I was at my family doctor's recently to deal with the yuck of bronchitis that my youngest and I picked up somewhere on our three day trip to Niagara Falls. She is a great doctor. She is passionate, always has time when you need it and truly loves her job. She and her husband own the clinic where they work only recently, decided to close on Sundays. Before that, it was seven days a week, 9 am to 8 pm weekdays with shorter shifts on Saturday.
They both run a family practice and while juggling their huge case loads, take walk-in patients all day, every day. Sometimes it is actually quicker to show up at 9 AM and ask for a walk-in appointment than it is to book one!
This visit I asked about her children, both in medical school in Ireland, who were both home doing research at hospitals nearby.
"Oh my goodness they are so busy! They are juggling research while doing some class work. You see, the hospitals love my kids because they work. They don't goof around or take long lunches or breaks and they things get done in half the time as everyone else. They make the others look bad! They come home exhausted but they know this is what they need to do to finish up and so they just do it!"
Last year at this time, I would have listened to her, and felt a deep sense of shame. My self-talk would have sounded like this: I am broken. I tried to work like that and I had a breakdown. I'll never be successful. I am weak. Everyone else seems to manage. What is wrong with me? I am a failure.
I am a failure.
In therapy, whenever we dug deep into emotion, under the very last layer of "what would be so bad about that?" was that confession. I am a failure.
Today, I am still the same person. Soft echos of those automatic negative thoughts resonate in my head but are easily swept aside. Today I know that I don't ever want to be someone who works THAT hard again.
When did we, as a society, start to measure our success, our importance, our relative worth by shouting our to do list over everyone else shouting theirs? Whoever is left talking is the winner? (or the one with the most hot air...)
My blood pressure is higher than yours and I can still put in an 18 hour day and if I could only have a heart attack...damn, that would show them..
I listened to a short video from Christine Arylo today about enough. She is an amazing woman, writer, artist, speaker---on her own spiritual journey that she eagerly shares with so many like minded women aching to be heard and seen and embraced. But even she recognized recently that she had put a self imposed deadline on her work that would be impossible to meet.
So not being perfect, but being perfectly wise, she paused to consider, what would enough look like?
Her new book is 2/3 complete and enough looks like making sure those chapters are well done and the next six weeks lies ahead, sparkly with unknown possibilities that will carry her through the last three chapters.
I love this "enough". You are enough. I am enough. My yoga teacher was repeating that this morning and then with this video message, I am able to tune into what the universe is telling me.
Soon I will return to work. The Spouse will continue to chase the badge with the CPR symbol on it because right now he is stuck, like I was. I wish I could help him, but he has to find his own path. I will be the primary parent, the grocery fetcher, the laundry queen, the garden guru (if the snow EVER leaves and it gets above zero) and I will go to work.
A long time ago, I thought there would be an end to my journey. I would be "fixed" (whatever that means) and magically be able to go back to the way I did things before, but would now know how to "do it all" without falling apart. In fact, I thought I would probably be even better than I was before. I would be able to do more, be successful, look put together, have a tidy house, all home cooked meals and able to solve all homework problems, find lost mittens, drive everyone every where, all without breaking a sweat.
But today, Christine Arylo, my yoga teacher (who was new and I had never seen before and almost didn't go because I am still healing from my bronchitis) and the universe are conspiring in my favor. I am enough. And for the next few weeks I will sit with that. I will take moments in my day to reflect on:
"what would it look like if I did enough laundry? , "what would be enough when I go back to work?"