By David Whyte
Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.
This opening to the life
we have refused
again and again
Do you ever feel as if you aren’t measuring up? Or that there is something missing in your life? If the answer is yes, you are not alone. We live in a culture driven by consumption. Feelings of inadequacy fuel consumption, so advertisers have become experts at helping us to feel inadequate so that we will consume more. Take a look at ads from this perspective and see what you think. New parents are such easy targets. Inexperienced and insecure, new parents believe they need more and need to be more. Many parents find themselves thinking ,”I need to be more organized, more patient, more creative,” fill in the blank. Or thinking, “I should know baby sign language, make organic baby food, have a toned belly”….and all within months of going through one of the most powerfully joyous and difficult experiences of a lifetime–childbirth.
We are bombarded with information that makes us worry if our child’s development is on target, if she is gaining enough weight, if she is gaining too much weight, if she is sleeping enough and in the right position, if she is allergic to gluten or dairy…It is enough to make you feel downright despondent.
Of course, there are times when we need to make a positive change. What makes you a calmer, happier, more loving parent? Constant self-criticism or a sigh of acceptance? Carl Rogers said, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.“
Try this… Say “Enough”!
On the Mat
Yoga is the perfect place to begin this experiment. The mat is the training ground for life, here we can tune in to how we feel with less distraction. During your next yoga session, whether it is a class , a dvd, or five minutes on your own at home, notice if you are judging yourself and feeling inadequate. It might be that in the middle of downward facing dog, you think, “I’m not focusing on my breath or my mind is wandering”. Appreciate the fact that you noticed, mindfulness is the first step toward acceptance. Try saying to yourself very gently and lovingly, “in this moment, I am enough as I am” then allow your attention to come back to your breath and sensation and movement. Does this change your practice?
Off The Mat
This week, when you think that you need something you don’t have in order to be happy, take three slow breaths, soften the tongue as if to say, “ahhh”, allow tension to fall away and try saying, “in this moment I have enough”. Or if you find yourself feeling inadequate, in need of improvement appreciate the awareness then say, “in this moment, I am enough”.
Notice if you feel resistance to the concept or practice. We are wired to survive as much as we are wired to be happy. Our minds seek out what is wrong, what is missing. This is perfectly normal. Whatever you are feeling, say “yes” by saying, “I am enough with my resistance, my striving, my humanness”. “I am enough”.
If your baby or child is crying and you don’t know what to do, take a moment to experience the “not knowing”. Let this breath, this sitting here be enough.
How does this feel? Is there a shift for you? Is there more ease? Does it open up possibilities? Tara Brach says “Happiness lies not in finding what is missing, but in finding what is present”.
“Enough” is a radical stance— it can save your sanity, time and money, and it’s good for the environment. Let us know what you think.
May we all be safe, may we all be strong, may we all feel at ease. Namaste.