- Martha Engeman
Being Enough and Inside Out Living
Lately I have been practicing embracing the concept that I am enough. In a recent journal entry, I wrote the following:
“What if I knew for sure that I am enough and that I have enough? What if I lived my life from the place of ‘enoughness’ in all things? How would my life be different? How would it be the same?
What if I didn’t feel like there were holes to fill, things to check off the list, longings to satiate? What if I was simply and profoundly OK with me as me?
And what if I chose for this day, or this part of this day, to know and act as if I am enough and I have enough?
What a grand and useful experiment.”
I have been practicing this experiment. I practiced it as I did my taxes and took time to figure out why things in TurboTax were challenging at times. I practiced it today as I tried to figure out a new piece of technology to help me market my business. (I still haven’t figured that one out.)
So what in my experience is the same and what is different?
One thing that is the same, is that there are things that I don’t know how to do, or could do better. After years of working in a software company, I know that it can take awhile to learn new programs. I am a huge fan of the Google machine and those wonderful YouTube videos. But I have realized that if you don’t know the right question to ask, you won’t get the answer you want
What is different is that I am embracing more calm and patience when I don’t know things. I am stepping away, going for a walk, taking a breath and then returning to the task at hand. I realize that it may take time to figure it out and that’s ok. If I am truly enough, then I have enough time, patience, curiosity and persistence to find an answer.
To be enough does not mean sitting around and eating bon bons all day, although at times that might be quite lovely. It does mean staying present, tuning in and doing what feels like the next right thing.
I am reminded of the story of what happens before and after enlightenment. What do you do before enlightenment? Chop wood and carry water. What do you do after enlightenment? Chop wood and carry water. The difference is that after enlightenment, your perspective on the task and the way you perform it are different. As Thich Naht Hanh said, “The feeling that any task is a nuisance will soon disappear if it is done with mindfulness.”
Mindfulness is easy when life is smooth and flowing. It gets more challenging when we face circumstances that are difficult. That’s why consistent meditation practice is so valuable. With meditation, I have found that I build up a reservoir of presence and calm that I can rely on when the going gets tough.
We live in a society in which striving feels like a religion. We are taught that there is a payoff waiting for us if we only do more, earn more, buy more, exercise more and eat less. When we live for a payoff, we live for the future. When we embrace the concept of being enough, we take a radical step out of the mainstream and into ourselves as we are, right here and right now. We learn to live from the inside out instead of the outside in.