Am I enough? You don’t need to answer that. But it is a question that walks through my mind so many times a day that, by now, it feels like a nosy neighbor peeking over my backyard fence. It’s a funny feeling I have, that I am not enough. Because at the same time, I am in touch with the magic that lives in my bones and runs through my veins. It’s like I can walk barefoot on the ground, feeling the earth under my feet and knowing how dearly loved I am with each breath of our planet’s fresh air. Then, maybe a half hour later I think “am I good enough to be doing this writing thing? Should I even teach my yoga class tonight? Everyone else seems to have it all together.”
Why the dichotomy? What is the missing piece? And where is the missing peace? The other day, while I was on retreat in a little cabin in the woods, I saw a beautiful goldfinch fluttering down to the ground to eat. He bounced around happily and joyously, with little light feet and wings. Then he flew back to his tree and a bit later revisited the patch of grass. As I watched him, I noticed an ache rising in my chest. It almost brought tears to my eyes. It wasn’t the normal joy one feels when seeing a beautiful scene in nature. It was more like a longing.
I went on with my short walk through the rain drenched woods, but I kept thinking of why I felt that ache. What was blocking me from having just a happy, human moment of bird watching? Feeling deeper into it, I realized that I have this ache a lot when I am outdoors and I see wildlife. Sometimes it makes me turn away.
After quietly walking for a while and just listening to the woods sounds, I realized that, all this time, I have been aching to feel wild and free like nature herself. To feel like I am enough in my own skin just because I am here, living and breathing. If you have ever watched any animal in its natural habitat, there is an ease of movement, an ease that says “I am enough.” The lions never stop to think if they deserve to eat the gazelle. The birds never wonder if they are good enough to deserve the helpful currents of air under their wings. But yet I am walking through the woods or writing or eating or taking care of my kids and always wondering if I am good enough.
Unfortunately, between the conditioning we humans receive in our “civilized” societies and the expectations put on women, I can’t seem to get very far ahead before I am dragged back into this question of being enough for everyone else’s liking. Sure, I am not the greatest writer of all time, but that doesn’t mean I am not worthy of expressing myself through writing. And I yell at my kids sometimes, but that doesn’t mean that I am not a good enough mother. And I make so many mistakes, much like others in my species, but that doesn’t have any weight on whether I get to enjoy my life as a birthright.
Even now as I sit here writing this, a queasy sensation is forming in my stomach of “not enough ness.” How do we build our passions and lives out away from these feelings? How do we escape, tender hearts in hand, to a freer land where we feel whole and wild and enough? Is this the human condition or is it something that has been conditioned in us that is ready to be broken open? I’m asking for a friend of course.