4 Ways To Be Happy With Where You're At
Enoughness: knowing your essential goodness is worthwhile without your having to do or change anything is a miraculous state to experience, and it's one you have to consciously cultivate. It's a learned behavior. You have to train your brain to know "enoughness."
I've been writing and thinking about enoughness for a long while, and here are my favorite training tips.
1. Remember that it's not you.
You aren't broken or less spiritual when you feel a sense of emptiness or compare yourself to others. Take a moment to appreciate the fact that it was your twitchy, anxious, hyper-alert relatives who survived to pass on their DNA. The chill ones? They got eaten. Every time you judge yourself for being graspy, tell yourself, "I am so adorable and so human, thinking something outside of me is going to make me enough."
Practice: When you feel less than enough, remember it's an evolutionary throwback. This trait was vital then, but not so useful now. Evolve by detaching and seeing the pattern of grasping. Just that is huge!
2. Notice right now if you're OK.
Do you feel safe? Is there enough oxygen to breathe? Do you have enough to eat, a place to sleep, people who love you? Life isn't perfect, but is it enough right now? Watch how your mind might chatter, "Sure, everything's OK right now, but what about later when I have that job interview?" Enoughness is a now dependent state. Train your mind by staying here and noticing what is enough.
Practice: Use your senses, not your mind, to notice what is enough. Is the chair you're sitting on enough? The air you're breathing? Take in the good with your senses and linger on the felt sense of enough.
3. Get the specs down.
If you don’t declare what enough is for you, you'll never be satisfied. This applies to everything: eating a more plant-based diet, taking a family vacation, creating a painting. Is it enough that you eat vegan four nights a week? Would three yoga poses every other day be enough? Notice how uncomfortable it is to declare a factual standard and how your brain may heckle you for "settling." Instead, remind yourself that small consistent steps can create lasting change. It's a delusion that bold extreme actions bring about lasting change.
Practice: Choose one area of your life where you always feel like you fail or are inadequate. Declare in writing what would be enough for one week. Meditate three days out of seven for five minutes. Take your dog to the dog park once. Play with your kids without interruption for 20 minutes Saturday. When you're finished, say out loud, "I declare myself satisfied even if I don't feel satisfied."
4. Cultivate happy experiences.
Put your hand on your heart, take a delicious breath. Sigh out your stress. Call up a memory of a time when you experienced enoughness — let whatever memory comes be enough. Falling in love, floating down a river, cuddling your cat… feel into the emotions of that memory… linger there, turning up the volume on the feeling, letting it spread throughout your body. Imagine this feeling surrounding you, softening you, relaxing you.
Practice: When you feel "less than," take 30 seconds to bring up a feeling of being enough. Don't force the other feelings away; instead, put your focus on the feelings associated with the memory, like you would focus on one person in a crowd over another. Linger for a breath or two. When you cultivate enoughness, you start to see through the lies of cognition, culture, and conditioning that orient around craving more. You'll begin to experience a fullness of being that isn't an idea, but an embodied fact. With that, it gets easier to experiment, to create, to connect because you know your worth isn't out there in someone else, or a prize or paycheck. It also gets easier to rest, to be, to take time off, for the same yummy reasons.
So start small, start today, make up your own practices, but by all means, make a practice of experiencing enoughness, for yourself and the world.