… the most urgent question of the time: How much is enough? ~ Wendell Berry
Things that have been enough this summer:
- Still waters in the evening. Lakes that look enough like mirrors to reflect what’s right in the world.
- The way a 2.5 year old can devour raspberries. I never get any of the huge red ones when we pick them, but seeing my daughter enjoy their deliciousness makes up for it in full.
- Running two miles. Five years ago, I would have thought “two miles? Why bother? I need to go at least 5 for it to have any value whatsoever.” But this summer, starting the day by running my two miles around the lake is usually enough.
- The friendship of a few neighbors. It’s turned out to be enough to ground me into feeling like a real part of a community.
- Two nights spent on the shores of Lake Superior with just my husband. Time to simply be away, even when the time was punctuated by cold foggy weather, projects waiting to be completed and thoughts that staying home would have been a better use of our time. Even two nights immersed in the energy of a place that always helps me refocus on the important, life-giving things that get buried under everyday worries was enough to recalibrate.
- Three weeks away from a work computer. Time spent on the prairie homestead where I grew up, introducing my daughter to the family tractors and barn cats and chickens. Visiting three different farmers markets each week. Keeping our own garden weeded and tidy which may never happen in quite the same way again. Watching the seeds that I planted in the spring bloom into abundance. (Four zucchini plants are definitely enough. In fact, half of a zucchini plant would probably be enough)
- The beauty in ordinary things. The first sip of hot coffee on a cool morning, the belly laugh of a child enjoying the moment, the call of a loon through the dusky evening air, and the grace of the night that invites rejuvenation at the close of every day.
And some things of which I have had enough:
- Ads. Everywhere. Do I need to hear about the newest fast food bargains halfway through my YouTube Yoga video? No. It’s actually quite a Zen wrecker. Do we really need to name every new sporting facility after whatever corporation put the most money toward building it? TCF stadium? Target Field? Xcel Energy Center? Bah. Do I need to see something meant to persuade consumption of some product (That is on sale! And that will undoubtedly enhance my quality of life!] every time I leave the house? I think I could live quite well without, thank you very much. I can honestly say that never once has a billboard or commercial made my life better.
- Competition. The I’m better than you and this is why kind. The whatever makes the most money wins kind. The let’s run ourselves into the ground trying to be better kind.
- Plastic. It’s everywhere, and it doesn’t go away. Even if it gets recycled. And an astonishing amount doesn’t even make it to a recycling plant.
- Efficiency. It’ll get done when it gets done. Why does everything have to be efficient? There’s some beauty to be found in doing something slow and in figuring out the long way around.
- Numbers as worth.
- Screens. I get that it’s 2014 and smartphones, tablets, computers and a myriad of other devices are part of life as we know it right now. But come now….do we need to inform the world about everything we do at all hours of the day? Be able to look random facts up mid-conversation? Use a device while driving, walking, eating dinner, shopping, waiting in line, watching TV, working out, playing with the kids…..? When more people every year end up in the ER because they get injured due to texting while walking, there’s a problem. (really, it’s a thing)
- Excessive happiness and positivity talk. I work as a health coach. My job is basically to help people stay positive. Make changes that will help them….be happier, more content with life. I am generally an optimistic person. But we humans know how to wring a topic dry and over analyze the life out of it. Instead of constantly talking about how to be more positive and happy, I think we may be better served to simply work on living one speed slower, noticing the details of the days, and feeling what we feel. I have a hunch that living authentically might serve us better in the long run. But maybe that’s just me. I did get kind of burnt out there for a while, so perhaps my perspective is a bit skewed. I’ll let you decide.
What’s on your list?