Enough

All is calm, All is bright... and getting brighter still.

As I sit this morning, writing, I remembered this old post from a previous, private blog. This is a repost, written Christmas time, two years ago.

My tree this year still went up the weekend of Thanksgiving, because if I'm going to put one up, I'm going to enjoy the thing. But this year, only cloth ornaments, because - kitten.

The reasons "why" behind the actions continue to relax as healing as continued as the norm, thankfully. Creative efforts now go into developing Embodied Breath, but not for lack or perfectionism. Rather, to evolve a project from a place of purpose and passion. Less busy work, more true heart work. (On my knees grateful.)

This year, my Christmas tree is pretty much just a tree. The need to handcraft is almost entirely relaxed. Any sadness of lost tradition and ornaments now on his father's tree at another house, I didn't even think of until now.

Ode to the process... Deep bow to our internal evolution...

Keep on, bright ones.

 

December 2015...

...I feel I need to write one more explanation of this endeavor before I dive into the grit of the blog (and subsequent book).  If I begin posting about the day I gave birth to my first child, at age 19, and how that event left a mark on every decision I've made ever since, readers may be a bit taken aback.  Thus, friends, a soft overview written from this cozy couch position.

Pictured above, my Christmas tree.  Clearly, since I've used the word "cozy" and already have a tree erected and fully decorated by December 6th (truth: it was up November 28th), I am a fan.  I'm not a fan of Santa or Jesus or even family tradition, I am a fan of my Christmas tree.  How, one may ask, does a Christmas tree have anything to do with this blog or a memoir of post-nineteen year old birth?  Perfectionism, dear ones.

Perfectionism.

To put it laughably mildly, giving away a child seriously fucks with the course of your life.

Thereafter, there is no normal.

For me, the manifestation of this entire event was to strive.  Implicit was the understanding that if only I had had it together, I could have raised my baby.  And so if only I could get it right from here on out, I'll be able to feel whole again.  And so it went.  Through three college degrees, a marriage, and a second child.  None of which were a mistake, hear me now, but that is to say that this shit really played out.

So as I look at my Christmas tree, it seems to exemplify the the undertones of perfectionism that pervaded (note: past tense) my daily life for approximately the last fifteen years.  I don't quite feel the same drive to succeed now as I had (much more to come on this topic) but the evidence of this manifestation is all around me, and for one example, on this tree. Ornaments: hand-felted, ceramic, sewn, drawn with my child's sweet toddler-sized skill and hand. Ornaments purchased at the Ten Thousand Villages post-Christmas sale annually with more religion than I bring to Christmas itself cover this tree.  The tree is sweet, and perfect, really, and all of these treasured ornaments still bring me a lot of joy, even if I can now take a step back from the domestic striving that created it all.

Now, I do love beautiful things, and I love to create.  A marriage of craftsmanship and perfectionism is likely at play even now, because if we're going to create, let's have some standard of quality.  In fact, even this season, my son and I crafted real-deal Cone 6 clay ornaments, let's be honest.  It's the reason why that has shifted now.  Before, it was to feel whole.  Now, it is to create beauty.  And this blog (and subsequent book) is to tell the story of the changes that allowed for that transformation.

I also make beauty, and finding it, a priority, and I'm absolutely appreciative of this.  I love the simple way pothos flow over the rim of a small white pot in my kitchen.  I love the quilts I've made, for their heirloom quality and memory and purpose.  I love even my magazine pile, for it's haphazard nature, invitation, and promise.  I love what I've created in this life, all things considered.

My son told me this week that my husband's (still working on that "ex" prefix) girlfriend and he have matching corncob pipes.  They also have matching interests in motorcycles and large trucks, and matching sales jobs in a gear shop with a bar.  He always had wanted less responsibility than I had forced on him.  I was spending our relationship playing out trying to fill the hole in my heart, and he... well, he was looking to be loved in a really fundamental way that I didn't yet understand.  Apparently, in his defense, the new girlfriend has formed negative opinions of me based on what she knows of our relationship.  If only I could have been more fun.  You're so right.  If only I could have thrown more darts with whiskey in hand instead of evenings spent at the sewing machine.  But it's not so simple.  Because to say all of this is to essentially, at the core of it, say "Why couldn't you have just gone back to normal after giving away that baby way back when?"

We certainly lived out the manifestation of that single event of childbirth and adoption throughout our marriage (my daughter, let it be known, was not his).  Me, desperately trying to make sense of what in the world was meant by "enough" and him living that down alongside me.  Bless him.  May he be throwing darts in pure whiskey-induced bliss alongside his current love if that's what they choose.

I have now come to realize that absolutely nothing and absolutely everything is actually perfect, from the way life plays out to the ways we mistakenly attempt to shape our lives.  It is real life I intentionally choose to allow to unfold, observing interconnectedness of past and present with reverence.  In this way, ornaments can be ornaments, quilts can be appreciated as art, and blogs can be a healthy creative expression of life lived.  Beauty is there all the time, whether or not we choose to simply see and enjoy it, allowing it to unfold, or attempt like hell to manifest it.  And bless us, whichever path we choose.

Inadequacy

I have a friend who sees my work with children and teases me that I will end up in school again one day soon for another Master’s - this time in Clinical Social Work or some such therapeutic field. I am always interested in the how and why of human behavior. All year he’s been saying this to me, and I’ve been adamantly saying no. Here’s why.

It’s not that I don’t love to dissect human behavior. It’s not that I don’t love to continue learning. It’s not that I’m opposed to other people’s decisions to go back to school.

The short of it is that at this time in my life, going back to school for another degree, another certification, another this or that, would support the perpetuation of a lifelong struggle to prove myself adequate. To prove myself enough. And I'm pretty done with that right now. 

I learn every single day, let’s be clear. I have books and podcasts going constantly. I listen as I drive, as I cook. One day, far from now, might I like to study Jung deeply? Yes. But for now, I get a strong dose of Marion Woodman by choice and documentary. I watch Gaia physics films when I’m "relaxing." I love learning.

I simply won’t subscribe, currently, to the reasons that most people are in school. We live in a system that innately perpetuates feelings of inadequacy. We start in school from a very young age, are told not to trust our instincts, and are told what to think. Then, other people assess us on how we communicate back to them that thinking. And, before you know it, little ones be like: I lost my power.

The answer, really, starts long ago. I lost my power long ago. Reasons abound.


But when I was pregnant at 18, and it was decided that I would surrender my daughter for adoption, a deep, deep sense of inadequacy took up residence in me. I believed I wasn’t enough. I wasn’t old enough to raise her, I wasn’t wealthy enough, I didn’t know enough. These were things both communicated to me on adoption's behalf, and they were beliefs I allowed myself to have. Because, after all, I was eighteen and living in my parents’ basement after having to leave my first semester of college.

But I left at the end of the semester, finishing the credits and puking in the dorm toilets through my first trimester of pregnancy. I went to school for six credits close to my parents’ home while pregnant. She was born at the end of July, and two weeks later, I was in classes in the third college within a year. Because, you know, I had to go make something of myself.

Let me pause here to say - no fault is at play here. I’m writing a book about the complexities of this scenario - because it’s going to take the length of a book to explain them. My mother, in pushing me to go to school, was doing the thing she thought was best. It’s the thing we all think is best. It's why, if you're good at something or have inquiry in it, the next "logical" step is more schooling, for many people. 

But what I developed in all of that was that deep sense of inadequacy. I got a few college degrees (3) over the next ten years. I still couldn’t ever figure out how to save money or feel like I had enough, for a long, long time. I had gotten married, had another child, gotten the degrees, gotten the job, and holy shit, the insides of me still didn’t feel whole.

Because we don’t feel whole by filling ourselves up - with degrees, with food, with stuff, with booze, with a house or money, even with another person’s love, even with religion! We can not fill ourselves up if we are feeling empty with anything at all except our own self-love. (I go all bold with y’all when I really mean it.)

Some days, and this happened yesterday, I find myself surprised by the presence of inadequacy still. It creeps in like a little bitch. 

I run a business for women’s resiliency, damn it. I’m hardy. You don’t give your child away, have an ACE score of 4, decide not to become addicted to alcohol, raise a fantastic son with the level of intention I’ve brought from the beginning, and be a damn school administrator without resiliency. When I told my partner, meeting me at age 35, that I was the black sheep, that I was always a perceived failure, his eyes popped and asked, “....how the hell….?” Yeah. I was overcompensating for a long time.

But yesterday, up and out it came. And because I go through rather than around, I sat with it. I danced with it. I cried with it. I was tender with it.

It was directly linked to my daughter’s adoption. It was like the roots of inadequacy, buried long ago, were ready to surface. This is the beauty of life - we go through what we can handle. And that's true of the healing as well. 

This time, I was affected by the inadequacy differently. I recognized it, but I was not triggered. I was not convinced or held captive in its grasp. Instead, I examined it. I felt all the feels. This time, I sat as if with that 18 year old self, and I imagined all the things I’d tell her if I could go back. This time, I allowed the old memory to be present, but it didn’t have a hold on me.

There was a reverence. A care. We all hold ourselves up in various, exhausting ways. We keep going. We are resilient, most of us, by nature.

I am adequate. I am enough. I am more and more whole all the time. 

I don’t need another degree to know that, and I don’t need another degree to help others to realize that within themselves.

I'm sharing today to say that, yes, the hard stuff still happens. I don't work as a coach because I've bypassed all the hardship. I work as a coach because I know how to sit with the hard stuff, I am familiar with the act of leaning into the lessons presented to us, and I know the celebration in the release and subsequent rise.

Coaching for women’s resiliency is not about going back, like a therapist, and examining each and every reason why we live our lives the way we do. It’s about leaning in, honoring the cycles of our lives, the emotions that arise, and our deeply innate nature as women to both intuit what is right for us, meanwhile carrying on. My resiliency coaching honors it all - past, present, future. It honors the women we were and where we want to be. It honors that we have sometimes stuffed our emotions, which has lead to our dissatisfaction, and it also honors that we need to use our emotions to be appropriately guided where we want to go.

I want every woman, every age, to know what is best for her, and to have the courage to say it.

May we lose no more power to perceptions of inadequacy.

Xo,

s

(Written Nov 2017)

Enough is only a baseline.

Stop it. Just stop.

Inside, there is a thought loop about how you are not enough. How do I know? Every woman, unless they've done a shit load of personal work, has one. There are likely multiple thought loops about how you are not enough.

What is prompting this blog post at this time is because I just got a phone call from a woman working late, and she said to me, "Oh I don't have a life." What?! Stop it.

Why this post at this time? Because this concept is needed. Every day. Everywhere.

I thought my entire blog was going to be called Enough Is Only A Baseline when I started Embodied Breath. Because really, everything comes down to this.

We live in a culture that perpetuates lack. If that feels like a big unwieldy statement to you, let me try again, because I want to start saying this as many ways as possible. We are told, from a very young age, to be more. Succeed. Go out and GET (education, husband, babies, high paying job...) in order to BE (successful, worthy, talented, enough...). Enough.

Women feeling unworthy heard on high.

I'm here to be of service in shifting this paradigm. You do not have to go out and get anything in order to be amazing, feel amazing, and know at your core that you are amazing. You do not need anyone else's validation.

Can you imagine that feeling??

Let's be really clear here - you kick complete and total ass on a daily basis. You raise children and worry about every single decision you make in raising them. You likely worked and made sure every family member was fed, made sure your children did their homework well, and cleaned the cat litter. Who else is going to clean the cat litter?

You might be doing it alone. You might be a mom in a house without a dad. I see you.

You might be worried sick about your child. If this is the case, you are most likely criticizing yourself. Wondering where you made a wrong parenting move or what you can do next to right the wrongs.

You are carrying so much weight. Weight that isn't always validated. I see you.

You've forfeited your own satisfaction (I'm talking about deep satisfaction), your ideal career, your preferences.

And you still don't feel like you've been doing enough. Yeah. I see you.

I was you. Sometimes I still am.

We end up in perpetual states of striving. We end up sick. We end up a little bit broken until we realize - I AM ENOUGH! And we start to reclaim it. And then, oh, and then, something beautiful happens. Something magical. Something the world needs. You realize, yes, I am enough, and enough is only a baseline.

You are so much more than enough.

Don't feel it yet? Let me help you. My women's resiliency coaching is built upon my experiences as a woman rising from "not enough" mentality to embodied, satisfied, wise, and joyful. (Pause here. I am talking about walking around joyful in most moments. Yeah.)

Where are you striving so damn hard that it's killing you?

The tools are accessible. The habits, though not always easy, in time become pleasurable.

What's beyond "enough?" Oh. Women. There is so much beyond just enough.And it has been in you all along. It is not difficult to find - you just need to give yourself permission. It is my pleasure to assist you in your remembering of what you previously abandoned in the quest to enough.

Stop it.

Let's start a new belief system, new habits, new emotional experiences - a new paradigm of possibilities - now.

(Nov. 2017)

I feel we might be close.

Over a year ago, I started a blog with the above title: I Feel We Might Be Close. It was titled in homage to that question that so many of us are innocently and silently asking ourselves, and one I asked myself for years. Am I enough yet?

Am I good enough yet? Are my ideas strong enough yet? Do I have enough credentials or experience yet?

Yeah, I was working that one out for quite some time. Bless this complex journey we're all living. You see, I'm someone that looks at every little thing as having meaning. I'm investigative and meditative. I'm both an activist and active acceptor. I want to shake shit up toward a healthy direction, and I want to allow things to take their own shape. But, if you're going to know me, you should know that I will feel and analyze just about everything, but that's okay, it's actually a strength. ;)

That's why the journey has been so rich - because I LIVE it. That's why I'm here today, beginning to share with you this concept of Embodied Breath and way of life that I've come to, and only could have come to, through an intentional path - one where I learned so much about acceptance, trust, and how every little bit of us is actually so much more than just "enough."

I also toyed with the name Enough is Only a Baseline for the public blog and business. But, alas, that was during the rolling around of the ideas phase.

So here it was, time to launch this thing I believe in, and guess what I was doing!

"It's not complete enough... No, the website isn't developed enough... I don't have all of the product developed yet.... I don't even have a price structure established.... it's not perfect yet."

Ah, hey old patterns!

And that's when I heard myself. And you all may not know me yet, but I have a story I'll tell you over time about "enough" and "perfect" and how all that nonsense lead to adrenal collapse and soon after, a soul revolution. And when I heard myself say this old bit about this new endeavor, in which I actually believe wholeheartedly, I couldn't not launch this delicate and new baby bird of a business, a LIFE PATH. Because you know what? I built this nest.

Just like each of you, who learned something after each little (or big) fall down, we learn. We rise. And then we fall again. And if we're lucky, we have some people who believe in us. And we keep going.

And we are close. And we are ever-closer. And you know what? We are actually here, where close and now and enough converge, if we allow for it. We are presently here, living in a body, having an experience, that in this moment is everything there is, and is everything from which you can make your next move. There is so much value and worth in that.

May Embodied Breath provide some encouragement - to take us ever closer to healing the perceived gap that so many of us presently know between inadequacy and worth, between close and enough, between perfectionism and satisfaction.

Onward.

 

(Written June 2017)