When I was a young girl, I was given a five-year diary in which I meticulously documented my days of play. Sometimes, when I felt I had written enough for the day, I would decline the opportunity to play again with friends in the evening!
What is “enough”? “Enough” is relative to what a person has experienced and expects. To the young man holding a cardboard sign on the median at the traffic lights, “enough” is the amount of money needed to buy a coffee or meal, which also gives him permission to sit indoors for an hour. For the young woman driving by that young man who is publicly declaring his need for help, it is enough that she has money for gas so that she can drive further in denial that she needs so much more. The heart of the next driver opens as he prepares to make a left hand turn, sees the young man and realizes, “I have enough to share with someone who asks for help” and a coin is handed out the car window. The guy at the end of the line of traffic has had enough of panhandlers and looks the other way.
When I have more than enough food, I feel selfish, guilty, overfilled. When I have less than enough, I feel hungry, undervalued, left wanting more. With habits of belief that dictate “just enough” or “not enough” money consciousness, it is enough that the bills are paid on time. Having “more than enough” money can be uncomfortable, like an under-exercised muscle. More than enough imagination is required to manage the unfamiliar when the total debt is paid in full and new choices open up. Even though “enough” is often equated with an amount of money, one can have enough skill for a task, enough friends to get the job done, not enough information to solve a puzzle, and just enough energy to reach the peak of a mountain at sunset.
If there is “just enough” kindling to get the fire going this morning, in fact there is “enough” kindling. “More than enough” kindling would mean that I will have enough to start the fire tomorrow morning too, in which case I may take it for granted and use it all up at once in today’s fire. Then for sure I won’t have enough kindling for tomorrow, and I’ll need to chop some more. Will I then chop just enough kindling for one fire or for more while I’m at it? Is it better to have just enough rather than more than enough so that I won’t over-consume?
“Enough” can be used in a lament or a pessimist’s mantra: “No matter what I do, it’s never enough, it’s never good enough; I’m not smart enough, attractive enough, or rich enough. There’s never enough time or water or food or housing or money to go around.”
Is there an objective reality of “enough”, or is “enough” always relative to what I’ve had before, and to what I imagine is the ultimate goal of “enough”? Is “enough” all we can hope for, and “more than enough” asking for too much? Why do I want more, to do more, to be more? When is enough, enough? Will I ever grieve enough for small and large losses that I, and each one of us on the planet experience every day? When our hearts are eclipsed by grief, let us trust enough to love again.
I have more than enough gratitude to embrace the banquet offerings of each new day, gifted as I am with the breath of life. My intention is to be of benefit to the entire cosmos. By being conscious of my inner and outer voices, with enough time to listen, enough courage to speak from my heart and enough energy to do and be my best, I am learning enough to work and share with others. I have enough inner resources with which to grow and thrive. As I slow down enough while driving, eating, writing and conversing, my awareness of the beauty that surrounds me deepens my joy.
One afternoon during my forest walk, I stood still long enough to witness a mother wren leading the way for her young family in their first flight across the path right in front of me. A gentle tug on my pant leg drew my gaze downward to see one of the wee fluffy new flyers pause there briefly in a beam of sunlight, before launching again to join the others who had assembled among the ferns. In that moment, it was enough.
Lynn Thompson is the host and producer of ‘Living on Purpose’ which aired on CHLY radio from 2004 – 09. It is now heard on podcasts, visit www.Living OnPurposeLynn.com