Thank you for being part of this special community. Over the years, we’ve received hundreds of questions from you and today, I want to address a specific theme that keeps coming up again and again.
This common theme has to do with enough-ness.
You’ve asked these questions;
“How can I feel okay about letting some things go in my life to make room for more important activities?”
“How can I get rid of the guilt (I didn’t spend enough time with my family one minute, then I didn’t spend enough time with work another) or the fear of missing out (should I have taken on that extra opportunity at work, even though I have no time?)”
“How do I know that I’ve done ‘enough’?”
Are you feeding a hungry ghost?
As a culture, we’re somewhat obsessed with more. Getting more done, buying more stuff, having more, doing more, even being more (be happier now! meditate more!).
We assume more is better.
This pursuit of “having it all,” coupled with advances in technology that enable 24/7 connectivity, cause many of us to feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and burned out. Not to mention deeply inadequate because we can never do it all, all the time.
Feeling like you’re constantly coming up short is not a fun way to live.
Good news, it’s an optional state of being! You can choose a new reality.
Underneath all the striving for more is what Buddhist cosmology calls the Realm of the Hungry Ghosts, ancient figures who are riddled with powerful desires they can never really satisfy.
The hungry ghost is that part of us that feels like no matter what we do, it’s never enough.
(Quick sidebar: I’m a big fan of having constantly evolving desires. It’s great to want things in life. But when we’re never satisfied, or we chase desires that aren’t really our deeper truth, there can be a hollowness to it.)
The reason it can feel as though it’s never enough is because you have some version of the belief; “I’m not enough.”
If your core identity is tied to believing you’re not enough, then you’ll create circumstances in your life that reinforce this belief.
You’ll over-commit, feel guilty and struggle to feel satisfied with your accomplishments each day. The key to feeling like you’re doing enough is to shift your core belief to; “I am enough.”
I’ve worked with this belief a lot in myself. And it keeps coming up. It’s been one of the biggest impediments to my happiness. And one of my best teachers.
I’ve learned how to begin shifting it, and how to tune into a deeper, wiser part of myself that knows I’m not flawed or broken, that knows I’m perfectly imperfect and I am enough just the way I am.
The more I connect with this deeper, wiser part of me, the less I suffer from the hungry ghost syndrome.
It starts with honoring your deeper truth and values. How do you really want to be spending your time? Making choices that are aligned with your values will help you to feel like you are enough, even if you’re not doing enough.
When I’m struggling with not getting everything done, I’ll say to myself; “Ok, I’m going to get less done with my business this week because I value time with the kids and I made a commitment to work part-time while growing a $1 million company. I honor my values and my commitment. I give myself permission to do less.”
Giving myself permission to do less has helped me stay grounded in my truth and my inherent worthiness. It’s also helped to practice a heck of a lot of self-compassion, patience, trust and surrender (not to mention visualization…I’ll get to that in the next blog!)
Sometimes, I still feel a bit sad that I didn’t get everything done at work. Or that I’m not playing outside with my kids on a sunny day. But overall, I know I’m being true to who I am. And that, more than anything else, is what helps me feel like I am enough.
When you’re connected to that deeper part of you that knows you are enough, it’s easier to do less.
There are lots of tools and strategies to help you connect with this deeper, wiser part of you.
Today, I invite you to connect with your wiser self by closing your eyes, taking 2-3 deep breaths, placing your hands on your heart and then gently asking this simple question; “Hmmm, if my soul could speak to me about how I’m feeling right now, what would it say?”
Receive the advice your deeper, wiser self offers you.
After you ask yourself this question, we’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below.
Let us know, if your soul could speak to you about your current situation, what would it say?
May you hear the whispers of your soul, the longings of your heart, and have the courage to follow them on your true path,
Photo Credit: Narain Jashanmal
[…] (Read my recent blog on “How to Feel Okay Doing Less” for some tips on how to handle this) […]
I love this post. My mother passed away 7 years ago. As she was wheeled into surgery a few months before she dies, she gave each one of her children a little nugget of wisdom. She told my brother to start working harder as she wanted him to start buying her designer handbags again (a joke), which he did and has seen great success. She told my sister to believe in herself, which she did and has seen enormous success. And for me, she just looked at me and said “Do less.” Whenever I find myself overwhelmed and unable to say “no,” I remember my mother’s words. Your post made me remember them again.
Is there any way that you could get your meditations in an app so that they would be easier to access from a mobile phone, any time any where? I have tried all the meditation apps and love your short ones the best but find them hard to access on a regular basis.
Aww, what a beautiful story and such great words of wisdom from your mother to each of you. Thank you for sharing this Jan.
And yes – we’re working on an easier way to have the meditations accessible from a mobile phone. Thanks for the suggestion!
Thank you for sharing, Vanessa! This really resonated with me today, as I have been struggling to cut back on work and volunteer commitments in order to make time for my one-year old and family (without working nightly after he goes to bed.)
The only thing I found a little discouraging was when you mentioned, “When I’m struggling with not getting everything done, I’ll say to myself; “Ok, I’m going to get less done with my business this week because I value time with the kids and I made a commitment to work part time while growing a $1 million company.”
I think your point in mentioning the dollar amount of your company was a way to remind yourself that you have a huge task in front of you, and you should cut yourself some slack. So it’s probably my own insecurities– but I felt like it wasn’t necessary to mention the $. Someone with a million dollar company and someone working a minimum wage job may feel the same pull to do more more more… and each is equally justified to do less, no matter how much they earn.
I’m happy to hear the message resonated Meghan. And to be clear, I do not have a $1MM company (yet!) but that is the goal I’m working towards. I completely agree that someone with a million or multi-billion dollar company and someone working a minimum wage job may feel the same pull to do more, more, more, and each is equally justified in doing less. It has nothing to do with how much money we earn. We shouldn’t have to prove our worthiness to feel worthy of taking a break!!! And if the mention of a dollar amount triggered a sense that you need to earn more before you deserve to take a break, please know that was NOT my intention. Sending you lots of love as you navigate your path and give yourself permission to do less.
I am disabled by a pain syndrome, able to do less and less for and with my family, even when I want to.
Acceptance of me as me;Understanding that I still have value sitting on the couch, these are hard lessons.
But today my soul heard you. Today my soul is more peaceful. Today iI is good to be me. Just me. Thankful for it all.
I breathe in. I breathe out. That’s all I have to do
aww, what a beautiful awareness Rosemary. Thank you for sharing some of your story. I’m sending you lots of love from afar!
Vanessa – this message came at the right time! I’m healing from a hospitalization, and I’ve been very much thinking about how and what I prioritize and also how to feel better about what I deprioritize. Keep the posts coming – your work is needed!
Thank you so much for the kind response Macharva! I’m so happy the message came at the right time. Healing from a hospitalization certainly forces you to prioritize and do less. I wish you a speedy recovery, and that you’re able to continue doing less even when your body can once again do more. 😉
Thank you, Vanessa! I’m wrapped in shawls on this 16 degree morning in Maine. I’ve been overwhelmed trying to use organizing software and programs for productivity. My soul said, “sit in your big comfy chair, enjoy your coffee and read that book you’ve been wanting to read.”
YAY!!! I love the message your soul gave you 🙂 It sounds fabulous to sit in a big comfy chair, wrapped in shawls and all cozy, and read that book you’ve been wanting to read.
This is a lovely article, thank you. I did your exercise and I felt myself saying “your stressing so much over things you cannot control and it is making yourself feel sick”. At the moment I am job hunting and finding it very difficult, not to mention confused with what I even want to do. I want the job that will give me the most money, be the most interesting and have the best type of people, I envision everything has to be exactly as I dream it to be, but this is never the case. I would love to be able to relax my mind and not think this way, but what happens with me is I can think it but my feeling don’t correspond to when I am trying to be positive. What would you advise someone who thinks negatively and always looking for something better, but even when they try stop and be more positive the feelings they get on the inside don’t match up.
You received such great words of wisdom Ashleigh, thanks for sharing! That’s a good reminder for me too. As for what to do when you’re trying to visualize, and you have a negative feeling, you need to back away from the vision until you can reconnect with positive feelings. Sometimes, it can help to imagine a time in the past when you did have positive feelings and then take that previous feeling into your imagined future or just savor the feeling from the past. How you feel is VERY important and if you start to not feel good while visualizing, I’d recommend backing away from the visualization. Sometimes, it’s because you’ve started to get specific with the vision and this triggers limiting beliefs or fears. In those cases, it can be helpful to go more general and high level with your vision. Simply imagine yourself feeling more fulfilled with your work or waking up in the morning excited about the day and what you’ll be doing, without going into the details. Go more general with the vision until you can connect with positive feelings. If you can’t, take a break from visualizing and do something that feels good to you – go on a walk, take a bath, listen to some uplifting music. Then, when your vibration is high again, go back to the visualization. Let me know how it goes!