Do you know when enough is enough? Whether you have enough “stuff”, enough work, enough money, enough food? We don’t live in a country that is given to recognizing this particular thought process, and we are having difficulty dealing with an economy that finally went into overload and surpassed it’s ability to keep growing, thereby destroying itself.
The ninth verse of the Tao Te Ching is ostensibly about humility. Knowing when enough is enough. It talks about the pursuit of great riches and the accumulation of so much that you can find no one to protect or insure it. Filling yourself with honor and pride to the point where no one around you can save you from the fall as described in my blog “Creating Better Relationships By Honoring Your Humanity”. Or, sharpening a blade so much that it loses it’s edge, making it useless.
I don’t consider myself to be old, but find myself wishing for the days where we lived our lives waiting for the post office to deliver mail – more letters than hype, or even just e-mail! Now, we are bombarded with information and communication constantly. Many walk around with cell phones glued to their ears, texting back and forth, forever on-line; constantly in contact, never in stillness. It is difficult to know what is real because we only know what we are being told in 140 characters or less, without ever developing the trust and intimacy of a real relationship. Television, advertisements, newspapers and magazines are continuously telling us that if we aren’t going after more in order to be happy or successful, or we aren’t growing our wealth, our homes, or our vehicle count, we are failures. When, in fact, I believe the opposite to be a more appropriate thought process.
More is not necessarily better. More takes the wonder and delight out of receiving something new. When you have $31 Billion, do you take delight in receiving any money? When you are wading through hundreds of e-mails, do you cherish the one you received from someone you love? When you have finished your work, do you strive to do more – in order to have more money, power, or recognition – or do you stop and enjoy the fruits of your labor?
When my mother-in-law passed away, and family was going through her things, they found boxes of letters she had saved for decades. My husband wrote his mother on a weekly basis for years sharing the details of our lives, none of which was trivial to her; she never threw them away. She refused e-mail or a telephone call; Mom never owned a computer, and she couldn’t hear over the telephone. But those letters were well read, folded and unfolded many times, treasured for the words and the love they contained. Mom never had much use for the accumulation of things. The people in her life were her fortune, the squirrel outside her window her entertainment. She didn’t eat much, but she savored every bite of food she put in her mouth and ate only what she loved.
In “Timing Is Everything” we talked about living fully in the present moment, and taking pleasure in what you are doing rather than in how it might benefit you in the future. The two ideas flow smoothly into one another. If you are savoring everything you do, and keeping yourself open to the possibilities, you will know when enough is enough. When the work is done, relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
When you sit down to your next meal, select small portions of those items you love, and savor each bite; stop after a few moments and ask if you are still hungry. If not, call your meal finished and remember how you savored what you ate.
When you have amassed enough wealth to sustain you in your retirement, stop the constant pursuit for something more. Enjoy the time and money you have to live and share with others.
Where can you focus on your activities rather than seeking “more”? When does enough become enough?
Georgia Feiste, owner of Collaborative Transitions, located in Lincoln, NE, is a life transitions coach, writer, and workshop facilitator. She specializes in business, career and personal life transitions. Coming from a 30 year background in a C-level corporate position, she is uniquely skilled in providing support and encouragement as her clients set intentional goals to attain their desires, holding open the space they need to stretch and grow. Her passion is success grounded in purpose and passion, standards of integrity and priorities in life. Her website is http://www.collaborativetransitions.com, where she blogs about business and career, and http://www.rainbowbridgecoach, where she and many other coaches blog about mind, body, spirit and emotion. Georgia can be reached at (402) 484-8098.