Archives for posts with tag: more than enough

I am sipping my coffee contentedly as the sun rise leaks through the partially opened blinds. I forget to dodge the orange sliver of light that momentarily blinds me. There is no aggravation in that moment. I am well-rested, and in no more than the usual amount of pain. I’ve seen new images of my spine…I’m no longer the slightest bit surprised by the amount of day-to-day pain I am in. What’s left now is managing it, and learning what else, if anything, can be done to ease it long-term. The morning begins pleasantly, and the pain – being a fairly unremarkable routine thing, generally – doesn’t change that.

I was stressed and tired yesterday, by the time I got home. I planted some tomato plants in my garden, and hung out with my traveling partner awhile. My anxiety coming and going in the background of our experience isn’t a comfortable thing for him. Eventually, I decided I’d try a very old-fashioned remedy indeed; I ‘laid down for a little while’. It turned into a night’s sleep, rather unexpectedly. I must have needed it. I slept 12 hours, waking only long enough to get up to pee once, and then later upon hearing the sound of someone moving through the house, and forgetting I am not living alone, I got up and crossed paths pleasantly enough with my partner, who was up during the night, himself. I definitely needed the sleep, and returning to slumber was fairly effortless. 12 hours, though? How tired was I? How fatiguing is stress?

This morning I sat quietly, meditating, for some while before I made coffee. The moment felt rich and fulfilling. How are some such simple moments so joyful and uplifting, where other more elaborate ploys to soothe or entertain oneself sometimes fall so short? Lasting contentment is not built on (and does not require) piles of money, or a 24-hour party atmosphere, or the satisfaction of every craving imagined…’enough’ seems quite ample, even ‘more than necessary’ some days (which seems almost nonsensical). What is “enough”? It matters too much [to me] to let it remain so poorly defined…although…maybe there is room in my experience for that, too. I sip my coffee and think about it; what is enough?

This morning, it is enough that I am safe, well-rested, clothed, fed, and have a good cup of coffee. The headphones my partner shared with me (“until you buy ones you like better” he says with a smile) are enough, too. I smile noticing how much more than ‘enough’ it feels, to me, that he reads my writing and hears me; it feels like the face of love smiling directly at me. It is enough to share some portion of life’s journey – with friends, with loved ones, with family  – and with a partner who returns that love, many times over. It is enough to have options, choices, and decision-making opportunities that offer me course corrections on life’s journey, in any direction I may choose.

Flowers and moments are enough.

Flowers and moments are enough.

It is spring. I am home. This is enough.

 

Turns out the toughest posts to write, for me, are those on mornings when my heart soars and I want to wax poetic about love. It’s a lovely morning, although I am a tad groggy and my brain is still sort of wandering here and there, and revisiting the lovely evening I shared with my traveling partner over coffees, dinner, and tales of adventure. I would happily overshare graphic romantic details without a thought for discretion, writing endlessly only about the ‘hearts and flowers’ of love and loving… certainly it is worthy subject material, always, and generally prominent in my thoughts on mornings such as this. I do prefer not to write too close to the boundary between joy and total loss of respect for the privacy of others dear to me, though… so, perhaps best to move on to other things?

Modern love

hello, Love

…And there’s the challenge, for me, this morning; what other things could I possibly write about on a morning like this, besides love? It was a great evening, in the company of someone dear to me, and just about perfect in every possible detail. Right at the moment I feel I could sit here smiling softly, wrapped in love, forever. “Forever”, unfortunately, isn’t actually a real thing for a mortal lifetime, and there’s much to learn, and experience (and endure) on this journey that is living. Perspective is a valuable handhold when something goes sideways later and life tries to knock the smile off my face – it may happen, it sometimes does. 🙂

tending the temple of my heart

tending the temple of my heart

Sometimes the hardest hits to my balance come on lovely days like this one. I go out into the world wearing this soft smile, wrapped in love, and don’t realize I’ve ‘let my guard down’ and am not protecting my heart from casual hurts, or have not taken care of my longer term need for balance and resilience by maintaining good practices. Feeling awesome, and feeling in love, sometimes results in taking my state of being for granted and letting good practices slip – because I already feel so good. It’s a mistake worth avoiding with mindful self-care. My day-to-day needs for good self-care don’t go away because I woke up feeling amazing, and feeling loved. There’s still pain to be managed. There are still chores to be done. There is still a budget to be watchful of (and far greater risk of poor impulse control when I feel wonderful). Meditation is still key to building resilience and balance. A healthy diet and appropriate exercise are still needed to maintain good health and promote longevity. Love doesn’t change any of that. Love mostly just feels good…and although I like putting love at the top of my ‘to do list’ (particularly adult romantic sexual love), love doesn’t wash the dishes, make the bed, or make sure I stay on goal with my budget (yeah – it definitely doesn’t help with that last one at all).

love's skills are varied and wondrous, but not always practical

love’s skills are varied and wondrous, but not always practical

Love is the most fantastically wonderful distraction from getting things done! 🙂

"Cherry blossoms" and thoughts of love...there's a metaphor there, somewhere...

“Cherry blossoms” and thoughts of love…there’s a metaphor there, somewhere…

This morning I sip my coffee and think about love’s demands – and the consequences of the actions love can drive. Impulse control issues can result in leaving work too early, or too often, or just sitting staring into a spreadsheet, thinking thoughts of last night, or some night to come. Love can derail my good practices, or find me becoming emotional cling wrap to hold onto any scrap of those lovely sensations just a while longer. Love’s playground becomes a proving ground for my growth over time; am I more easily able to stay on track with work, with planned activities, with other things that urgently matter to me? Am I able to maintain good practices in the face of romantic wonder? Am I grown up – or a little girl doodling hearts and flowers on the back of my notebooks? There is room in my heart – and my experience – for that little girl to remain safe and loved, but it’s also important that she not call the shots in my adult day-to-day experience.

"You Always Have My Heart"

“You Always Have My Heart”

Living alone, I am grateful that I am not particularly at risk of small relationship challenges spoiling my afterglow, that’s one obstacle to love’s delights that I am content to do without; I have enough work to do right now taming the adolescent lover within, and convincing her to do her chores. lol

Impractical, wonderful, sometimes adolescent - more than enough.

Impractical, wonderful, sometimes adolescent – more than enough.

Today is a good day for love – and for making sure things get done in spite of loving. Today is a good day to recognize that while it may feel like ‘love is everything’ and ‘love is all I need’, truly love doesn’t do her share of the dishes, make the bed, or vacuum, and the practical things in life need practical attention. There are verbs involved. It’s also a good day to treat people well, from this loving place; love is a nice way to improve the world.

I find it interesting to notice how much longer a weekend feels when I really take the time to invest in exceptional self-care, and really make a point of relaxing, and savoring the simple sweet moments that are often so common – and so easily overlooked. Is life ‘perfect’…well…no – and yes, mostly, sort of… It’s a matter of perspective and sufficiency, and making a point of treating me well, myself.

Enough.

Enough.

It’s been a lovely weekend. Simple enough, and I am content with it. Perhaps it’s simply that I slept well and deeply, two nights in a row, or maybe it is that I feel comfortable and certain of my current trajectory in life, at least for the moment, and enjoy the feeling without complications because it is truly my own? Does it matter why contentment is, when it is? Is it enough to enjoy the moment, to be, in fact, content? At least for now, it seems that it is.

I have been attentive to my self-care. I have been attentive to myself. I have been awake, aware, and able to observe the world, and my own interactions from a place of compassionate non-judgment most of the weekend. Most of my choices have been sound. Most of my interactions with others have been harmonious, and enjoyable – pleasant, moment to moment, most of the time. The handful of challenging moments didn’t seem particularly noteworthy, or confrontational, and generally they were not at all about me – and that was something I understood at the time. As I said, it’s been quite a lovely weekend. Even my pain didn’t seem worth slowing down for; it was merely a nuisance.

Incremental change over time? Well, perhaps – or maybe just a good weekend. Is sorting out that distinction worth taking the time away from savoring what a lovely weekend it has been? I think not; this is a moment for being. For loving. For lingering in this joyful contented place… That’s enough.

Did you see that house?? Wow – check out that car! Designer clothes…limited edition printings…specialized or customized decor…exotic rare flavors, places, experiences… What do you aspire to? More? Much more? Go big or go home! Dream big! Shoot for the moon! More…further…better…
A wow moment on an ordinary day.

A wow moment on an ordinary day.

No wonder I feel so pushed sometimes. It’s a very big world, and there are so many opportunities, so many wonders, and challenges, so many things to try or experience – I guess I’m not surprised that so many folks chase some dragon or another, looking to fulfill themselves, or achieve one goal or outdo some standard or expectation, hit a noteworthy benchmark, impress someone, or climb some mountain, ladder, or heap.
Soap bubbles are also 'real'.

Soap bubbles are also ‘real’.

I know a man with a spectacular home. He bought it for his own reasons, perhaps because his last home wasn’t ‘enough’. He shopped a long while before he found what he was looking for. I still don’t really understand his choice. He bought a mammoth home, worthy of being called ‘an estate’, well off the everyday beaten path, and far out of view of any sight of ‘economic distress’ in a place of exquisitely preserved nominally natural loveliness… it’s huge. Quite large. Well and good, of course, for his substantial family… wait… no, he lives alone, generally. He has just one child (living far away), and no likelihood of grandchildren, not even a dog by his side. Many rooms, much square footage, and more than much else, it boldly states ‘here lives a man who is economically successful’. It’s very fancy. His own tastes, as a man, seem quite simple. He has worked hard and as much as his understanding of the world permits, he is an ethical and good man. He seems mild of temperament, professionally competent, and decent. He tends to be modest and self-effacing when confronted directly, or in conversation, by ‘someone better’ than he sees himself; it is clear that the superiority in question is a matter of financial success. He treats a man with more money as likely to be simply smarter, wiser, more right more often, in a word – better.  If success is measured in dollars, square footage, rarity, or exclusivity, then perhaps a very grand house is an excellent value in communicating that success to the world.
This says something about who we are.

This says something about who we are.

What does that house mean? Oh – not to him, because how that house meets his needs, or what value it has for him, isn’t really relevant to me at all. Not my house. Not my family. Not my measure of success. It’s just an anecdote about a guy with a house.
The basics, walls, windows, a roof, a door.

The basics, walls, windows, a roof, a door.

When I was much younger, in my 20s, I loved shoes, and clothes, and traveling to destinations; most of my disposable income went to those opportunities. I aspired to all sorts of ‘greatness’ and hit the mark once in a while, and struggling and suffering when I didn’t. I pushed myself hard and continuously to ‘succeed’. I defined success based on a number of things that were economic in nature, and certainly each of us is free to define success in our own way… only… I wasn’t doing that, at all. I was defining success as I had been told to define it, based on someone else’s measure of success. (I think we all start there.) Many of us find our own way to re-defining success in our own terms. (I did, eventually.) The discovery that ‘clothes don’t matter’ was an important game-changer for me. I came home from war substantially changed of mind and heart, and on the scale of clothes and shoes it was obvious.  It took a while longer and a house to teach me why ‘clothes don’t matter’, and the nature of sufficiency. I’m still learning.
"Kuwait; Oil Fires" 26" x 48" oil on silk.

“Kuwait; Oil Fires” 26″ x 48″ oil on silk.

Funny thing, though… that house… You see, having a home, a place of my own, somewhere I could always come back to, however far I strayed, somewhere to count on… that has been a measure of success for me, for a very long time.  I get excited about fancy big homes with ‘tons of features’, so much so that I recently allowed myself to be entirely de-railed from a thoughtful, reasoned, careful house-hunting process by the dangled temptation of something bigger, better, fancier… more. More than I need, for sure. I noticed when it happened, but the pure addictive delight of the daydream in front of me was intoxicating, and fully distracting from something far far more important to me – ‘enough’. An important lesson in attending closely to my own needs, my own goals.
It's a trap!

It’s a trap!

Sufficiency. Contentment.

Sure, I suppose a million-dollar home in an exclusive gated community of like-minded individuals surrounded by landscaped scenery, safe behind efficient alarm systems, and deeply invested in society by way of a hefty mortgage would be one way to shout “I am a success!” to the world. Having a big house with plenty of room, and rooms, and features, and space, and customized to suit my taste for color and design would be very aesthetically pleasing, and potentially very comfortable and satisfying. It might satisfy some wants, fulfill some desires, even meet some needs. It would answer a very different question than “What is enough?”

For me, a grand house could not be described as ‘necessary’. It would not be about ‘meeting my needs’, and however often words about needs might be spoken by someone with the money to buy such a grand house, a house like that is not likely to be about needs. A house like that is about wants, and wanting, about craving, acquisition, and fighting discontent with possessions, and communicating status to the world. What need does one human being have for a house of many rooms, many bathrooms, many many square feet, broad expanses of lawn, yard, or acreage, neatly landscaped, arranged, and managed in accordance with the community covenants and homeowner’s association guidelines? I firmly assert again, it is not about needs, or meeting needs, at all.

I know what I need. I need enough. Sufficiency. Safe, secure, sheltered from inclement weather, adequate protection from the unknown intentions of those who might wish me ill, a place where I feel nurtured, at ease, content, and ‘at home’. I need a home, far more than I need a house. I’ve lived in reasonable comfort for months in a tent, in good company, well-provisioned, and feeling both safe and secure. I’m pretty sure ‘my real-estate’ in that circumstance measured something like 20 sq ft. The more-than-dozen of us sharing that tent had about 500 sq ft together. It seemed, at the time, rather generous. Most of the time it felt like ‘enough’. Clearly ‘enough’ isn’t about square footage, stone walls, expanses of lawn, HOA by-laws, elegant roof-lines, granite counters, upgrade appliances, or gated communities. What is ‘enough’? What is ‘home’?

One of the flavors of 'home'.

One of the flavors of ‘home’.

Home. Yeah. Home is high on my list of priorities. Getting there is just starting to peek over the horizon on my vast to-do list of personal growth, and desirable achievements…and I don’t even know yet everything I ‘need’ to measure my success there… other than ‘enough’.  Excess is a burden. Delighting in excess is a fast track to being a shitty human being. lol.
What's your pleasure?

What’s your pleasure?

I probably wouldn’t be a really first-rate minimalist. I’ll be honest about that. I like some luxuries, and my aesthetic preferences result in the possession of the occasional object or two without purpose beyond beauty, but there, too; I call the shots on my idea of success, and only I truly know what meets my needs, and what those needs are, and why. I recognize the possibility that some solitary person with vast wealth might truly ‘need’ a huge grand house of many rooms filled to the rafters with carefully placed exquisite objects that reflect their taste and experiences, reminders of other things and moments, and perhaps such vast wealth truly results in a life so well-lived that the accumulated possessions truly fill such a grand house in a predictable and commonplace way. It’s possible. I have books, paintings, paperweights… having space to display them might seem a necessity from some perspectives, and certainly practical objects like books lose value when they are boxed up, labeled, and put into storage. I would be less satisfied to be without books, and the wee library space I have put together in my current house satisfied my heart when I finished that project. If I had more books, I’d ‘need’ more space. It’s not quite the sort of ‘need’ I’m really on about, though… and the small library I have is just bookshelves along a wall in a mostly unused corner. It meets my needs. It is enough.

I’m spending some time reconsidering my discontent in all manner of things, and the questions I am asking myself are ‘What do I really need?’ and ‘What is enough?’ I have never found contentment – or happiness – in ‘more’, ‘bigger’, ‘better’, or ‘further’. I have found it in sufficiency, in appreciation, in gratitude. I may want ‘more’, I only need ‘enough’.