At a Toastmaster’s meeting one night, before the gathering’s formal opening, I overhear a member from India describing how some people in Phoenix, Arizona spray their large citrus trees to keep them from producing fruit. With the pitch and volume of his voice rising, he emphatically announces his closing questions and statements to the group.


“How can people do this—so selfishly? Keep a fruit tree from bearing its fruit? It is unnatural. Don’t they realize the number of people who are literally starving in the world—in Phoenix even? These trees are meant to bear fruit not to be grown as mere decorations. People should be collecting this fruit and donating it to food shelters!”

“The luxury of excess,” I think to myself, while remembering with gratitude the number of bulging bags of fresh lemons I have received recently as gifts.

One of my adult, yoga students has a sister living in Phoenix, who is periodically overwhelmed by the sheer volume of fruit her citrus trees produce. Yet, this Phoenix-based woman finds a way to distribute the bounty from her trees among grateful family members and friends, who—when they feel overwhelmed—expand the circle of generosity to include an even broader group of grateful people, some of whom live several hours away.

“Excess” is meant to be cultivated, and then it is meant to be shared liberally and freely. When “too much” is redistributed generously, it becomes “bounty” which is a wonderful circumstance indeed.