Words. To me, they hold innumerable power. This is probably why I talk things to death. Why I process my thoughts verbally, even when I write, you just can’t hear it. I love how words look, feel, and sound, even in other languages, as you can see from my children’s names. This is why I love the practice of choosing a word for the New Year. Last year, I chose ABUNDANCE. A beautiful word that I sat with, and discovered, for me, is my friends. That is what abundance represents to me. 2020 took my friends physically away from me, but they were certainly very present in every other way that matters. 2020 took a good friend away from me permanently, forever, yet I feel her friendship as a comfort to me even in her absence, alive and well in my consciousness, her energy and efforts so strong that they transcend death, abundantly present and immortal. Now, on to 2021.
The first word that came to me for this year was ENOUGH. In my world, this word usually represents a lack of. Lack of being enough, lack of having enough, lack of achieving enough, and on and on. In order to see beyond that, I need to look at it head-on.
As a type-A overachiever who isn’t uber-competitive, whose creativity and sense of goodwill wins over sales tactics, and who prioritizes time with her family over career success, I’m usually very frustrated with myself in terms of my career. I want to be successful, do something big and meaningful with this mind of mine, and step into a larger arena, but the decisions I make to be aligned with my inner self are usually at odds with this need.
Connections are everything in this world and contribute significantly to success, but I cannot be disingenuous and will never choose a friendship to get somewhere through that person. I have a hard time relating to people who hide reality for the bigger gains that come with wearing a veil of perception, and I value being real and honest, not hiding my weaknesses and challenges, which doesn’t work well for exuding capable confidence. I’m terrible at small talk, preferring to jump right into truly knowing someone’s soul, and hashing out their challenges. I am also horrible at remembering names. So schmoozing and perception are not really areas I excel at, to my own detriment.
Charging what you are worth is certainly necessary for financial rewards as a sole-proprietor. Yet, I fall in love with my clients and their goals and dreams. I feel good giving of my time freely and generously. Every time I have to send an invoice or a quote, it takes me a long time to press send, after looking at the numbers forwards and backwards to make sure I felt really good about my price, so obviously, I’m not bringing in six figures.
How a successful person structures their time is key. With focus and clarity comes achievement. My time use looks more like a pinball pinging around from child to child into household task, to a work task, over to the piano, onto a phone call, back to cleaning, updating the decor, returning to a child, back to work, and finally to pouring my heartfelt advice out to hurting strangers on the internet. A lot is accomplished each day, but not really towards any specific goal. My interests are so varied and my love of variety great, my effort is certainly dispersed in so many ways that the energy ends up greatly dissipated instead of consolidated towards one avenue.
I also have a deep desire to love myself wholly and unconditionally, knowing that to be essentially important to happiness, but find myself frustrated with my lack of progress in this area as well. Patience for the speed at which life actually progresses has always been an issue for me and contributes to my feeling of lack of success. My frustration with all of the energy inside of me that is bursting to find its audience yet falls flat, causes me to feel continually aggravated with myself for not yet finding my path, which feels like the opposite of self-love and actualization.
I am also “over 40” which brings with it a different set of challenges in the self-acceptance arena. Feeling that time is running out while also getting one step closer to a time when I can focus more on my non-child rearing pursuits gives one the feeling of rushing forward while, at the same time, clinging to each moment.
This decade is also bringing with it many new wrinkles, not in the symbolic sense, which aren’t quite developing in ways that make me feel beautifully mature, showing my distinguished wisdom on my face, but instead causing my eyes to differ in shape and consolidating under my eyes which changes how I look in a way that is hard to get used to, and creping the skin on my chest which reminds me, in a time-warping disturbing way, of my Nana’s skin when she was “old” but maybe not as old as I perceived her to be when I was younger.
I can’t say that my new “cold flashes” are wreaking quite as much havoc with my mind as the passing of time and the wrinkles, other than alternating between making me feel that I am crazy and convincing me I am coming down with Covid, but they certainly don’t help.
So now we come to my word ENOUGH.
My current understanding of this word most frequently comes in the form of questions. Am I doing enough to help my kids become happy healthy productive adults? Am I living in a way that I will look back and feel I used my precious time on this Earth well enough? How can I help to provide for my family so that we have enough money to not feel stressed about it any longer? Am I helping my husband enough or is he pulling too much of the weight? Am I being a good enough friend? Am I exercising and eating well enough? Am I using enough anti-aging products to avoid worse results later? Am I pushing enough with my husband about his kids when I know they need further parenting action to feel good about it later when we see the results in their lives as adults? Am I reaching out to my mom enough to keep her from descending into depression while she is so isolated during these Covid times? Am I ok with letting people go when I’ve had enough and how do I handle the guilt that leaves behind? Am I being generous enough with my time, money, and energy that I am contributing to the betterment of the world?
ENOUGH, Star. Enough.
Definition of enough
: occurring in such quantity, quality, or scope as to fully meet demands, needs, or expectations
: in or to a degree or quantity that satisfies or that is sufficient or necessary for satisfaction
: a sufficient number, quantity, or amount
So now we come to the crux of it. The meaning of enough is directly related to needs and expectations. The key to experiencing enough is to adjust your demands, needs, and expectations in order to achieve satisfaction. It is time for me to let go of all of it and take a much-needed rest to thereby achieve the other two words that came to me, peace and beauty, which I think are excellent byproducts of the word, enough. I need to look at each of these categories and consciously decide that enough is enough and that my life is sufficient.
I am happy enough.
I am loved enough.
I am successful enough.
I am attractive enough.
I am healthy enough.
I am helping enough.
I am doing enough.
I have enough.
I am enough.
So this is my challenge for the New Year. My mantras. My mission to believe, accept, and embody so that I might achieve inner peace and find the space to appreciate the beauty of life.
Definition of peace
: a state of tranquility or quiet
: freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions
: harmony in personal relations
: in a state of concord or tranquility
: to be, become, or keep silent or quiet
I see that peace is not only a state to achieve by way of embracing enough, but it is also a means to that end. More moments of sitting with my own silence, quieting the constant verbal processing in my mind, will help me to be present with what is and achieve a state of tranquility. This is a true practice and one that I must make a conscious effort to incorporate into my life. In order to do this, I need to focus on looking at sitting in quiet as actually accomplishing something important.
Definition of beauty
: the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit : LOVELINESS
: a beautiful person or thing
: a particularly graceful, ornamental, or excellent quality
: a brilliant, extreme, or egregious example or instance
Just the other day, I was explaining to my daughter that beauty is entirely subjective. Much like the word, enough. There is no such thing. It exists in the eye of the beholder. If there is no one to appreciate beauty, then it does not exist. In order for something to be beautiful, someone needs to feel that it is so. In that way, the ugly for one person can exist as beautiful for another. Even in the case of abuse, a person can find the beauty in the struggle and stay, endangering themselves. A person can find the beauty in the pleasure of drug use, to their own detriment. Beauty, being subjective, can be subverted to mean something else entirely. In some cultures, body mutilation is beautiful, often in spiritual ways. The quest for beauty can cause one to completely alter their looks, thereby stripping them of their natural beauty. Striving to attain the cultural norm for beauty can actually cause people to assimilate so much that the beauty of diversity is eliminated. Sometimes, a lack of appreciation of the beauty of what is can be disguised as a quest to attain beauty. What is beauty really anyways? There is no such thing as a true definition of beauty. This is why, in reading the definition above, it doesn’t really say much. Beauty is whatever you think it is. It’s time for me to see beauty in what is, not what I think “should be.” It is time for me to sit in tranquility and peace, embrace “enough,” open my eyes to the beauty that exists already, and enjoy the peace that comes from that understanding.
Further definition of beauty
: a state or period of mutual concord between governments
: freedom from civil disturbance
: a state of security or order within a community provided for by law or custom
: a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity
—used interjectionally to ask for silence or calm or as a greeting or farewell
Through this way of changing my own inner dialogue, I hope to find greater peace in my relationships, and thereby, leading by example, influence the greater peace in the world. However, I have never been so aware, or cared so deeply, about politics in my entire life as I do now, and I can’t help but acknowledge that changing my inner world will not be enough. Feeling the overwhelming stress of seeing our country careening towards disaster, steered by a narcissistic captain towards irreversible catastrophe. Becoming achingly aware of the systems within which I live that keep inequity and inhumane treatment a reality. Fearing for my children’s future in so many ways...their rights over their bodies, who they love, and how they present themselves, the state of the climate and natural world they inherit, the growing chasm eliminating the middle class, increasing poverty, and making financial security even further from reach, and the power of corporations growing without the restrictions of moral obligation. Sensing the eroding standards for human behavior, responsibility to our fellow man, and decency. All of this growing awareness has made me pay closer attention to the governing bodies. And by bodies, I mostly mean rich white male bodies.
I have explored sexism and that construct, to which I was heavily unaware before, over the past year, which revealed societal rules to me in ways that also make racism all the more evident to me now. The two issues feel very intertwined in the ways in which they are hidden even from those that seek to rise above them. Both problems feel woven into the very fabric of our lives and histories that make up our culture, “norms,” and “givens.” How to dismantle the rules that we are stuck functioning within seems impossible. How to have enough and achieve peace in this sense is not clear to me...yet...but the beauty of the struggle and of the people that are joining together and fighting to find a new way is certainly visible to me.
I’m not sure where the seemingly unending struggle in politics and government falls into my word for this year. Nothing feels like it is enough to stem the tide carrying us to a place of no return. No effort appears to be enough to have any impact at all. This seems to be an area where peace will not yet be attained. Perhaps getting outside of my own way will allow me more room to carry and aid the greater struggle of many. If I harness all of the energy wasted on being at war with myself, I can only imagine I will have more for helping others. Or perhaps, the peace I find within myself will give me better perspective on how to create change outside of myself. Only time will tell. And if you look up the definition of time, it could be the continuum of events that succeed each other, a point when something occurs, a suitable moment, conditions at present, or rate of speed. At this moment, it feels that we are experiencing all of these. And that will have to be enough for now.