It’s Enough

There are times in which I feel I go in circles. I feel we all do.

I see the immense number of tomes out there on success, a best life right now, living in joy, having all we want and yet, I see the flip side on every street corner, in every grocery store line, and sometimes even within when doubt clouds the morning: If this great/perfect/successful life were so easy, wouldn’t we all have achieved a Life: On Task and On Purpose by now?

The first self-help book came out in 1859, The Guardian noted in December.  Self-help is a $15 billion dollar industry and is the best-selling genre.  So what is missing that trips us up inside, and yet causes us to reach for more books promising to help us discover what is missing, certain that someone else must know what it is? That’s the circle. And so I, personally, go quiet when trying to understand this Gordian knot.

Is it mere dissatisfaction with our lot; the self-help industry is largely an American creation after all. Could it be that our cultural dissatisfaction — which to my mind was beget by people dissatisfied with where they were originally and so sailed across oceans for an opportunity to build a better life — is just, well, our culture? That would cue the comment that Americans dream big, want lots, and thus would of course feel concerned if they thought another had more:  more happiness, more contentment, more stuff, more life.  And thus, s/he would be forever wondering what the other person has that puts a smile on the face; is it something I don’t have or feel?

Or is there something more than culture driving our binge on self-help?

I sometimes think that what is missing from living a life On Task and On Purpose is simply this: feeling enough.

And feeling our dreams and talents, no matter how humble they might feel, are enough.

Some might call it confidence that is missing, but we all know the confident person who barely masks feeling inadequate. Some might call it joy or connection, yet we all know joy doesn’t last long under the assault of disregard and connection can feel frayed when others disbelieve your heart-felt dream or longed-after talent is enough to put to use. I know this from experience; we all do.

Feeling enough:

Enough to feel even if just for a minute your dream work is valuable;

Enough to feel for even just a second that you have something specific that only you can do in your time here;

Enough to feel it’s okay to feel excited that this might be true.

 

I was honored to talk recently to high schoolers who attended a small public charter school designed to help them graduate. Most there, it seemed, hadn’t heard about a billion-dollar self-help industry and clearly most there weren’t sure they’d ever ‘be enough’ by others’ standards. But when asked, a few of them bravely shared aloud their dreams, the work they’d wanted to do since they were 9 or 10, in their life-time here.  From shy and sullen silence, joy was suddenly audible when the dreams were met with Yes! encouragement.

I can tell you that every one of their dreams was more than ‘enough’ to feel on task and on purpose, serving the Truth of their souls and life-hopes.  I hope they got the message:

 They are each enough to do the work, the dream, of their journey, on task and on purpose, just by showing up with passion, focus, belief that they can learn what they need to know, and with themselves and their Truth in hand.

 

You are, too.

By feeling enough, the circle of discontent and doubt can stop right there and instead lead out to a great path in the time one has here on earth. It’s the path you are here to undertake and the work you are here to do.

Blessings on your day today!

 

 

 

Asking the Right Questions

I ask a lot of questions in my book and in my life; doing so is the basis of both the work and the Work of finding our way in life and through Life, in story and in Story, in our journey and in the Hero journey that is every life-time spent.

 

Asking questions is how we start off engaging with our life, even as babies and toddlers.  After the natural, instinctive curiosity of ‘That?’ to define our surroundings, and soon after ‘Mine?’ becomes the declarative ‘Mine!’ we move quickly into the danger zone of questions:

 

‘Why?’

 

Asking ‘why’ is lovely. It’s pushy, to ourselves and to others around us.  It pushes boundaries, understandings, norms, and entrenchment. It’s often perceived as demanding, as asking why can unsettle a shaky authority and states that the person asking has as much ‘right’ as anyone else.  Why is the mover of principle and the test of character from here to the Pearly Gates.

 

But ‘why’ also has a shadow power: Doubt. 

 

Asking it at a wrong moment in your personal journey can cause chaos and confusion and, well, self-doubt as you thrash with an unanswerable knot. 

 

Why did I do that?

Why did I choose that? Or why did I choose this?

Why is this going on in my life.  

Why is that the rule?

It’s both a powerful question and a hazardous one, because often as not, there may not be an answer.  Or the answer may be I don’t know.

 

And let’s face it:

 

Why do I love thee? …

 

            is a very different question than

 

How do I love thee…?

 

Here’s where the asking the right question comes in when defining one’s path from here, the choices looming ahead, and when fathoming your heart to choose one’s vocation, calling, path and purpose from here.

 

I learned a long time ago in doing interviews with people I was writing about, from world leaders to loggers, that the right question can make all the difference in the success of what Truth is revealed next. One question can shut a person down, while another opens possibility and long, lovely revelation toward interesting Truth and knowledge. ‘Why did this happen,’ even in news reporting, too often allowed an opening for casting blame or ducking behind ‘I don’t know.’  So a new approach was needed:

 

How? 

 

How is more than a question of mechanics: How did this happen elicits the steps taken that created the situation, like a recipe. But it’s also more:

‘How’ is a question that presumes something already is.

It, whether answer, solution, reason, or direction,

already exists

and you and I are in the process of discovering it.

 

With ‘why’ we might be probing whether it exists at all, while with ‘how’ we are poking around knowing in our hearts there is a workable way we just need to understand. And the good solution always begins with a heart-filled understanding.

 

As in:

 

How do I use these talents and passions?

How does this work, my life forward?

How might I take the next step?

How does this make things better, easier, gentler, more meaningful to me or others?

How do I feel when I’m getting a glimpse of what my path might be or the good my actions might bring?

 

Ah, yes, asking ‘how’ allows for ‘feeling’ and the compass to our truth and our light; there’s no doubt that the feeling is there, or that it’s acceptable. It’s already embraced and hugged and able to be integrated into the next step, no matter how gnarley it might have looked a moment before ‘how’ was uttered.

 

‘How’ is a question for the brave, like, you.

 

With ‘how’ you are accepting what is, that feelings can be addressed, solutions can be found (as they’re already right here), and that there’s a way forward from here.

 

So, ask the right questions of yourself as you proceed from here through the door of next. All the questions are important; asking the right one at the moment is the first step.

 

How do you feel knowing there is something you are here to do?

How do you plan to make that something the action of your life-time left to spend?

How’s it going, living on task and on purpose now?

 

Blessings on your day of questioning!