Getting to Enough

by elizabethbrantley

I remember my first experience of truly feeling that I had enough. I was 21 years old, sitting by the ocean while I was abroad on a destitute island in the Turks and Caicos. I had my bowl of dinner and I sat there with the peace and happiness of another day of studying, diving, laughing and learning completed. Then, in a moment I was overwhelmed. I had no idea what this new sensation was, yet like a wave that was crashing below the sea wall where we sat, I was taken over and submerged in the peacefulness of this new feeling.

I stayed there for a moment and thought to myself, what is this? What exactly am I feeling. Then in a moment and with tears in my eyes, I knew what I was experiencing was the feeling of having and being “enough”.

The remarkable thing was that this feeling came because of my rationed dinner that had to fit in one bowl and usually involved cabbage and rice. In the fact that I hadn’t taken a fresh water shower in two and a half months. In the fact that almost all of my days were spent in the heat of a Caribbean Spring, which isn’t always welcoming. My feeling of enough came from wearing the same 2 every day and from sleeping on top of a bunk bed. It came from the mosquito net above me as I slept and the single sheet that covered me at night. It came from the fact that I woke up early to greet the world as the sun reached my part of the sky, and that there was no television to distract me in the evenings. It came from playing card games with friends and finding humor in little things and idiosyncracies of each other. It came from walking and not being in a car once while there.

It came, I believe, because suddenly in the simplicity of my life abroad, I recognized that all I already needed I had always had. It took two and a half months for my “wanting mind”, as the Buddhists would say, to quiet down and give up its struggle of trying to convince me that I needed or wanted more. In the starkest of any of my previous living situations, I found my peace, I found the fact that I truly had enough.

This feeling, this state, is one that I find more precious than others. It is the state where I feel completely grateful. Truly alive. Truly blessed. It is a state when Life seems to be so near, saying, “Yes! See! I am here to give you exactly what you need! Now and always! So let’s dance and play. ”

As I sat on the bench by the ocean wall, I turned to my best friend  and started to explain what was going on inside of me all of a sudden. It was in this moment, when I suddenly realized that being here, being in a state of “enough”, I suddenly didn’t know what to do next. It was as if I reached a goal that I had been working on for my entire life. There always comes that time, the morning after, the moment after, when your mind is left lingering  without any stronghold and you are left bewildered about what to do.

So I looked to my friend and said, “Kelly. What do you do when you realize you have enough?”

She paused and thought for just a moment. Then responded in the most profound way.

“I think you help others to realize that they have enough too.”

Just thinking of her response and the wisdom she shared with me brings me back to the state of utter joy. Since that moment, it has never been the same. While at times my wanting mind comes screaming in, this experience and this knowing Life is enough, is part of me. Now, I can’t help but want to help. I can’t help but want to spread the Joy, the Peace, and the Happiness of what it feels like to live in enough. Because I know “enough” doesn’t cost a lot. I know “enough” doesn’t have certain requirements or external circumstances. I know enough can happen in a worn down t-shirt and three bowls of rice a day. I know enough can happen on a yoga mat, spot of grass, or a seat on the subway. I know enough can happen with a one really good friend. I know enough can happen with just a moonscape or a laugh.

Yet, above all, I know that right now you dwell in enough and it is my greatest desire that you see this and live dancing with Life here.