“Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise so I am changing myself.” -Rumi
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve said I was going to change the world. I planned on living in foreign countries and working abroad. And ever since I have graduated college and not moved abroad, I’ve felt guilty.
I had a dear friend and comrade in the journey of life die recently. She passed up on the chance to come back and battle and claw through what had already been a tough life, and instead she opted for the light. I can’t say I blame her. I wouldn’t have wanted to come back either.
In holding the space for her and thinking about what else could have been done. I realize there wasn’t a thing. What I did was ENOUGH. What she did was enough. Every single thing each of us does in this life is enough. And yes, that goes against everything that the media and our society perpetuates in a consumption driven culture—one that perpetuates the illusion that a credit card could buy happiness.
We run around in circles, blaming and judging each other and ourselves, for whether or not we have done enough, said enough, learned enough, bought enough each day, or in our lives. But here’s a little secret I uncovered this week. If you got out of bed this morning, you’ve already done enough. And if you choose to stay in bed this morning, and all day, that choice was enough. If you indulged yourself in an ice cream cone—that’s enough too. Life is too short and precious to beat ourselves up over the menial things.
That’s not to say that we shouldn’t be concerned with the wrongs of the world—the plight of the underserved, marginalized, and oppressed. That’s a huge part of each of our life purposes in different ways. But we can’t all be the doctor, the professor, the mother, the counselor, the dog-walker, the wife, the girlfriend, the care provider, all at once—we’d lose it. And that’s because we aren’t supposed to. Life is too short to expend so much excess energy on worrying whether or not you did enough. You already have. Let it go, and spend that energy towards helping others realize they’ve done enough too.
If each and every one of us just stuck to what we are good at and let ourselves be free and vulnerable enough to express those gifts in the world, the world would indeed be a better place. We each have a very special piece in this puzzle and it’s our job to recognize that purpose and use it to the advantage of the world. And to not hold ourselves guilty when we forget.
My “enough” this week was taking a handwritten note and cookies over to the lonely neighbor, apologizing for my barking dogs. Even though the cookies weren’t homemade, it was enough. It was stopping on a run to check in on the older man who sits outside everyday, finding out that he’s had two strokes in the last month and can’t hold things in his hands anymore. It was going for the dang run, which I hate doing, in the first place so my dogs wouldn’t bark and disturb the neighbor. It was smiling at a stranger on the street.
Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle. It’s the little things in life that we do—a kind look, a gentle gesture and a compassionate note that truly affect change in the world. And yes, our world knows terrorism, oppression, war, early on-set Alzheimer’s, and childhood leukemia. If we pay attention enough look into our own struggles we will begin to know that of others. We are all united in a shared experience of life on earth. It’s enough to remember to love in between the lines.
Author: Cait Allison