enough

It’s been a rocky five weeks, but compared to a rocky year, I’m grateful. I feel like I’ve entered an intense learning period in my life. Diana once said, "Stop creating who you think you are supposed to be and start discovering who you are." I feel deep in discovery.
 
I recently had a huge courage infusion that I attribute to my new love for photography and Lynne Twist’s book, The Soul of Money. I know it sounds like a weird combination, but hang with me for a minute.
 
In May of 2007, the Nobel Women’s Initiative held its first international conference in Galway, Ireland.  The conference was in late May, which was about six solid months into the 2007 breakdown spiritual awakening. So many strange and amazing things happened during the days leading up to that trip and during my five days on the Conamara Coast. If 2007 was an awakening, this trip was that strange, terrifying moment when your eyes finally open and, without moving a muscle, you try to regain focus and remember where you are. It was the 2007 version of moving from the "ouch" to  the “ooh.”

During the trip, I met Nancy Ingram and we became friends. Good, close, heart-connected friends. During one of our many long talks, I told her about wanting to let go of “scarcity” so I could experience more gratitude. I told her about my fears of “not doing enough” and “not selling enough books to make the publishers happy” and “not being enough.” When we started talking about success and money, Nancy said, “You have to read The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist!”

In April, my book club decided to read The Soul of Money  and I offered to host the discussion dinner at my house.

Normally, if I’m going to host an evening like book club, it’s a big, hard thing. I start walking through my house noticing all of the things that I need to fix before I can have people over. I make lists of everything I need to buy and clean and redo. And, I don’t mean small things. I make lists like:

1. Paint house
2. Replace furniture in living room
3. Tear down wall between kitchen and living room
4. Landscape front yard

I also start planning elaborate menus. Menus that cost too much to make and take way too much time.

This time, I decided to stay very mindful about my scarcity issues. In her book, Lynne says this about scarcity:

“For me, and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is “I didn’t get enough sleep.” The next one is “I don’t have enough time.” Whether true or not, that thought of not enough occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it. We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what we don’t have enough of. We don’t have enough exercise. We don’t have enough work. We don’t have enough profits. We don’t have enough power. We don’t have enough wilderness. We don’t have enough weekends. Of course, we don’t have enough money – ever.

We’re not thin enough, we’re not smart enough, we’re not pretty enough or fit enough or educated or successful enough, or rich enough – ever.

Before we even sit up in bed, before our feet touch the floor, we’re already inadequate, already behind, already losing, already lacking something. And by the time we go to bed at night, our minds race with a litany of what we didn’t get, or didn’t get done, that day. We go to sleep burdened by those thoughts and wake up to the reverie of lack.

What begins as a simple expression of the hurried life, or even the challenged life, grows into the great justification for an unfulfilled life.”

A few weeks before our book club dinner, I walked through my house and focused on all of the "not enough" things that I hate and worry about other people seeing and judging. I called my scarcity demons out into the open so I could see them and befriend them. I made myself focus on them, stare at them and take pictures. As I walked through my house, I quickly realized that focusing on these imperfections was a choice that stripped my life and my home of the context of sufficiency.

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There are too many bikes and toys, too much pollen, too many dump trucks and excavators, too many windows painted shut, a bathtub that always looks really dirty because of the previous owner’s unsuccessful refinishing efforts, chipped paint, stained AC vents and crooked paint lines.
 
 Here’s how Lynne defines sufficiency:

“We each have the choice in any setting to step back and let go of the mindset of scarcity. Once we let go of scarcity, we discover the surprising truth of sufficiency. By sufficiency, I don’t mean a quantity of anything. Sufficiency isn’t two steps up from poverty or one step short of abundance. It isn’t a measure of barely enough or more than enough. Sufficiency isn’t an amount at all. It is an experience, a context we generate, a declaration, a knowing that there is enough, and that we are enough.

Sufficiency resides inside of each of us, and we can call it forward. It is a consciousness, an attention, an intentional choosing of the way we think about our circumstances. In our relationships with money, it is using money in a way that expresses our integrity; using it in a way that expresses value rather than determines value. Sufficiency is not a message about simplicity or about cutting back and lowering expectations. Sufficiency doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive or aspire . . . sufficiency is a context we bring forth from within that reminds us that if we look around us and within ourselves, we will find what we need. There is always enough.”

I spent some time thinking about my lovely home. I thought about my kids and Steve. I thought about all of the great times in my house. I thought about all of the really hard, sad times and how my house held me and comforted me. Then, I called on sufficiency. With camera in hand, I walked through my house and took pictures of everything I love. The little things that make me smile. Same house, same problems, same imperfections, but this time I was giggling and reminiscing and grateful. My home felt full. It is enough. I am enough.  

 
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My twinkle lights, Charlie and Ellen’s art gallery, fresh flowers, rations, the family calendar, my hopeful angel, the women of the TV, the mother with child.  
 
Book club was great. I decided to make it an international potluck to honor the book’s message of community and sharing. It was a great night and I’m going to keep working on being enough. For me, that means watching out for fear, shame and scarcity and practicing more courage, compassion and connection!
 
 
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And, would you believe . . . I got to meet Lynne in April. When Nancy recommended her book, I had no idea that Lynne was working with the Nobel Women’s Initiative. A very small group of us spent a few days together in Virginia. She has an incredibly authentic and loving spirit. I love this picture. I’m the one with the big star-struck smile! I’m going to interview her for the Inspiration Series later this year.
 
If you have any thoughts or ideas on scarcity, sufficiency or the journey to "being enough" – please share! It’s so much nicer to travel with friends!