I stepped into the kitchen to take a break from my latest writing project. This one’s a screenplay. Fourth draft. My head is spinning from moving the puzzle pieces around. Cut. Paste. Delete. Move. Don’t know what’s up or down right now. But I keep writing because, well, it’s what I do these days. Just need a quick break to clear my head.
I slice an apple and scoop out a big spoon of peanut butter (the best lunch ever!) as I notice a question flittering around my head like one of those annoying gnats. I try to wave it away. But moments later that small gnat has morphed into a bat, as the question reverberates louder and louder.
“Am I enough?”
I’m not even sure what the question is referencing. Am I enough being a writer? Am I enough being a Mom? Am I enough, simply, being?
Mid life. Questions present themselves daily. Some are small, some deep. My intention remains the same: to show up in service. But as I enter this phase of my life, this question permeates my thoughts. How do I know if I’m doing enough?
Is it enough for me to work diligently as a mom, doing all the menial tasks that, put together, create a full time job? Is loving my boys with everything I have enough? Laundry. Bills. Cleaning. Driving. Guiding. Is that enough?
Is it enough that I want to make myself available to my parents as they age and their health declines? I feel a tinge of guilt as I’ve missed a few of my weekly visits. Setting those healthy boundaries are still a bit of a challenge. I want to be there for them as much as I can. But is that enough?
Is it enough that I write without the guarantee of generating money? I write because it comes through me, I feel on purpose, I love it. I try not to hold an attachment to the outcome. But is it enough?
Is it enough that I’m married to the same man for twenty-two years, together for twenty-five? We’ve fallen into a complacency that I question. Tons of love there, for sure. But the spark has dimmed and I’m not sure I have the energy to re-kindle. But that love. Is it enough?
Is it enough for me to pray and send light as I learn about the atrocities unfolding in our world? So many innocent people- and those children- all struggling with so much pain and suffering. And the people displaying such bravery as they stand up for freedom. I pray, and donate, and pray, and pray, and pray. Is that enough?
And of course the question at the root of all of these questions: Am I doing enough to earn my spot on this earth? Am I serving in the way that God intends me to serve? Is there more I could be doing?
Eventually my skills kick in and I hear a voice responding to my questions. “Sarah, you know the answers to these questions. Isn’t it perfect that you’re being presented with these opportunities now. How do you intend to deal with them?”
Ahhh…the perfect opportunities. Yes. School is in session. I’ve learned that anything that upsets me is a sure sign that my stealthy little ego is present, doing its best to separate me from my loving, my truth. This is a great place to start. Identify how the ego is present. Sometimes it shows up as a thin veil and others like a thick, brick wall. Time to examine any old stories, patterns, misunderstandings or misinterpretations, and judgements that are present and get to work.
I start with a notion that has been lingering in the air, like the smell of wood burning from a fireplace down the street. The feeling that I’m living small. I recognize my strong desire to move to a larger home, one with much more light and air, as a clear metaphor for how I’m feeling inside myself: I want to experience more space, more light within myself.
I long for a sustained feeling of living on purpose, one with such intensity and joy that time is irrelevant, when everything feels…aligned and perfect. I recall those days when I had a career outside the home, or the ones when the boys were smaller and they needed me for their mere survival, or, oh my gosh, when I was pregnant. I’ve never felt so on purpose as when I carried our boys inside my own body! That feeling-it’s like no other. Recalling those times I’m gently reminded that those feelings are always available to me. Where am I blocking myself from experiencing them now?
Because lately, the feelings that have been most present are those of emptiness and a sense of being ungrounded. Ahhh-there it is, you sneaky little ego- the story that has been running underneath everything. The one where I tell myself that I’m not enough. That I am irrelevant.
I try to rationalize my feelings by pointing to the medication I take to stop the hormones from over-producing in my body so that the cancer stays away. The fluctuations can certainly lead to moodiness. But nope, you’re not gonna get away with it this time. I see you, ego. I’m calling you out. Because the truth is, meds or not, these stories have lingered for years. Perhaps the reason they’re coming forward so prominently now is that it’s time to heal. Time to feel the feelings they bring forward. Time to identify these old beliefs and stories I’ve allowed myself to take in as truth.
I had a wonderful experience recently. I was deep in some sadness and upset one morning. And on top of those feelings, I was judging myself because I was buying into the belief that as a student of Spiritual practices, I should be able to move through upset with greater ease. I cried through my workout routine, but kept pushing forward.
As I got ready for my walk, I grabbed the hat with a light on it that my husband gifted me for these early morning walks, before the sunrise. I stepped outside with our dog and turned on the light. Immediately, the path before me was lit and I heard a voice say, “Sarah, the light shines the way, but you have to take the steps.” Ohhhhhh- yeh. I hear you. Shining my light and being spiritual doesn’t mean I won’t get upset. It really just means that the light is always with me to help me through these experiences. The upset is merely an opportunity to heal. I have skills that allow me to move through these times with grace. OK, cool. I get that.
I kept walking and a few minutes later, our dog pooped. It’s my responsibility to pick up the poop, right? So I leaned over and the light shined on the poop. And the voice said, “See, it even shines on the poop.” Ok, ok- I get that too- the light will shine on the tough stuff and my curriculum is to pick it up.
And as I continued the voice said one more thing. “Here’s where choice comes in. How long do you want to carry this poop? You can choose to carry it for a while or let it go now.” Well, I found a trash bin just as soon as I could. Metaphor or not, I wanted to make sure the voice, universe, Spirit, mySELF knew that I chose to release this sh-t as soon as I possibly could.
As my mentor states, “This work is not for the faint of heart.” It can be grueling. Exhausting. And ultimately, so incredibly fulfilling.
So I’ll continue to ask the questions. Examine the issues. Surrender, trust, pray, ask for assistance, and set clear intentions to show up in service even when I don’t know what that’s supposed to look like.
Who knows, maybe the mere act of writing this piece will resonate with someone and offer a bit of peace. Maybe my light is shining even when I feel like it’s dim inside. Maybe I am serving. Maybe I am- Enough.