Enough…

He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough. ~ Lao Tzu

Over the last few weeks, there have been evenings I’ve fallen asleep exhausted on the sofa, days when I’ve understood why folk drink at noon and mornings when I’ve woken and wanted to crawl back under the duvet. The anaesthetised version is that I’ve had some ‘challenges’. Out of respect for their privacy, I never talk about my birth family here, and rarely about my kids’ lives now that they’re in their late teens, but as those challenges involved multiple smashed bones, family dynamics, care of the elderly, unexpected building work and two hour daily round trips to spend my days in a wifi-free zone with tradesmen and someone on the cusp of ninety – all during my son’s university entrance exam period –  I’m hoping you’ll forgive my silence.

In turbulent times, I get very clear on what’s within my control and do what I can to avoid getting whipped up into other folks’ stress whirlwinds. Trusting in a universe that always ensures I have the strength to do what’s asked of me, I simply try to do the next indicated thing: I work, I coach, I plod, I listen, I hug, I scrub, I cook, I create, I read, I visit, I shop, I sleuth, I gut, I watch box sets, cry at music and just generally trust myself to do what needs to be done. Luckily, my husband’s an angel whose wings shelter and carry my whole family, and these last few troubled weeks, I’ve gone to sleep at night exhausted, but knowing I’ve done the best I could. And that’s a good feeling. It’s enough.

Being a homemaker, a supporter of souls, someone who longs to be compassionately connected, rather than constantly connected, is part of how I define myself. It’s a part of me that’s inextricably linked with my creativity, and I don’t feel as if I have to be all of my me’s at once. I’m an introvert, always have been, and I know what fuels me, what drains me and what my overwhelm limits are. I know how much silence I need and what my people and privacy limits are. There was no way I could do anything other than focus on my family these last few weeks and that’s fine. I’ll soon be an empty nester, and menopause beats all the spiritual books I’ve ever read on the beauty of letting go. Some of its lessons are brutal, but the clarity it brings, about what’s really important, about how I want to feel at any given moment in time, has bleached my soul bare.

Breathing, noticing, loving, creating, learning, letting go. The quiet, wise voice that tells us to keep sweeping away the dust and debris that settles when we resist change, that tells us to let go of the pain we beat ourselves up with when we resist what is.

I missed being able to log on, but after three years of deliberate exile, I knew the sky wouldn’t fall in, and I was right.  The sun’s shining today, there’s a breeze blowing through the branches and the grass still smells greenly damp from yesterday’s rain. The birds are loud, my son’s snacking on pizza and here you are, still visiting, still reading, still breathing life into my words.

More than enough.

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Are you facing any challenges right now? Family? Friends? Loneliness? Menopause? Sandwich generation exhaustion? Empty nest syndrome?  Blog envy? Life purpose crossroads? How do you thrive through it all?

7 thoughts on “Enough…

  1. I love how you are able to capture the emotions that every woman has at one time or another. A lot of women that I know go through every day, much as you describe, going from one necessary task to the next–tying a child’s shoe, answering the phone, making lunch, settling an argument, smiling in the midst of chaos, running errands, going to work, taking back library books, encouraging a husband, bathing babies, dealing with broken appliances–only to collapse in bed long past midnight wondering, “What have I missed? Have I done enough?”

    Oh Janice, you have such a way of speaking to women that lets them know they are not alone! Too often we hold up other women as examples of “SuperMom” and wonder why we can’t be like “her.” “Her” kids are always perfectly dressed. “Her” home is always immaculate. “She” doesn’t need to exercise. We look at this mythical “her” and say to ourselves, “I need to do more!” Yet, as you so wonderfully illustrated here, we each are our own “enough.” It’s really not other women looking at us and saying, “She needs to do more.” WE are the ones beating ourselves up until we feel at the brink of insanity.

    This is a beautiful reminder to accept the reality of our lives and even revel in it. Enjoy it. Accept it as “enough.”

    P.S. I’m a closet introvert.
    Randi S. recently posted…Learning to Slow DownMy Profile

    • Welcome back! I hoped you’d be able to pop over and catch this one because I know how much you do in a day and I have no idea how you manage it all and still stay so sane and positive!! I love that you still write comments that could be blog posts in their own right and without giving anything away, I hope you manage to find the time to read the post after this. I think you’ll like it. It felt like I’d found my voice again even though I’d no idea who it would reach.

      It’s been so uplifting just enjoying wandering through folks’ blogs and commenting when I feel like it, like I did way back at the start before I even had a blog. Posting at my own pace feels right, but the comments, they’re a heartlifting bonus! Kind people come here, Randi; I don’t care what anyone says about my naiveté and gushiness – I’m so lucky with the kind of people who take the time to come here and co-create this site, especially as the global recession has made life so much harder and busier for everyone. I’d write even if no-one was reading, but knowing the kind of people who might be reading, that’s inspiring. Thank you!

  2. I agree with Randi. I was nodding my head the entire time I read this post. I can identify with so many of the things you said, but it’s the clear and touching way you write that just grabs my heart. Your writing is very uplifting and it’s so nice to have you back again. To me, your post/blog represents one of the things I love about blogging.

    While it’s fun to put up my own stuff, I find I get so much from going out and visiting others. I find in my visits there’s always a lesson, a sweet kind message, a laugh or something that touches me. I end feeling full and contented by the visits. It’s my form of introverted conversation:~) As an introvert, I often get a bit tongue-tied, but my fingers and thoughts don’t disappear when I’m writing or commenting.

    I know you’re busy and life brings lots of challenges. I’ve been off and on lately myself at my site, but I hope you’ll continue to share your thoughts with me and others.
    Sara recently posted…SPC: I’m Stuck and I Can’t Get Out!My Profile

    • Sara, I hope you realise what an empowerer you are, not just on your own blog, but in all the comments you’ve left in other blogs over the years, thousands of them, always encouraging, positive, uplifting and beautifully expressive in their own right. Like this…

      I can identify with so many of the things you said, but it’s the clear and touching way you write that just grabs my heart.

      Like you, one of the things I love about blogging is how the comments take on a life of their own; in the boxes below everyone’s posts, we all share ourselves in a way we might not be able to do in our blogposts, simply due to the subject matter of our sites. I feel exactly the same about the conversational aspect as you do; it’s good for introverts like us, quietly reading other folks’ words, enjoying their wit and wisdom, photos and videos, and knowing we can join in the resulting conversation – or start one – without feeling awkward or pressured.

      • I’m so glad to have revisited this post, Janice! It’s an epistle to live by! Yes, the depth of your expression of what’s real and of your exposing how you, in my words, walk into the wind of adversity, complexity, challenge, menopause represent to me soulful tenacity. Your embrace exceeds much of what is offered as spiritual practice, too often whitewashed and carrying a moralistic undertone calling us to overcome what are natural dimensions of a full life. I take courage, comfort, perspective from your profund piece. Thank you again!

        • Wow, Connie; that’s a day-changing, lovely comment – thank you! So many layers of empowering mirroring and encouragement there, but my favourite phrase is “soulful tenacity”…I love it! When we’re weary or despondent, it’s so easy to forget what we’re capable of, what we know, what we’ve already managed to live through and survive. That’s why I love all the years I’ve spent coaching and being coached – everyone benefits from being championed, having company and support as they shuttle between the details and the big picture of their lives.

          • I returned to read “Enough” (having this link in a featured location as reminder) before going to visit family in the US and my elderly, now compromised mother. I continue to take sustenance from all you wrote, not to mention your vital creative expressiveness which I savour as well. Today what especially stood out for me was the distinction of being “compassionately” vs. “constantly” connected. Could be life-saving of oneself and some relationships?! Thank you, again, Janice.

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