Wednesday, May 14, 2014

When you ask, "Am I enough?"

 A young, brilliant woman I know via the blogging world posted a question that prompted me to comment. She asked, "Am I enough?" Halfway through, I realized I was writing a blog post myself. This is the unabridged version of it:

I think what you're really asking, Joy, isn't "I wonder if I'm enough to my son?" but "Am I enough to myself?" It's a healthy question to ask. You're in a great position, knowing without a doubt that you are fulfilling to the maximum your roles as mom and wife. Therefore you can come from a place of abundance, not lack, and proceed with grace toward growth, not scratch for survival. Your son will of course express his preference for having unlimited access to you indefinitely. But we know children turn into teenagers, and the preference for having his privacy and his own path takes over. You don't want to wait until then to answer your question.

"We have known all our lives that being evaluated objectively by the outside world shapes our identities, gives us affirmation and boosts our self-confidence and sense of worth." What I've learned (and wish I'd known in my early 20s of SAHMothering) is while the outside world does boost our sense of worth, the true source of that worth is within—the inner world. The tricky part is that no amount of positive talk, e.g. repeating "I am enough" can substitute for experiencing that this is true.

How does one attain that experience? I'm sure there are other ways for other people, but I can only speak from my own experience. I found it in meditation. I was coming out of a regular 15-minute practice one Saturday morning in March. I was just starting to open my eyes, when an inexplicable flash of KNOWING came upon me. I saw myself for the first time as God actually sees me. Nothing about my past (accomplishments, failures) factored into it. Nothing about my future (goals, desires, mistakes) entered the equation. Just me in the present, a sneak preview of the glorious, unseparate Self we are told we revert to when we die in grace.

I hear what my younger self, and possibly you, would be thinking right now: All this is fine and good for someone older, like me, who has already built and walked away from several careers. We have the luxury of having proven ourselves to ourselves and to the world. Yesterday I was talking to a fellow yoga teacher trainee, who is 19. She was wishing me luck as I waited to hear back from a magazine editor on a paid internship. I realized that I was fine with whatever her decision might be. If I get it, great. If not, on to the next challenge. A delicious state of detachment from results while maintaining optimism and confidence.

It is a gift to have experienced my Self so early in my meditative path. It would be utopia if every single person did, because we would conduct our lives and relate to every other created being so differently from the way we habitually do. Instead of competing and comparing, we would collaborate and encourage. But in the meantime, what is a gal to do when she asks herself, "Am I enough?"

I suspect the answer will be "Yes!" when you identify, pursue, draw boundaries around, and nurture your passion(s) in life. These will be apart from your husband and son. There is a great chance that in finding your passion you will realize your purpose in life. Again, apart from being a mother and wife.

"It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing."
~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer

You can read Joy Page Manuel's post on her blog here.