My only New Year’s resolution is to gain an even deeper understanding of what it means to be enough and have enough. In a strange mixed blessing, the best way to do this is to have very little, and that’s where we’re at, going into 2013 with less steady income than we did in 2012, or the previous year, for that matter. What’s interesting is I am happier and feel more full starting this year than I did at either of the beginning of those two years. Having money does not mean you can’t feel abundant, but not having it does not mean that, either.
However, when you have very little money, just enough to barely get by, you are forced to learn what your baseline is. You have to figure out how much indulgence you need in order to feel nurtured, and how much you can do without before feeling deprived and depleted. Anyway, I have my very low pay checks to thank for teaching me the spiritual lesson I am most craving this year, so there’s that.
I am not making light of the anxiety that comes from bill-paying on such a tight budget. But our family is surprised on an almost daily basis by the unexpected blessings that come our way, often in monetary form. In February, Olive is going to be able to go to a beautiful little preschool, and we figured out how to pay for it with the support and help of our community. Joel keeps getting freelance jobs, and if they continue, we’ll be able to afford to attend the several weddings and graduations we’ve been invited to in 2013. It would mean so much to us to be there for our family and friends at those events, so our hopes are up that we’ll be able to be frugal and save to be there.
Never mind the fact that June will be 10 years of married life for Joel and I! For ten years we have been saying that we will take a big second honeymoon, a week to Hawaii or Europe to commemorate this anniversary. However, our financial situation means that we’ll most likely only be able to afford a night or a weekend away. I actually don’t feel sad about this, rather that it will all work out how it is supposed to. A weekend in the California redwoods might be just what the Doctor ordered for our relationship, while a big trip would have been too much.
Honestly, I’m not trying to put a smile on a shit sandwich. I’m attempting to shift my perspective from one of never-having-enough to one of acceptance and gratitude. Instead of waking up and already being at a place of focusing on lack (I didn’t get enough sleep this morning, we don’t have enough food in the house, I don’t have enough energy and patience to be with Olive all day, I won’t have enough time to myself today, I’ll never get everything done, etc.), I want to be able to sort out those thoughts and feelings and consider which ones are reality, and which are keeping me from risking and living big. Maybe I didn’t get eight full hours of sleep, but I probably got enough. If we don’t have much food in the house, I need to make a list of what we need and see if we can afford to buy it at the store. If I don’t have the inner strength to be with my daughter all day, I can call for back-up, see if a friend can come visit us to bolster my patience by listening to me mid-day.
You get the picture — instead of just allowing a sense of dis-ease to take over my understanding of my life, I want to be able to take a step back, a step straight into my inherent worthiness as a child of a loving creator, and live life from that place, rather than the one who is always worrying about the next hurdle and how on earth I’m going to scale it.
In short, that is my new year’s resolution — to be enough. I won’t be thin enough for our cultural standards of women, but my body is strong and healthy. I won’t be smart enough to solve all my financial woes this year, but my community is helping me. I won’t be loving enough to everyone I meet, but that’s why grace is there for me. Being enough is not about lowering expectations or denying loss. It’s about allowing love to lift me up in the midst of disappointments about myself or my life, and finding gratitude in the midst of them. That’s why, this year, I resolve to let myself be enough and to say “Enough” to living in that feeling of constant lack. It will require constant recalibration, and help from you all to keep me in check, but I believe it will be worth it. Happy New Year, my friends. I wish for you all a truly abundant 2013!