During this year we have been walking the Sign of Enough path, which invites us to work with the question “How will I know when I have enough?” using whatever areas of our lives call for our attention.
“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”
The above quotation is from Lao Tzu, a Chinese philosopher writing in the 6th century BCE, and the presumed founder of Taoism and author of the Tao Te Ching. When I read this saying, I think how very similar this message is to the message we have been writing about for several months now: the Sign of Enough and knowing clearly the answer to the question “how will I know when I have enough?” We have had many years to learn this, and many of us seem to be on the path, just awakening to it, or available for the message any time now. Because it is time.
There are many things to fuss and fume about. There is the political situation in the United States about which many of us are in real despair. There is the current and growing economic inequality in this country. There is the fact of the deep racial prejudice, which recently and rightly has been thrust into the forefront of our attention. There is the seemingly constant assault on our environment and our on-going two steps forward and one step back approach to solving some of the problems. There are the myriad serious difficulties around the world including the constant threat of terrorism, the heart rending refugee crises with no win-win answers, ancient border, ethnic and religious disputes. The list seems endless.
In the midst of all this, how can we, with Lao Tzu, “rejoice in the way things are?” Does doing so seem at best childish and irresponsible? I think not. I think adding to the sense of woe accomplishes nothing, and, at least for me, makes me feel completely impotent. From that place, I can take no action. As the teacher Abraham says, “you can’t get sick enough to make sick people well.”
What if instead we stop, take stock, and realize we can “be content with what (we) have and realize there is nothing lacking?” When I breathe deeply and repeat those words, I can feel a deep sense of peace seeping through my body. I can feel a relaxation, an opening that makes it possible for me to attend to the messages arising that sound something like “I know what I can do!” From that place where I know I have everything I need and nothing is lacking, I can open to “OK. THAT is enough. I am going to step forward and take this action.”
That is what happens for me. During this next month I invite you to come back over and over to the saying from Lao Tzu and discover where it takes you. It may be similar to my experience or it may be completely different. Whatever happens, it is exactly the right thing, and, if noted, can lead you to something important.
For the past several months we have been working with the question, “How will I know when I have enough?” And we have approached this question from several different angles, for example, “How will I know when I’m doing enough?” and “How will I know when I’m spending enough time with those I love most?” We talked about what is a big challenge for many women, “How will I know when I have enough time for myself?” And also difficult for many of us, “How will I know when I have enough ‘stuff’?”
The question we have been asking ourselves in this column is “How will I know when I have enough?” We have talked about things like How will I know when I have enough stuff? . . .eaten enough food? . . .had enough to drink? . . .have enough things to do? . . .or any other things that are important to you. This month we will look at something that many of my women coaching clients bring to their sessions.
When we ask ourselves the question “How will I know when I have enough?” many of us think of all the “stuff” we have. We think of exploding closets and drawers, overstuffed garages or storage units, bathroom cabinets overflowing with bottles and tubes. This month we are going to change the question just a bit to “How will I know when I am doing enough?” When I ask some people, and particularly women, to consider this question, the first thing I hear is a long groan, followed by an emphatic “I AM doing too much NOW!!!” When I ask them how they know this, they again say emphatically things like “I have no time for myself! Not even 5 minutes a day!!” Or “I haven’t been to the gym for 4 months!” Or “I see my very best friends once in a great while, and then we often are too tired to really enjoy our time together.” Or “My partner and I have not done anything by ourselves for months and months. . .maybe longer.” So, it is not that many of us do not know we are trying to do too much, we seemingly do not have any idea what to do about it.
Is that really true? Is it really true that we have no idea what to do about our feelings of being completely overwhelmed with things to do and places to go, or is it that we have not spent any focused time trying to figure out what to do about it? My hunch is that it is the latter for many of us. I believe that most of us do what we really want to do most of the time. Now I know many of you will be disagreeing with this very strongly. But let us take a closer look. Continue reading “Are You Trying to Do Too Much?”
For the past several months we have been working with the question “How will I know when I have enough?” And each of us has added whatever is most important to her to the end of that question. For example, someone might ask herself “How will I know when I have worked enough for today?” Or “How will I know when I am spending enough time with the people in my life who are the most important to me?” If you have not been traveling this path with us until now, today is an excellent time to begin! Any of us at any time can make the decision to begin traveling the “enough consciousness” path, deepening our awareness of the sense of enough by noticing our own Signs of Enough, those thoughts and feelings that say “OK, that’s enough!”
This month we are going to look at this from a slightly different angle. Here are the steps: Continue reading “It Is Just Too Much!”
Many of us have realized that the “busyness” of our lives has really gotten to the point of “OK, that’s enough!” This recognition is your Sign of Enough: “That’s IT! Something has to change.” Some of us have decided to walk the path of “enough consciousness.” Daily we are becoming more and more desirous of living a simpler life, of spending more of our precious time with those who matter most to us, of participating in events that have meaning for us and activities that we really enjoy! We are becoming more aware of when we have worked long enough for one day, when we have given enough to others and it’s time to give some attention to ourselves. And if you have not joined us yet, now is a perfect time to make the decision to do so by considering the questions below. Continue reading “Progress Along the Enough Path”
For those of you who have been traveling the Enough path with me since the beginning of the year, congratulations! We have completed two full months of developing our awareness of living in “enough consciousness.” Daily we are becoming more and more desirous of living a simpler life, of spending more of our precious time with those who matter most to us, of participating in events that have meaning for us and activities that we really enjoy! We are becoming more aware of when we have worked long enough for one day, when we have given enough to others and it’s time to give some attention to ourselves.