Grateful Enough?

In my ongoing saga of examining the idea of "enoughness" I find myself regularly ruminating on so many different kinds of questions: is what I am doing enough? If me just being myself is enough, what does that say about enoughness? About me? What constitutes enoughness? Is enoughness a feeling? If I am feeling enoughness, what does it feel like? Is enoughness contentment? Is contentment a bad thing that will stop me from striving further and growing more? Is enoughness actually just taking privilege for granted? Does feeling content mean I'm not facing the real world and all of its suffering? Does contentment mean I'm not doing enough? And so on...and on...and on. I suspect that anyone who is consciously and deliberately examining their own emotions, attitudes, and circumstances through a spiritual lens can relate to this self-questioning, even if your questions are different.

There are benefits to this kind of self-inquiry. My gadfly questions cause me to stretch and explore uncharted acreage of my own mind and its presumptions. They give me opportunities to reflect on what the consequences have been of me thinking, feeling, or acting a certain way. They challenge me to move beyond lazy comfort into a space where my comfort is not merely consumptive, but provocative and dynamic. Sort of like the difference between feeling comfortable sitting on the couch versus feeling comfortable balancing on a bicycle while waiting for the light to change. One is a passive comfort and one is an active comfort. 

Being an all-in, active sort of woman, I trend away from passive comforts. To be honest, I don't even have a couch to sit on. Albert and I have one rocking chair, otherwise we sit on the floor or occasionally on folding chairs. We would like a couch, but it's not a huge priority, and hasn't been for well over 5 years now. I am much more accustomed to the active comforts of "being able to figure it out with nothing but my wits" and "living fast on the fly" than I am to the passive comforts of "sitting on a couch reading a book" or that nebulous and multi-faceted term, "self-care." I have, in this life, even taken a sense of pride in the fact that I eschew the easy for the more difficult. It makes me feel alive, and free, and valid, to always be working on something or having to figure something out. That constant striving is not motivated by a sense of enoughness. Rather, it is motivated by a sense of NOT-enoughness, or maybe a sense of do-more-ness. It's certainly not motivated by contentment. 

At the same time, I also know that this go-go-go urge is not fully sustainable. I literally, actually do need to make time to eat, and sleep, and exercise, and laugh with friends, and rest, and experience passive comforts. We all need that. Every being needs some of that. Whether I choose to give that to myself is often based on my self-inquiry into enoughness. Have I done enough today to warrant putting it down and resting? Have I accomplished enough this week that I can take a couple days to just hang out and relax? Do I have a solid enough plan for completing these tasks tomorrow so that I can get my mind to be quiet for long enough to sleep for a few hours tonight? This search for elusive enoughness...having/doing/being just enough, neither too much nor too little, can really become like a merry-go-round in my head, with no known end to the music.

The one thing that I have found that can get the music to stop playing and the wheels in my mind to stop spinning on the issue of enoughness is gratitude. When I pause to remind myself to feel grateful rather than rushed, worried, or even simply motivated, this welling up of emotion accompanies it, and all of a sudden I feel a peace that goes beyond the mental gymnastics I have been doing in search of enoughness and its implications. I am fed, I am clothed, I have a roof over my head, I have friends to laugh with, I love and I am loved...it is enough. In fact, this momentary relief actually shows me an alternative meaning for the phrase "enough is enough." Not fed-up enoughness. Not yearning for enoughness. Just simple gratitude. Enoughness is whatever I am grateful for, right here, right now.

From that momentary experience of enoughness, I probably have anywhere from hours to days before the search for enoughness begins again. Maybe this is a problem with my retentive ability, or maybe it's just the nature of cyclic existence, but I know that no matter how grateful I feel in a given moment, the questions, fears, worries, and other phenomenon related to enoughness, striving, and yearning will creep back in eventually. Maybe there will come a day when I no longer return to that ruminative pattern, but for now, it seems to happen no matter how mindful of it I try to be. Thankfully, I know I have a tool to help me answer the eternal unanswerable question of enoughness: the power of gratitude.

What is enough? Enough is enough.

What are you grateful for that exceeds all other judgments, yearning, and questioning?