavours.
  6. Social Wealth: Building strong relationships, another manifestation of abundance thinking, is integral to permaculture's emphasis on community and cooperation. Nurturing social capital cultivates a web of support and shared growth. Building community networks and relationships through local gatherings, workshops, and collaborative projects. Sharing resources, knowledge, and experiences within your community fosters a culture of reciprocity and abundance.
  7. Spiritual Wealth: This aligns with the holistic view of abundance thinking, acknowledging the richness of spiritual growth and fulfilment. Permaculture's reverence for nature resonates here, as the natural world often serves as a source of spiritual connection. Engaging in mindfulness practices, spending time in nature, and exploring spiritual growth opportunities. Viewing the natural world as a source of spiritual connection aligns with permaculture's reverence for the Earth's abundance and cycles. Designing efficient and sustainable systems within your home and garden to free up time for activities aligned with abundance thinking.
  8. Financial Wealth: The most recognisable form, it aligns with traditional wealth. Abundance thinking doesn't negate financial prosperity; rather, it encourages conscious stewardship and equitable distribution of resources.

The connection between the abundance mindset, permaculture, and the 8 forms of wealth…

Abundance thinking is not just a mindset; it's a paradigm shift that aligns harmoniously with permaculture's philosophy and the multi-dimensional essence of the 8 forms of wealth. By embracing abundance thinking, we embrace the interconnected tapestry of life, honour the wisdom of nature, and contribute to the flourishing of all forms of wealth. As we tread this path, we discover that abundance is not a finite destination but a journey of conscious living and sustainable growth. Of thriving, not just surviving. 

Scarcity mindset and abundance thinking represent contrasting perspectives that significantly impact how individuals approach life, resources, and opportunities, particularly within permaculture. 

A scarcity mindset is characterised by a belief in lack, often perceiving or experiencing limited resources, opportunities, and possibilities. This perspective can lead to feelings of helplessness, fear, and a focus on what is lacking rather than what is available.

In the context of permaculture, a poverty mindset might manifest as a reluctance to invest time, effort, or resources into sustainable practices due to a perceived scarcity of those resources or thinking that our individual efforts make no difference.

Let's explore this contrast from mindset and approach;  

 Scarcity Thinking, Doom and Gloom Preppers
Abundance Thinking, Making Life Better
Driven by fear and scarcity, leading to a focus on stockpiling and defensive measures.
Optimistic and solution-oriented, leading to practices that foster growth, collaboration, and sustainable abundance.
Resource Management:
Resources are amassed and protected against perceived threats, sometimes leading to a hoarding mentality.
Resources are managed with consideration for sustainability, sharing, and regeneration, aligning with nature's cycles.
Community Engagement:
Focus may be on self-sufficiency, potentially leading to isolation from community.
Collaboration and community-building are emphasised, recognising that abundance can be multiplied through shared efforts.
Approach to Challenges:
Challenges are seen as potential crises, causing anxiety and stress.
Challenges are viewed as opportunities for growth, creativity, and innovation.
Long-Term Vision:
The focus is on surviving and weathering potential hardships.
The focus is on thriving, creating a sustainable, regenerative future that benefits both individuals and the environment.

How to cultivate an abundance mindset…

The difference between the abundance and scarcity mindset lies in how individuals perceive and interact with the world around them. Abundance thinking aligns with permaculture's principles of observation, regeneration, and resourcefulness, while a scarcity mindset may hinder the full realisation of the benefits and potential offered by sustainable living practices.

Using the permaculture framework involves aligning your perspectives and behaviours with the ethics or values of Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share, along with the principles, which a guiding decision-making tools. Explanations and examples of each of the twelve principles have already been provided, however, to reiterate the application to mindful thinking, here are five ways to cultivate an abundance mindset within the context of permaculture:

  1. Practice Observation and Interaction: One of permaculture's core principles is to observe and interact with nature to understand its patterns and cycles. Apply this principle to your mindset by observing the abundance present in natural systems. Spend time in nature, whether in a forest, garden, park, ocean or even desert and observe how life thrives and regenerates, even in the most challenging landscapes. Recognise that abundance exists within ecosystems and can be harnessed through sustainable practices. Nature provides proof of abundance just by looking!
  2. Embrace Regeneration: In permaculture, regeneration is key to sustaining ecosystems. Apply this concept to your mindset by focusing on regenerative behaviours. Instead of dwelling on what is lacking, identify areas in your life where you can regenerate resources, relationships, and opportunities. Decay and death are part of biology and life; however, it is not the end. All energy transforms and feeds new life in the process. Just as permaculture designs systems to replenish the land, you can design your life to replenish your mind and surroundings.
  3. Value Diversity: Diversity is crucial in permaculture to enhance resilience and productivity. Apply this principle to your mindset by valuing the diversity of experiences, ideas, and perspectives. Embrace the idea that there can be an abundance of viewpoints or perspectives, which can lead to richer insights and solutions. Seek opportunities to learn from different sources, engage with diverse communities, and broaden your understanding of the world.
  4. Minimise Waste and Repurpose: Permaculture promotes using waste as a resource. Apply this concept to your mindset by minimising wasteful thoughts and behaviours. When you catch yourself thinking in terms of lack or scarcity, pause and reframe your perspective. Repurpose negative thoughts into opportunities for growth. Just as permaculture transforms waste into compost, you can transform limiting beliefs into opportunities for change. Set up daily habits that create efficiency in your life and be specific about what you will consume or let into your life - things, information etc, that nourish and meet your needs, not waste your energy, time or money. 
  5. Collaborate and Share: Permaculture encourages collaboration and sharing of resources within communities. Apply this mindset to your own life by fostering collaboration and sharing experiences, knowledge, and resources with others. Recognise that sharing does not diminish your own abundance but multiplies it. Embrace the idea that by contributing to others' well-being, you contribute to the overall abundance of the community.

Design Your Mind...

We need to face our challenges. While it is certainly important to consider scarcity or lack and be aware of the world's uncertainties, it is equally important to act with solutions to design, plan for and manage risk. Doom and gloom can motivate, though it is a ‘moving away from’ action that has outcomes mentioned already regarding scarcity. The "abundance, making life better" perspective embraces a more holistic, positive, and collaborative approach that seeks to cultivate abundance through self-development, sustainable practices and community engagement.

There is a concept of Zone 00 in permaculture which refers to the center or core of a design, typically representing the individual, their living space, and their immediate personal sphere. It serves as a starting point for planning and implementing permaculture principles in one's life, recognising that our mindset and the way we think, and the actions we can make, can be more than sustainable, they can be regenerative. 

Here are some simple examples of how each permaculture principle can be applied to designing oneself in Zone 00:

Observe and Interact:

  • Regularly reflect on your thoughts, emotions, and habits to gain insight into your inner landscape.
  • Practice mindfulness and self-awareness, observing how your actions align with your values and goals.

Catch and Store Energy:

  • Prioritise self-care to build up physical and mental energy reserves.
  • Engage in activities that recharge you, such as spending time in nature, practicing yoga, or meditating.

Obtain a Yield:

  • Seek personal growth and learning experiences that yield positive outcomes.
  • Invest time in acquiring new skills that enhance your well-being and contribute to your overall development.

Apply Self-Regulation and Accept Feedback:

  • Cultivate self-discipline and regulate your habits to align with your long-term goals.
  • Ask for and be open to feedback from others and use it as a tool for personal growth and improvement.

Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services:

  • Use your time and energy efficiently, valuing them as precious resources.
  • Engage in activities that replenish your energy, such as spending time with loved ones or engaging in hobbies.

Produce No Waste:

  • Minimise negative self-talk and mental clutter that can lead to emotional waste.
  • Focus on cultivating positive thoughts and attitudes, reducing mental and emotional waste.

Design from Patterns to Details:

  • Recognise patterns in your behaviour, emotions, and reactions.
  • Design routines and habits that align with positive patterns and support your well-being.

Integrate Rather Than Segregate:

  • Foster relationships and connections with others, recognising the value of community support.
  • Collaborate with others in personal growth initiatives, workshops, or wellness activities.
  • Accept and welcome all aspects of yourself instead of judging. 

Use Small and Slow Solutions:

  • Embrace gradual personal growth by setting achievable goals over time.
  • Avoid overwhelming yourself with rapid changes, allowing for time sustainable transformation.
  • Take one step at a time and celebrate successes. 

Use and Value Diversity:

  • Embrace the diversity within yourself, valuing all aspects of your identity.
  • Recognise the strengths and uniqueness of your qualities, skills, and experiences.

Use Edges and Value the Marginal:

  • Navigate the edges of your comfort zone as a valuable place to grow beyond. 
  • Embrace challenges and setbacks as opportunities for growth and learning.

Creatively Use and Respond to Change:

  • Adapt to personal changes with an open mind.
  • Trust in the unknown to embrace change as a chance to explore new perspectives and approaches to your life. 

By integrating these permaculture principles into your mindset, you can shift from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset. This shift will empower you to see the potential for growth, connection, and sustainability in every aspect of your life. 

Inspired? Go on to connect with other like-minded people with a vision and mission for an abundant future and take action!

P.S. We explore this concept as a full lesson in the Nature Kids Permaculture Program for Families. If you want to Connect, Nourish and Grow, this is the curriculum and community to be part of. Otherwise join us in person for one of our workshops or courses!

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