Enoughness. What does it mean to have enough? To do enough? To be enough as you are?
In this time of Thanksgiving in the US and the end of a year in which so much and so little has happened, I am thinking a lot about the concept of enoughness. For me, this time of year is about focusing on all that I do have, and not on what I don’t.
Whether from an Amazon or Facebook ad, or under the pressure to meet a year-end goal at work, we often get caught in the powerful messages and thought patterns that tell us happiness comes from accumulating more — gadgets and gifts, accolades, promotions, gold stars — and doing more.
Yet the end of the year gives us a moment to pause and choose for ourselves: what really is enough? In a year of slimming down for so many — whether we face slimmed down holiday gatherings or slimmed down bank account balances: what really is enough — to have, and to be?
Another part of enoughness comes into play in our interactions with others. In a divisive period:
When is it enough to stop arguing and stop focusing on my winning and someone else losing?
When is it enough to arrive at my destination without hurry, without cutting people off in traffic, or to just let someone go ahead of you in line?
Or to leave a biting comment go un-responded to?
So often in our polarized world, we have a hard time letting go of the fight and the drive to WIN — even if we’ve won. What is it to maybe let go of some of the habituated ways of communicating, posting and arguing, and to let it all be simply enough?
This year has been hard, and many of us are more isolated than ever. Enoughness means giving yourself a break, not needing to host the perfect elaborate feast or travel all over the world or work 16 hour days.
Maybe the best gift sent you can give yourself and those closest to you is the present of presence.
While many of us are physically distancing from family and many others, it doesn’t have to mean emotional distancing. Maybe enough means instead to check in loved ones, family who are isolated, and single friends.
With more presence, quieting the habit to achieve more and to accumulate more, I’m focused much more on all that I do have and my own power of presence. Focus, attention, love where it matters.
Showing up for my colleagues, my family and my friends in the ways that I can, more open to receiving what is and finding the joy and happiness that comes from a little bit less.
Three tools for managing life during the holidays in lockdown:
- Mindfulness: Develop a gratitude practice. I love the idea of a gratitude rampage. In a journal, for two or five minutes, write down everything you can think of that you’re grateful for without stopping. Everything and anything that comes to mind. Doing this regularly in a journal means you can go back to it later, and it also means you’re carving new grooves in your mind’s gears for what you focus on — and there’s a lot to be grateful for if you look for it.
- Movement: Make sure you find time to move. Even walking has huge benefits, including enhancing your cognitive state and finding joy and connection with others, as best-selling author Kelly McGonigal explores in the Joy of Movement. Also, Seattle-based performance coach Paul Clingan’s new podcast series gives competitors in sports and in life a way to learn about mindfulness tools to improve mental health and mental performance.
- Communicating During the Holidays: Mastering hard conversations with family is especially important for the holidays. Last year I published an article with four key tips on managing difficult dinner conversations over the holidays. Finding ways to be clear about your ideal outcomes in advance, and managing what’s going on in your own head in advance of these gatherings is really important. The mindfulness and movement tips above will help.