A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about a particular tree I love to talk to for advice, and when I asked what to pass on to you dear Earth Warrior what popped into my head was “you are enough. You are being enough, you are doing enough, you are enough.” Good one, tree.
Ever since then I thought it would be good to do it justice and write a blog on the topic, not just ‘…err I’m still thinking about it’. Are you ready to go deep on this one with me?
It’s all very well to say, and indeed many have said it, especially in self-help land. It’s another thing entirely to feel ENOUGH. I surprised myself actually, I thought I was down with it way more than I was. I had to rumble with it, as Brené Brown would say. I’ve written in other blogs about epiphanies where my brain just flips and I see the light so to speak, but this one took almost a month of work. It’s pretty personal, I’m sharing because I always wonder how people come to their conclusions and what ‘doing the inner work’ actually means. Plus once I’d gone through the process I realised that feeling ‘enough’ is a powerful part of being a strong and resilient Earth Warrior, and it flows through all aspects of our lives.
You are enough
When I touched the tree I had that inner knowing that this little voice inside my mind was truth, like Life itself was passing on some loving wisdom. If the voice of Love tells you that you are enough, then that is what you are.
At first I thought yes yes that’s nice, thanks tree, but when I really sat and thought about it instead of ‘enough’ what I felt was inadequate. So inadequate. And I felt guilt. And shame. Ergh. Sure, I’m enough if you say so tree, but I haven’t figured out how to live 100% plastic free yet even after years of trying. But I don’t talk to enough people about environmental issues. But I’m a lousy activist. My environmental footprint is too big. I haven’t donated enough money to all the worthy causes. I can’t be enough, the world is still warming, the oceans acidifying, the forests disappearing.
Oh look, I’ve pinned my self worth to the state of the planet and issues outside my control, oops. Not a way to empower oneself! In fact, that’s a big contributing factor in why I burnt out, so it’s interesting to see that I still have some healing to do there. (Side note – I love happening upon these unhealed things, I just put a mental sticky note next to them and know that now it will get sorted out in good time. I tend not to fret about how that will happen).
There is also fear. If I am enough now (as opposed to later, when the world is all hunky dory) what does that mean? Does that mean that I stop? Stop chasing, pushing, pursuing, healing, growing, bettering myself and the world? If I decide I’m enough do the causes I’m passionate about sit idly by as I just recline under a nice tree in some contented fashion? Will I become greedy and selfish?
It’s good to write these things out because straight away even though I’m feeling the fear, inadequacy, guilt and shame I can see some trigger words there which make me question my paradigm: Hang on – I have done work on my chasing, pushing and pulling, I actually don’t want to do these things because they exhaust me and aren’t the most effective way of getting things done. I’m not an idle person, I love creating. My contented default is not greedy and selfish, so why would I think that would happen? And why on Earth would I stop working on things I’m passionate about?
When you say to yourself ‘I am enough’ what comes up for you? What are your ifs whens and buts? Are there any fears?
This voice of fear is not always based on truth. We don’t have to believe what it says. We start to take our power back from it when we start to question it and question those fear-based assumptions.
I had an experience a couple of months ago on a walk where there were heaps of juvenile magpies out, probably 10-15 of them, and I was of a mind to see what Nature had to teach me that day. These magpies couldn’t sing yet, they just made this unpleasant ‘craw’ sound. They were also really ungainly flyers, throwing themselves through the air. Do you know what I realised though as I pondered their lesson? They were enough. As beings they were doing a perfect job of being exactly as they should be, without trying to be anything else. They were growing and learning to become the fully expressed version of a magpie, and even though they hadn’t got there yet they were already precisely enough. It’s a lot easier to see it in nature or in others than it is to see in ourselves.
That was the day I fell in love with magpies.
Is our problem that we judge where we are against some fully expressed version of ourselves without realising that we are already enough on our journey? Or are we like baby magpies thinking we should be growing into eagles, or hippopotamus’, or unicorns perhaps? We use this dastardly word ‘should’ to beat ourselves over the head with, as an excuse not to love and accept ourselves just as we are. I *should* be doing X Y Z, I *should* be feeling this way, I *should* be ‘there’ by now. Never enough. Ergh, exhausting!
What I realised is that I had made my enoughness conditional (I’ll be enough if…, I’ll be enough when…). You can’t win, because usually the goalposts are either so far away as to be unattainable (like my saving the planet ones), or they keep moving (ok I’ve achieved A but now there’s B to do, and after that C and we chase the whole alphabet). But what to do about this? It’s one thing to recognise on a mental level and another entirely to feel it on an emotional level, which is where we see results.
After all this processing my aha came in two parts. The first is thanks to Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now (get on to it). I am enough: the key is hiding in the phrase – I am – present tense. Now. Right now, this instant, this is where he says we find enoughness. We look for evidence in the past that we weren’t enough, and we compare ourselves against some ideal future, but that is not where we are! These situations only exist in our mind, with all our biases. Forget the ‘I’ll be enough when’s’, now is the only place we’ll find it, the only time we’ll be able to feel it. And if we can find it now we will be enough if and when.
The feeling of ‘I am enough’ finally came when I was driving home late one evening pondering it again, and it came back to those magpies. I had peeled back enough layers of this beast to finally see it for what it is. Three words! My mind had been adding all sorts of things to it, using ‘I am enough’ like the start of a sentence and adding emotions to that. It’s not. I am, and you are, entirely enough as we are, being ourselves in this moment like those magpies. Even if we’re a totally depleted hot mess, it’s all a perfect part of our journey of being ourselves. Even if we failed at whatever activity we tried, or made decisions we regret, or we’re not where we thought we should be. Sure it can be unpleasant and at times very painful but that doesn’t make us in any way less than enough at the core of our being.
We are the perfection of the clumsy young magpie. We are enough in this moment, for this moment. We are being enough, we are doing enough, because all we are meant to be being and doing is ourselves and our life, learning and growing as sure as the sun rises. If we don’t like the way we’ve been going our blessing is that we get to choose again.
Is this feeling locked in for me? Not even close. But what I will do, and what I recommend for you too, is to sit with the feeling, be it of being enough or anything else you want to feel, for a couple of minutes each day. What I mean by that is literally sit down, close your eyes, bring that feeling to mind, feel it in your body and just stay there for a bit while you acclimatise. If unwanted thoughts or feelings arise then you know what you have to work on, they are your blocks.
Doing the inner work of feeling ‘I am enough’ is watering the seed of our self worth. It is the place from which we will show genuine leadership and start to be the kind of Earth Warrior that we want to be, standing up for what we believe in and tackling everything with integrity.
PS. So I did ask the tree about this one while I was struggling with it. What I got was ‘you are just like me. You are strong, you are resilient, you are flexible.’ Isn’t that nice 🙂 A message for all of us.
PPS. If this is an area that you’re struggling with but want to work on then you’re in luck – this is exactly the kind of stuff that we cover in my coaching sessions. If you would like to book a FREE discovery session, book in here: https://kirstyhughes.com/work-with-me/bookingform/
Title image background picture by Lip Kee Yap on Flickr