I have been trying something a little different lately here on the blog, more stream of consciousness writing than trying to be so organized. Which is really fitting with the theme of this post - that enough is enough.
And what I mean by that is while I have been trying something new in my writing, just letting go and letting the words and ideas flow, similarly I have been trying a new approach to life: letting go. I think it's been a process for me to become comfortable with the idea of not trying so hard, of letting go of the "hustle" mentality. It's been second nature for me since I can remember. At 7 years old as a very amateur painter, I expected myself to be Picasso and have my art displayed in the L'Ouevre by the age of 10. In the 5th grade, I expected myself to be an award winning poet the moment I put my pen to the paper. And this mindset just continued to carry on throughout my life. At age 17, I had applied to sixteen colleges and been accepted to all of them. At 20, I expected myself to land an incredible job in corporate and become a CEO within seven years. So much pressure all the time. And I remember feeling this constant feeling of "not quite making it," and feeling like a failure. That fear of more failure is what kept me pushing for more, and more, and more. And while the accolades and accomplishments became more notorious, I felt my soul draining away. I felt myself losing the magic that had woven itself into my poetry when I first began to write. I saw my drawings begin to have a mechanical feel rather than an expressive one. Something had to change. I was anxious, sick, and losing the magic that made me, well, me.
And looking back, I have to chuckle a little because I know I set all of these expectations of myself that were absolutely ridiculous. And while I didn't accomplish those astronomical ones, I did achieve some pretty incredible things at a pretty young age. From grades 4 to 12, my art was displayed at county art shows regularly. Early on they were simple drawings and paintings one would expect from a 7-year-old. But into high school, I learned to channel my struggles and triumphs into my art and it suddenly came alive. My photography was framed and displayed in the halls of my art school, and my ceramics pieces were acclaimed and auctioned for school fundraisers. In the 5th grade at age 11, I entered a poetry competition for my entire grade, about two hundred kids, and I came in first place. I wrote about a rainforest. One I had certainly read about in an adventure book I found on the shelf of my grandmother's bookcase. I remember the absolute freedom I felt writing that piece. I could hear the raindrops falling from the leaves to the puddles beneath them, hear the chimpanzees speaking to one another in the distance, notice my heart race as the leaves around me rustled and I didn't know how come. There was magic in that freedom, and I am so grateful to have felt it at such a young age. I think now, people call that magic feeling you get when you are writing freely, "the Flow State." I found my flow state at age 11, but then the bar kept getting raised. I kept feeling like I wasn't quite enough, and that feeling did two things: 1. Kept me striving for MORE accomplishment, and 2. Deteriorated the magic that helped me accomplish anything in the first place. Because I began reaching for that accomplishment instead of the magic, and consequently began measuring my success against the world's barometer instead of my own feeling of flow. This carried into my choice of educational path, my career, past relationships, really everything.
And then something clicked. I think it was when I had a mental breakdown at my first job, I realized I was doing shit wrong. I was living on other people's terms and not my own. I had lost my flow, my freedom of expression, and it had made me sick. Like, really sick. I suddenly was forced to look around at this life I had created, and evaluate which parts felt like me, and which parts I had acquired to please and achieve. I realized I had arrived here because of an anxious feeling that I was never quite enough, and though I knew I couldn't change my life overnight, I put my faith in the fact that if I changed my beliefs, my life would change from the inside out.
So I began retraining and reprogramming ten years worth of thoughts of inadequacy, and turning them into thoughts of enough-ness. I began determined to change the way I see myself, my life, my career, my relationships, my creativity. I switched out the thought, "I am not enough yet," to "I am enough right now. I have enough right now. I am doing enough right now." Enough suddenly became now. Enough suddenly became enough.
I first started practicing that mindset at work, which was most challenging for me. Work has always been where I felt misaligned with myself and inadequate, but I began replacing those feelings and thoughts with ones of gratitude, confidence in my ability to learn, and just pure plain peace. And over time, I felt myself relax. I wasn't on edge all the time. And that's when the magic started to happen. Projects started coming across my desk that I actually really enjoyed. If you know me personally, you know I LOVE puzzles and problem solving, especially if math is involved. And projects like these began piling up on my desk and I couldn't be more thrilled.
I then started practicing enough-ness in my relationship. I chose to let go of feelings of insecurity, inadequacy, and most of all? I chose to let go of projecting those feelings onto my partner and the relationship itself. And then what do you know? It turned into the most beautiful and inspiring part of my life. I let go of judging it, and just let things be. And that's when I was able to relax into the beauty of a slow burning romance. That kind of love requires letting go.
And now? I am exercising that same practice of enough-ness in my writing. Just letting go of the "shoulds." Like "I SHOULD write an article about so-and-so," because thoughts like that just drag me down. They drain the magic out me. And that magic? That's what I live for. The flow state where you can feel your heart coming straight through your fingers and onto the keys and then appear on the screen. There is no greater feeling than that. Pure inspiration. That's what I live for. And the only way to channel it is to let go of the "should be's" and embrace the enough-ness of the present moment.
So yes, that's why my writing has changed. I am practicing letting it flow. Knowing enough is enough. Trusting my gut to tell my fingers what to type on this page.
This reminds of that Paulo Coelho quote I pull out of my pocket at least twice a month, that "life is less about becoming who you were meant to be, and more about unbecoming all the things you are not."
All my love.
You are enough.