“Less is more” may be a common expression, but let’s face it, there aren’t too many of us in modern society who willingly subscribe to that philosophy. Ours is a world that worships at the altar of “more, bigger and better.” And to be honest, “less, smaller and worse” doesn’t have quite the same appeal, does it?
There is certainly nothing wrong with wanting to do or be more, but in our mad rush to take everything from our fitness routines to our lattes to the much-exalted “next level,” there is a word we’ve trampled on and lost in the shuffle. That word is “enough.” I think the concept of having enough has gotten a bad rap and is often misconstrued as meaning just barely adequate or as implying some kind of limitation on what we can achieve.
When I was younger, I, too, was guilty of thinking that “having enough” translated to “scraping by” or “settling for less.” To me, “enough” was the stern taskmaster in my head that insisted I accept my lot, no matter how small, miserable or ill-fitting it was, and warned that I was selfish and greedy to reach for a richer existence. Enough was the voice of grim resignation. Framed like that, no wonder no one is champing at the bit to embrace the power of enough.
Ironically, it took losing just about everything I had for me to open my arms to it. When my husband of 22 years secretly lost every penny of our money on an ill-conceived business venture and then walked out of our marriage, I was left with nothing but a mountain of debt and a stack of unpaid bills. I sold everything I had except the gold in my teeth, worked two and three extra jobs at a time and prayed for a dramatic rescue—like winning the lottery (preferably without having to buy a ticket!) or Superman turning back the hands of time. I was certain it would take an act that grand to save me. You can probably guess that the dramatic rescue never came.
What did come, though, was “enough”—an unexpected gift from a friend, a small refund check or a few well-timed, encouraging words. Each time I really needed it, when all hope seemed completely lost, a little piece of “enough” came to me. I forgot about the big rescue and learned to appreciate each small drop of mercy that sustained me, sometimes from one minute to the next. Time and again the lens of gratitude magnified those small bits of goodness until they were somehow, almost magically, enough to cover my need.
That’s when the big “aha” hammer struck me and I realized how wrong my negative interpretation of “enough” had been. In that “hammer” moment I understood that enough is not the opposite of abundance; it is the essence of it. Enough is about training our hearts, minds and spirits to embrace what we have in front of us, in the present, and trust that for right this minute, it is enough. It is this trust—that we will be given enough in every circumstance of life—that allows us to navigate, one trusting step at a time, from what may appear to be a rather spare present to a richly abundant future, however we may define that.
Here’s to everyone always having enough!