A glass fruit bowl holds oranges, lemons, and limes.

Abundance Freshly Squeezed

A friend who is interested in personal rituals once told me about a fun way to keep the goal of abundance at the forefront of my mind. The idea was to place something that symbolized abundance for me near the main entrance of my home, and for some reason, the idea really resonated. I did a little research and found that the practice of putting a symbol of abundance near the front door has been popularized in Europe and the Americas by the proliferation of ideas from Feng Shui, but that similar concepts exist in a variety of cultural traditions.

But what was my personal symbol of abundance?

The Search for Abundance

Uncharacteristically, I decided not to dive into a focused quest for such a symbol, but rather simply let myself be led to one. I opened myself, paid attention to my surroundings, and then trusted that I would discover my own personal symbol of abundance.

About a week after making that decision, a couple of friends invited me over to their house for dinner. I had been to their home many times, but that night as we sat down to eat, I noticed something new. On the antique wooden buffet there twinkled a clear glass punch bowl. The shiny receptacle was filled with dozens of juicy key limes. Can you imagine anything as beautiful, fragrant, and ultimately delicious as a bounty of fresh citrus fruit? I couldn’t, and I knew immediately that my personal symbol for abundance was citrus.  

Abundance and Childhood Experience

Why had I reacted so strongly to the sight of the limes? The answer would take me on a journey of recollections that I hadn’t previously considered as a coherent narrative.  

Although real limes had not been part of my childhood, I had always liked the flavor of citrus. My parents bought oranges and other fruit to have as snacks all year long, but the winter holidays were especially abundant with citrus. At that time of year, my parents received gift boxes of citrus from a family friend. It was the only time I remember having grapefruit, and therefore I regarded them as special. I loved to eat those grapefruit for breakfast, cut in half and sprinkled with a little sugar. In my recollection, those Christmas boxes contained dozens of oranges and grapefruit, although I think that’s probably an exaggeration of childhood memories. But perhaps the extravagance of childhood imagination is also a manifestation of abundance.

stained glass window featuring a bowl full of a variety of fruits.

Recalling the Christmas fruit boxes also pulled my citrus attention to another life-long memory. My family has always had an antique stained-glass window: it is an heirloom and a relic of a by-gone age. Although it was meant to be an actual window, it has functioned for many decades as a decorative wall-hanging. That stained-glass window, which I remember from my earliest childhood, features a luminous bowl of glass fruit, which includes a bright yellow lemon and an orange. That window, like nothing else in my childhood home, signified sophistication; and sophistication might be considered, it seems to me, an abundance of style.

Abundance of Teenage Fun

When I was in high school, it occurred to me that there was something interesting and a bit stylish about living abroad. Being from a middle-class rural background, I felt my best chance at an international experience was to apply to be an exchange student. I won a scholarship to complete my last year of secondary education in Spain and was placed with a host family in a Spanish city called Ceuta in north Africa.

A photo of the Spanish city of Ceuta on the Mediterranean coastline.

My host family lived in a piso or condominium toward the end of the city’s main shopping street. The boulevard was lined with decorative orange trees, and so the sight and fragrance of the oranges accompanied me to and from school each day. Those orange trees would also witness the making of friends and the abundance of carefree fun in those last months before the pressures of college life.

Life-Long Abundance

As I examined my personal experiences connecting citrus and abundance, I kept finding more examples, and I discovered that they weren’t only from my past. In recent years, I discovered the joys of hot mulled wine flavored with oranges and spices during the winter holidays. Once I had come to see citrus as my symbol for abundance, I began to seek out creative ways to get more citrus into my life; and isn’t that the definition of abundance… having more of the things you love? I began to make pomander balls (ornamented oranges spiked with cloves) for a sweet-smelling decoration. I started saving the rinds of lemons, oranges, and limes in order to candy them, and I now use candied citrus peel as gifts and as ingredients in many of my new favorite dishes. Now that I know my personal connection between abundance and these fruits, I’m always on the lookout for fun new ways to enjoy the look, taste, and smell of citrus.

What is Your Abundance?

With abundant reasons for my personal symbol of citrus, I now always have a bowl of delicious citrus near the front door to welcome additional abundance into my home. I welcome you to examine your own life and experiences to discover all the abundance they contain.

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