As I’ve travelled through the landscape of grief, challenge and many changes lately, a word has asserted to me, perhaps surprisingly…perhaps not really. And that word is “enough”.
Sometimes, it asserts as “Enough, already!” This feels like the right moment to call time on a lot of old habits that no longer fit.
At other times it’s more of a felt sense than a word…an awareness of having enough, being enough. “I am enough” is all we are, really, here to, finally, realise and I am getting close to it, in flashes and glimpses through the trees.
No need, then, to jump through hoops of burning flame…quite alright to walk softly, mindfully along the lesser known paths of selfhood, and not give a jot who is here to understand or give applause.
On my walk today, which used to be a “given” but not so these last few days where pain has laid me flat on my back, quite literally, I realised my “small” local walk was more than enough; never mind having to jump in the car to go somewhere more auspicious for my thrills…yes, nice, sometimes for a change but this was much more than I could have hoped for. These recent months of “having” to walk local for various reasons, one being that my elderly dog was was too unwell to walk any further, I made my peace with the locale that has been home for nigh on two decades. Finally. Seeing it in all its splendour, allowing that nature touches it with the same gilded brush as anywhere else in the dew or tilted light of an early morning stroll.
I’m so glad to find the sentiment upholds, even after my dog has passed, even now that I could literally walk wherever I choose on any given day. Yes, I have done some of those other walks over the past few weeks, relishing them…but this one meets them all in its enoughness, with the added bonus that its my locale, my slot in the universe and there’s something to be said for finding your contentment with that.
Never mind that I sometimes have to put on noise cancelling headphones to walk the short distance past ever more relentless traffic along my road to get to the stile into the fields…perhaps even a little further some days, until I’m well out of earshot of its roar on a highly sensitive day and if its “rush hour”. However, once I’m into its depths, there are gifts galore in this unassuming place. I just have to be open to their treasure trove; so, the difference was never required of the place, only of the person encountering it!
This morning, in the woods, I enjoyed a brief catchup with some new friends made only quite recently, the effect (I suspect) of slowing down my pace to suit my dog because this had never happened before…in twenty years of not knowing anyone by name within a mile of my home!
See what happens when we slow right down and open up to possibility, wherever we happen to be…
Once I was alone again, I lost count of how many wrens I caught sight of today, being the shyest bird in the woods, except perhaps for the firecrest I saw just a while back; now, that rare treat felt like a truly golden reward for not forcing myself onto anything, not that I’m here to claim any prizes (in fact “trying” to see a particular bird is guaranteed to keep it at bay, I find). Such encounters are a sure sign of how softly I am treading on any given day, how gentle and unassertive my energy is, which is a good sign. Days when I’m locked in my head, pushing some thought through the sausage machine of my head, my energy repels these softer moments, or, I fail to notice them…but today was full of riches.
It came to me on the crest of this wave that I am bathed in enough. Enough love and support from my family. Enough food on my table. Enough material comforts to call my house a home. Enough to be grateful for, and then some, though perhaps not always measurable in flighty, material, achievement-associated things (or, at least, not the kind that most people collect…) but there’s another kind of achievement that comes from realising None of That Matters…not really, not when the chips are down or the true measure of a life is taken.
The essential tester, if I was given a week to live, would any of that stuff I strive for really matter? And if not, what really would? What do I already have, perhaps in spadeloads?
To glean this and to live by it are two very different things. I have long taken emphasis off the material and placed it, fervently, on the experiential…the feelings, the love, the value of a life spent in mindfulness, awareness, appreciation, kindness…
And imagine, if we all lived by the measure of enough, how quickly would the world transform? How soon would all our problems shrink into proportion as we all slowed down and ceased pushing and grabbing and grasping all that we can. So, I have to believe that in finding it for ourselves, we each play our part in achieving such a world and that that, in itself, is doing enough. More than enough.
Still, I’ve continued to jump through a few hoops, insisted on hedging some bets, grabbing my own pieces of “more” where I can, just in case. None of it made me happier. Much of it threw me straight back in the mire of doing, worrying, ruminating, chasing, apologising, comparing, never feeling contented. Enough came with provisos, “apart from…” tagged onto it at every turn, until enough no longer really felt like enough at all.
What I’ve also found to be true…the more you have, the more headaches it causes, more time it consumes, more ever decreasing circles it sends you in. When you already have a noisy head, when a little too much is usually more than you can cope with, when you’ve had to work really extra hard all your life to seem as though you are coping more than you really are just in order to be left alone in the fiercely independent, quiet lifestyle you want more than anything in the world, and without kicking up a dust-storm wherever you go, this isnt’ a sustainable or healthful option and I know that now. From here on in, I would rather trim my cloth than bust a gut. “Being enough” rather than chasing “doing enough”.
Now, I’m not saying I’m there but it feels more real, more predominant and that’s a new place I’m exploring, letting it coach my decisions as to whether to continue letting this or that nip at my heels or whether to cut-off old habits, undertakings, pretences at productivity (to fit in with the crowd of “do-ers”) and so on…in order to really let it all go and live by enough as an end unto itself.
Or, rather, not an end so much as a beginning because, of all the familiar landscapes visited and revisited in the ever repeating storyline of life, I have yet to see beyond the far hill of enoughness…to experience the landscape awaiting me on the other side. I’m told, by my instincts, the only way to “get there” (we are already there…) is to believe wholeheartedly that it exists.