Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude. Denis Waitley
Holidays! Some of us love them. Some of us would vote they come around much less often. I vote for every 4 years – like the Olympics! Just kidding! Sort of.
It’s the commercialism that gets to me. As much as I would like to convince myself that I don’t buy into the buying frenzy, the truth of the matter is I spend WAY too much time worrying about having enough, giving enough, celebrating enough, visiting enough… I lovingly refer to this time of year as the season of unmet expectations.
I’ve learned a new word for those feelings – scarcity. When I make myself nutso over whether or not everyone’s stockings will be filled evenly. Or if the gift wrap coordinates with the tags. Or if all the poor children have a gift. (Trust me, I could go on and on!) When I focus on not enough – or the flip side of that coin – way too much, I’m viewing the world through the lens of scarcity. Lynne Twist, author of The Soul of Money writes: “For me, and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is “I didn’t get enough sleep. The next one is “I don’t have enough time.” Whether true or not, that thought of not enough occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it. We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what we don’t have enough of… Before we even sit up in bed, before our feet touch the floor, we’re already inadequate, already behind, already losing, already lacking something. And by the time we go to bed at night, our minds are racing with a litany of what we didn’t get, or didn’t get done that day. We go to sleep burdened by those thoughts and wake up to that reverie of lack… This internal condition of scarcity, this mind-set of scarcity, lives at the very heart of our jealousies, our greed, our prejudice, and our arguments with life.”
I must admit that the mind-set of scarcity lives at the very heart of my irrational, yet very real struggle with the holiday season.
I’ve also learned that the opposite of scarcity is not abundance, but simply sufficiency. Lynne Twist defines it like this: “By sufficiency, I don’t mean a quantity of anything. Sufficiency isn’t two steps up from poverty or one step short of abundance. It isn’t a measure of barely enough or more than enough. Sufficiency isn’t an amount at all. It is an experience, a context we generate, a declaration, a knowing that there is enough, and that we are enough.” Gratitude, thankfulness, a realization of all that we have and are simply because we are – those are the lights on the path to sufficiency.
This year I vow to turn over a new leaf. (I found a great heart shaped leaf while Phillip and I were hiking yesterday. Maybe I’ll use that one.) This year when I find myself harried and hurried and bothered and worried, I vow to start again in that very moment with a prayer of gratitude. A breath of contentment. A self-compassionate reminder that the Grace of which I so often speak is abundantly sufficient. I am enough. Even in December.