Enough

Recently commenter Lora mentioned that she did not think that she had the discipline to reduce her stuff so much. I don’t have the discipline either. For me it’s all about finding my “enough point.” It doesn’t feel like deprivation at all, it feels like liberation. Let me explain.

In his book Your Money Or Your Life, Joe Dominguez talks about the “enough point.” (I’m paraphrasing here, ’cause I gave my copy of the book to someone who needed it) Say you are really, really hungry and you eat a cheeseburger. It is very tasty but you aren’t quite full yet. So you eat another cheeseburger. It’s good, but not nearly as wonderful as the first one. Since those first two were good, you eat another one. Now you are stuffed. You eat one more and you are miserable. The enough point was somewhere between the first and second cheeseburger.

This idea can be applied to almost anything. Food, clothing, extracurricular activities, meaningful work, foreign travel, number of children to raise, money.

Figuring out your own personal enough points for these things is incredibly powerful. Say, you figure out that your enough point for clothing is three saris (what Mother’ Teresa’s nuns wear) or a new outfit for each of your TV appearances in the next three months, or two dark suits with five dress shirts and four ties. As soon as you get there, you can focus your attention on something else. Something more interesting and meaningful.

Everybody’s enough points are different, and differ in an individual as his or her  circumstances change. Perhaps you were paying attention back on the post whereby I give you two more hours per day and you are scaling back your TV viewing time. Enough TV will be different for you than for me. No TV is enough for me. At least it is right now. But if I was laid up with a bad back and lots of time, my enough point would shift to lots of TV viewing. 

Keeping track of how much money I spend, how many items I own, what I’m cooking for dinner this month are only mildly amusing pursuits on their own. The purpose behind these counts makes it not a discipline but a joy, makes it fun.

 I am a single parent with a middle class income. There is rarely a day that goes by that I am not overwhelmed by the task I have taken on. There is one of me and three still at home (waving to J & B who need my love, but not necessarily my daily attention–XOXOX.)  By knowing my enough points for food, clothes, rest, self-care, I can reserve the rest of the resources here for what really matters to me…taking care of my kids.

Knowing your “enough” is amazing freedom.

Please share an “enough” moment of your own life. Your first comment has to be moderated by me and then all other comments post immediately. (Prevents spam)

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4 responses to “Enough

  1. Let me see if I get this….. Because of my medical background; I can relate to what you are saying (which makes complete sense) in a concept known as homeostasis. A balance….neutrality of sorts. The ‘happy medium’ in life…..getting thru all the layers of stuff to find what makes one truely satisfied.
    We each need to fill our tank…..

  2. Yes! Yes! Yes!
    What fills OUR tanks. Not what the world says we should do…..
    Put your own oxygen mask on first….

  3. Leslie Ann Costello

    I struggle with the “enough” part because of decades of being a “never-enougher,” a concept from Jack Lee Rosenberg (“Body, Self & Soul”). I couldn’t cook just the right amount for my family, always over prepared for everything in my life, and always worried about running out of things, tearing off to the store if supplies got low. Anyway, I realized that it was about ME and have been trying to stay with the anxiety that comes up around not having enough. At the same time, I have pared down my belongings significantly, and feel the weight of some of them still (indicating that I need to pare further). So in some ways, I am starting to “understand” (in my experience, not my thinking…my brain gets it just fine) what ENOUGH means. Thanks for the post; now I can look for a feeling of lightness, or notice that I am no longer thinking about something, and know that those things may be markers telling me that I have enough.

  4. Leslie Ann-isn’t amazing how powerful emotions are tied into practicing these ideas? To me, this is a sign that important work is occuring.

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