The Abundance Of Enough

 I was wandering around Bali and couldn’t have been happier passing my days with no routine, no restrictions, just time to explore, experience and observe. The rice fields in Ubud are magnificent as they bend and dance in the breeze. I came upon a local man who walked with me through them, accompanying me on the path into town. He was gracious and giving as he shared his time and his culture with me. He talked quietly of his life and of the holy day that he was celebrating. When I commented on his near-perfect English he told me about his family and how learning English, and the work that it afforded him, is what enabled him to bring his parents and siblings out of poverty. His parents, hard workers, wove crafts and hats to sell at the market.

“It must be a very difficult life!” I exclaimed “I’ve seen those reed hats, they are not expensive and there are so many available, it must be hard to make a living and to have enough!”

He pondered this for a moment, really considering my outburst and then he replied, “If they have a bowl of rice at night and because of it, they wake up in the morning, then it is enough.”

The word was like a thunderclap in my mind.

ENOUGH. Thunderclap.

“If they have a bowl of rice at night and because of it, they wake up in the morning, then it is enough.” Simple. Gracious. Peaceful. Enough.

We don’t talk about enough.

We talk about not enough, we talk about barely enough, we say that it will have to do or it will get us by but we don’t talk about something acknowledging that it answers a purpose or satisfies a need. We linger on what is missing or the dissatisfaction of what is absent, or we talk about the opposite - the drive for more, for bigger. As a society we are so focused on the sense of wanting and reaching that I don’t think I have ever really heard anyone say that they have “enough”. (Try it now! See? It’s pretty scary, isn’t it?) Somehow we have reached right out of abundance into scarcity with the fear of never being, having or achieving enough.

“If they have a bowl of rice at night and because of it, they wake up in the morning, then it is enough.” thunderclap

Oh sure, I know what’s coming…. Why shouldn’t we want more? Isn’t “enough” living passively, not stretching, not wanting? Isn’t “more” the motivation of creativity, drive, spark?  While it may contribute to all those things, I think that when it is not blended with enough, “more” becomes an insatiable hunger. It is the second helping that we have not because we are hungry, but because we are standing at the buffet. It drives us into a state of oblivion, a forgetfulness, a disassociation with the truth of now. It is at the root of anxiety. I don’t like the harried-feel of more.

So I challenged myself, what would it be to live with enough? What colour would I be if the thoughts and the energy I ingested were aligned with the rice-white of enough instead of the harried-grey of more? What would happen if I first grounded in having enough before I reached for more?

It is a challenge that has fundamentally opened up my life.

I moved into abundance. With the concept of enough, came abundance. Sure I still want…but now I first ask, and if there is not more, do you have enough? I have never answered “no”.

I encourage my clients to practice blending in a little “enough” into their vocabulary. Those that are striving for the next rung, to bigger office, the bigger team, greater responsibility, visibility, notoriety, creativity, contribution….more, more, more. And if they really want it, then great, I’m their coach and I’ll help them achieve it. But before we begin I challenge them…

What would happen if before the reach you weren’t motivated by the fear of “I don’t have enough”- there is not enough time, money, prestige, work, responsibility, possibility, or “I am not enough” – I should be bigger, better, brighter, faster…?

What if right before the reach there was that beautiful rice-white knowledge that it is already enough?

You are enough.

This is enough. 

Whether there is more to come or not, the baseline is sound. There is peace in the abundance of enough. The glass is always full.

I got engaged on a day that I lived in enough. In the afternoon of a very ordinary day I looked around at the life we had created. It was simple, a work in progress and I whispered to him… “this is enough”. This love, this house, this comfort.

So later that night, when I said “yes” it was in abundance. It was overflowing. We were already enough. We didn’t need to strive for more, but we would stand in possibility knowing the solid foundation of enough.

“If they have a bowl of rice at night and because of it, they wake up in the morning, then it is enough.” thunderclap