Some things are simply born with us. That gap between my front teeth, that was meant to be there. That birth mark on the hip of our oldest daughter, just part of the many pieces that tell her story.
But some things we are born with, don’t define us. They weren’t meant to stay with us. They were only meant to strengthen us, to test us, to propel us to do something different.
For years, I wondered to myself:
Would doing more be enough? Would I be enough for this baby on the way? Will I be enough for my
husband-to-be? Will I be enough as a mom? Will I be enough, enough so that when my children leave the home, enough that they want to come home and visit?
Then, I listened to my friends:
“I don’t think I do enough for the school.” “I don’t think I’m a good enough parent.” “I wonder if why he/she left me, because somehow I wasn’t enough.” “Seems like whatever I do, it’s never enough.” “I think if I work more…”
And on and on and on. How did so many of us women absorb this story?! Why are too many of us still carrying it around?!
I’ve known about this self-defeating story for quite some time. It permeated so many areas of my life. Much like most hard-pressing negative stories we tell of ourselves, they are difficult to pry away for good.
The other day, I watched Kalia as she tried to dislodge a sea hare from the wall of an aquarium touch tank. The volunteer at the Sea Center would shift her attention to another child, and Kalia, persistent as most 4 yr. olds are, would gently start tugging to see if she could release the gelatinous creature and grab it up in her little hands. She would get one antenna or one foot loose and then retract as the volunteer began to eye her. Try as she may, that sea hare would NOT budge!
That’s exactly how I have felt with this “not enough” tale. For years, I have been aware of it. I looked at it face to face over and over. But no matter how I have tried to pry it away from my emotional, physical and intellectual self, it hasn’t ever fully come lose. It has lingered on the walls of my happy thoughts. It has been stuck to my feet when I am wanting to try new things. It stares back at me from the mirror when I see those dark circles from parenting effort to the max. It is that nasty inner voice that’s told me too many times, “You might not…be enough.”
Am I doing enough?
Have I prepared enough?
Have I used my time wisely enough?
What if I take on more, will that be enough?
Is this enough?
Am I enough?
Am I enough?!
Just before bed, our little 7 yr old was sharing with me about what she enjoyed most about our day together as a family. I listened. She loved the kayak adventure we took. She loved the picnic she helped pack which we ate under the pier. She loved bath time with her sister. She loved helping cook dinner and having playtime in the backyard. When she finished, I boldly asked, “Was there anything else we could have done today to make your day better?” I heard it out loud. Better?! Better than what??! In an instant, my stomach didn’t feel so good.
Enough is enough.
More than ever I wanted this stubborn story to be stopped in its’ tracks and be eradicated. There was no way I was going to allow our little caramel-faced sweetheart or her sisters to live with it and carry it on in their lives.
Awhile ago, I read a story of one of Tibet’s most famous yogis, Milarepa. Living in a cave in solitude for quite some time he one day returned to his cave to observe that it was filled with demons. He tried many things to get the demons to leave. Nothing worked. Finally, he conceited that they weren’t leaving and neither was he, so they would all have to live together. All demons left except one. In the story, Milarepa surrendered even more, placing himself right into the mouth of that remaining persistent demon. Poof! The last and most toxic demon was gone.
Surrendering to what has held us back means allowing ourselves to step forward.
Perhaps the most difficult part of my fiercest demon was that which I placed on others. If I wasn’t enough, how could anyone else be enough? This part holds the most grief for me. But just as the yogi in the story above, I fell into the mouth of this beast and have moved on. I had to. I wasn’t meant to carry this through life. I was meant to carry something much stronger.
We are always enough. If we are able to simply let our own unique selves shine, then we are enough. Grouchy, tired, run-down, we are still enough. Elated, confused, full
of imperfections, blissful or overwhelmed: we are still enough.
Bursting with ideas, flattened with fatigue, directionless or completely powerful, WE ARE ENOUGH.
It isn’t important what you do, it’s important WHO YOU ARE when you do what you do. Be genuine. Be open-hearted. Be YOU.
Slowly, and with much work, I have finally shaken this long-weighted story. I need a new mantra. What word could frame where I was headed and what I hoped for each of our daughters in their lives’ ahead? What could offer light to friends who also carried weight from this shackled-story? What can we all wear through life that doesn’t kick the animation out of our forward steps?
So I chose “Abundant”. Yes. Abundant.
We are abundant in our capacity to love.
We are abundant in our capacity to explore new things.
We are abundant in our choice of how we spend our time.
We are abundant in our ability to connect with others from our truest heart.
We are abundant in our talents and gifts and passions.
We are abundant in our ability to forgive, to repair, to rebuild.
We have the capacity to be abundant in all things that matter most.
We are abundant in the ways that are unique to us.
We are abundant.
Each and every one of us is more than enough. We are abundant in the life we live. Just by being us.
It’s only Thursday. Go and get YOUR abundant. And leave “Enough” stuck to the sidewalk never to be picked up by the sole of your shoe ever again.
“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anyone.” Maya Angelou