Archives for posts with tag: what is ‘enough’?

The morning unfolds quietly. I sip coffee, watch a couple videos. There’s some amazing pandemic content, honestly. Like this. I mean, maybe you’ve got to be a fan of Cowboy Bebop… 🙂 Hard times produce great art. Great art is often about hard times. I feel fortunate to be an artist, myself.

Yesterday was a good day, busy with work, busy with life, and a relaxed leisurely evening of love and conversation to finish it off. I can’t bitch about any of that. I sit here with my coffee and a smile. It’s enough. I mull that over a bit. I didn’t understand “sufficiency” for a long time, and really had to work at that. It took practice to be content with “enough” – and to learn to recognize it. It can be hard not to be overwhelmed by acquisitiveness and yearning. It’s pretty easy to want “more”. And more after that. The pursuit of “more” keeps a lot of people enthralled. People wreck their lives in the here-and-now chasing something other than what they’ve got.

I’m not saying there is value in asceticism. (I’m not saying there isn’t…) I’m just saying finding balance between “nothing” and “everything” has the potential to be fairly easy; it’s a big spectrum. Lots to choose from. One major challenge is simply understanding what really is “enough” for me, as an individual. What do I truly need to live an acceptably good quality of life? How much farther than that must I truly go to live comfortably well? Once I’m there, how much more do I really need? What is enough?? What is excessive? When does desire for a thing or experience cross the threshold from interest to greed? Where does the painful character flaw of “a sense of entitlement” fit in to all of this?

(Note: I won’t be answering these questions for you. That’s on you to do, for yourself. We’re each having our own experience.)

I sip my coffee and think about what I have, and what more I may want in life, and wonder where the line is, that separates these things and experiences into categories like “need”, “want”, and “excessive”? What is “enough”… for me?

I still very much want a home of my own. “How much home, at what price?” is a seriously important question. How much square footage is enough? How many rooms meet my needs? How luxurious does it need to be to feel “comfortable”? I sit with my coffee and ask the questions. I consider the answers. It’s a familiar bit of internal discussion with myself. I’ve house-hunted before. I still don’t own a place of my own. More often than not, the cause of my lack of success moving forward from renting to owning has come down to not having enough to go further on the path of getting more. lol Renting, as it turns out, is generally, functionally, more or less “enough”. Mostly. I often experience moments of discomfort or aggravation that could easily be eased with some small change to my dwelling… that I can’t do, because I don’t own it. LOL Reason enough to want “more”, in this sense, but again… how much is “enough”?

This is just one example. Most people want something. We’re wired for it. Our desires drive our forward momentum, don’t they? So many questions to ask myself on a Tuesday morning. It’s not necessary to answer them all right now. Asking them is enough.

…Enough on which to begin again. 🙂

I’m sipping my coffee on a quiet Sunday morning. I slept in, some. I woke feeling rested, mostly. My day has a purposeful outing planned in it, one stop, out and back. My Traveling Partner and I will go together. This is still hours away. My partner is still sleeping. (My notion of “sleeping in” still finds me awake ahead of many people, on a Sunday. lol) Meditation. Yoga. Then, writing, right? That’s the routine, generally.

…This morning I sit sipping coffee, and for quite some time definitely not writing. Just sitting. Contemplating change. Contemplating the day ahead. Noodling around in my own head, lacking focus or intention – just here, being this moment. Reflecting on life. Sipping coffee. I’m not giving myself any shit about it; it’s enough for this moment to be what it is, right now. I don’t need more. There is no pressure on me in this moment to do more, or be anything different than this human being I have become over time. I feel fairly contented, through and through, and exist in this precious rare moment utterly without anxiety, without agenda, without worry. I’m just sitting here drinking coffee on a Sunday morning in the springtime, thinking thoughts. The sky hints at a sunny day ahead, after a rainy night.

I smile in anticipation of the pleasure in a shared drive in the countryside, later. “Enough”? More than enough. Delightful. I find myself greatly appreciating the errand that takes us out of the house today. It’s been far too rare, for what seems like a very long time (really, it’s only been about 8 weeks, I think…, but that is a long time to just “stay home”; we’re busier creatures than we knew, and it turns out staying home just indefinitely is really challenging). My mind runs down the list of “things to have when one leaves the house” these days: mask, nitrile gloves, hand sanitizer – and a positive attitude is always handy, too. What a weird time the pandemic is.

I give myself yet another moment, just relaxing and drinking coffee. No pressure. I remind myself to clean the bathroom, dust and vacuum later. Regular weekend chores. A long soak in a hot bath sounds lovely, too (I frown a moment, at the simultaneous recollection of how small our bathtub is, in this rental, still – it is sufficient, and I make room to be grateful we have indoor plumbing, hot running water, and fragrant bath products).

Today is a day. This moment is one moment. There will be others. Soon it will be time to begin again. Right now? It’s enough to enjoy this cup of coffee, on this quiet Sunday morning.

So… okay, we’re all human beings. This “social distancing” in a climate of anxiety about wellness, disease, economic downfall, shortages, and human mortality is draining, and tests my patience. (Yours, too, I bet!) Yesterday was punctuated with a bit of snarling, a handful of cross tears, some frustrated moments… Yes, it’s hard sometimes. I sip my coffee feeling fortunate, in spite of that; it could be much worse.

I take some time to watch fish swim.

Gratitude, perspective, sufficiency, and basic mindfulness are all great tools for getting me through stressful times. They do each require that I take that step… sometimes it’s “a step back” to gain perspective, or a pause for gratitude. Sometimes it is a step forward, and a considered reflective reminder that “sufficiency” is enough. (Omg, I can’t help giggling, it’s one of my favorite little aphorisms that is also a tautology.) Sometimes, it’s just a matter of moving from one moment to another, to sit down and seek yet another moment, of stillness, of breath, and then beginning again.

You know what it isn’t, though? It isn’t “easy”. These are not easy times, and I often feel “tested”. I have some coping practices that seem effective day-to-day, but I persist in being quite human, nonetheless, and sometimes that is complicated by sharing space with another human being. We are in this very much together, and somehow still also very much having our own experience, even in these close quarters.

He games… I watch fish swim. We help each other out with projects. We tackle projects on our own. We take turns choosing video content. We both interface with the world using our phones. We connect. We interact. We take a moment for ourselves alone. No surprises here; we’re enduring the challenges with the rest of the world. Similar frustrations. Shared difficulties. Common experiences among friends and neighbors and communities and nations afar… we’re all in this together. It’s gotten very “real”, though, hasn’t it?

I have another sip of my coffee, I pause for a moment of conversation with my partner. I look at the fish, swimming in the new tank next to my desk. I check the time; the moment feels timeless, unlimited, and not anchored to any calendar events. How will I know when to begin again? lol

…I guess when I finish this coffee. 🙂

I woke to the usual sounds of a rainy morning. No snow. Not here. I’m okay with that, and I get up and begin preparing for a routine sort of day. There’s been so much talk of snow, I sit down with my coffee and check the weather again, for any sign that I should definitely be working from home. No snow. No. Snow. (Not here.) My backpack is set up for inclement weather, the car is AWD. I’m ready for it, if and when it decides to snow. 🙂

Yesterday was similar, with regard to snow. We watched for it. Waited for it. Talked about it. Muttered about inaccurate weather forecasts, and in the next breath gushed over our favorite local meteorologist or some other climatologist of note, and talked about how much more accurate weather forecasts are “these days” – then went back to waiting, and watching, for snow that did not show up. We want it – and we dread it. We don’t want it – but we’re eager to snap snow pictures. lol Silly human primates.

I take a breath, and a sip of coffee, and relax. It may snow. It will or it won’t, or it’ll find something very different to do instead – maybe an ice storm in the middle of the night? It’s happened before, and is within the realm of things that are possible. I let it go. It isn’t significant until it happens, and either way I am prepared. I wonder for a moment if I should stop by the grocery store after work, then remember that my Traveling Partner is handling that. The amount of relief in the moment that I have help with life’s details, and that this journey is shared, is pretty obvious. I sigh, and relax, and smile. I am comforted knowing he’s in the other room, sleeping. Snow storm? Let it come; I’ll be in good company if I end up snowed in. 🙂

Letting myself become attached to an outcome isn’t generally very useful, even with the weather. Being generally prepared requires some awareness of legitimate ordinary possibilities, for sure, but doesn’t benefit from clinging to one or another in advance of the relevant moment. I smile to myself, feeling confident that this is a life lesson I’ve managed to learn well. I’m a big fan of non-attachment, of being “generally well-prepared in life”, and of sufficiency as a means of reducing the amount of stress in my life associated with disappointments. All of those require some practice (at least, they did for me, and still do). Pretty worth it to have so much less turmoil and drama in my life. 😀

Another smile, another sip of my coffee, another opportunity to begin again – whether it snows or not. 😀

Yesterday was lovely, end to end, in spite of the short, restless, night before. It was a pleasant day of healing self-care, relaxation, and mindful attention to the woman in the mirror…

…[It was pleasant] after having a deeply intimate discussion with my traveling partner during which I revealed to myself (and him) that I’ve been quietly struggling with feeling beat down and dismal, fighting off feelings of being irrelevant, “expired”, no longer useful in the world…because I’ve tended (all my life that I recall) to define myself (in the context of relationships) based on my sexuality and sexual availability (and skill), and my ability to reliably bring in an adequate steady income. Sex and money. I’d convinced myself at some distant point that what I bring to a relationship that has any real value is sex and money, just those. I literally don’t have a good understanding of what else I may offer a partner that has “real value”. No wonder I lost my shit the other night, feeling criticized in some implied way over the housekeeping, my weight/fitness, or my current state of non-employment (outside the home); I felt worthless. Yikes. I have some things to think about, and I definitely need to ease up on the woman in the mirror. She’s doing her best, and it is enough.

A walking meditation on a sparkling summer morning.

A walking meditation on a sparkling summer morning.

I spent the day after that feeling rather tender toward myself. I have the sense that I treat myself generally well, day-to-day, these days and it came as a surprise that I’d snuck in such a hurtful bit of messaging, playing more or less continuously on repeat in the background of my consciousness. I was feeling unwanted – but not saying so. I was feeling “out of date” and “superseded” and worthless – and wasn’t even giving myself the courtesy of hearing it, murmured so quietly, so deeply within.  Acknowledging these feelings came with a measure of awkward sad embarrassment, because I was holding on to the assumption that I “know better” now, and would not choose such a thing willfully with my eyes open… only… I did. It was buried in the fine print on the choices day-to-day made to ease the social tension that sometimes develops around my rather intense emotional life; if I choose to disregard my emotional life in order to be polite, to be practical, to be “grown up”, and then fail to follow-up with myself later to make room for my feelings and deal with my needs and hurts, I am going to pay for it, and so will everyone dealing with me when it finally goes down. I do not always make the wiser choice. I’m very human.

It’s the weekend, and it won’t be quite so hot today if the forecast is accurate. (Remember terrible inaccurate weather forecasts? Is that still a thing at all?) Today is a good day to treat the woman in the mirror well… It’s going to take some practice. 🙂