When it comes to my work, what is my definition of “enough”?
Hello, beautiful women!
I received Tsh Oxenreider’s book, Notes from a Blue Bike, in the mail fresh off the presses from her publishing house.
The message of Tsh’s book arrived in sync to the deeper questions I’ve been asking myself right at this moment of my life. I’ve been reflecting on how we experience satisfaction and the feeling of “enough” in our lives– rather than just pining for them all the time.
How do I work hard and reach a new goal or level in my work and have the presence of mind to fully celebrate it without just creating a new finish line to work toward?
In her book, Tsh explores what it means to live a life of intention. One in which we align our choices and personal growth with the inner values and beliefs we hold true. Her book is a gorgeous tapestry of personal memoir, deeper truths we all grapple with, and intimate views into how others are living out these questions in their lives.
Personally, as a mother and business owner I am always assessing my work choices within the context of how it will impact my life as a mother and the life of our family.
Seeking to integrate both happy satisfaction in the here and now with my natural tendency toward creativity, ambition and passion is an ongoing dance. One I sometimes feel hugely competent in, other times feel desperately lost in.
I think much of our struggle is an internal one.
It’s the battle we wage against ourselves all the time. The inner judgments we put on ourselves that distract us from the truth at hand…which I believe is that we are created to hold BOTH contentment and drive in our lives.
Sometimes the dance is a give and take: I have seasons of forward goal-oriented action and season of retreating fully into the rhythms of my days at home.
Sometimes they exist at the same time: like when I slip into a warm bath after a long day of mentoring mothers and loving kids and recognize with the clarity of a cloudless sky how deeply blessed I am in life.
When the dance is working, my priorities are clear and I align my ‘yes’ and my ‘no’ according to them. I trust that nothing is an emergency. Nothing needs to happen right now. And I can keep taking my next right step – whether that is getting a new blog post written or caring for a sick child home from school.
Step 1: Clarify your priorities.
Step 2: Take the next right step in front of you.
That dance really works for me.
And yet there’s another awkward, uncomfortable dance that happens in the landscape of my mind all too often. The one where I judge and shame myself for how I’m naturally wired.
I call my natural ambition and desire for creativity, impatience and ungratefulness.
I call myself lazy and unfocused for feeling contentment and enoughness, chiding that I’m not using my talents to their highest potential and missing out on “something out there”.
We are just so hard on ourselves.
Over the years growing my own business, I’ve come to see that the harmonizer for all this imbalance is really … love.
Love is the bottom line for me.
I can quiet the battle in my mind by asking, “Where is love calling me right now?” “Am I feeling more or less love right now?”
When I am in my sweet spot in work, I am overflowing with love for the women I serve and support. I am enlivened by the work I offer in the world. I show up in the many roles I hold as a brighter, fuller, more alive woman. When this begins to dull. When I begin to feel overwhelm, exhaustion, lack of inspiration, obligation…that’s when I know a shift in the dance needs to happen.
When I am in my sweet spot as a mother, I am overflowing with love *for my children.* (Not whether I actually love my kids, but more whether I’m flowing with the expressions of love for them)… Engaging with interest, attention, gentleness, kindness, laughter, patience, presence. When this starts waning, I know a shift in the dance needs to happen.
And that’s what I believe it looks like in real life.
It’s a tuning in and responding as my dear friend Renee Trudeau says. That’s the walk of living life authentically, with intention and with great joy: tuning in and responding to what is happening here and now. It’s learning to see what’s working and what’s not, having clear anchors for your center space and learning how to return back to that place when you’ve floated too far away.
I’d love to hear if you struggle with embracing the experience of enoughness and contentment in life.