I see you shrinking into yourself even as you express joy and pride and wonder at what that other person has done. I see you measuring yourself, your accomplishments, your life, your you-ness with someone else's yardstick. Sometimes it seems everyone else is doing things. Writing books. Getting promotions. Having more perfect children who only play with expensive wooden toys. It feels like you're behind and lagging so much that they've already stolen all the ideas from you, and blossomed them into something that you would've done, if you hadn't been so sluggish. If you had been quicker. If you had been sharper. If you had been clearer. If you had had more.
That though, is just the thing. It is still their yardstick. And this world is nothing but a cacophony of voices, colliding and interrupting and finding each other in harmony only after colliding, only after sharp and edgy and unpleasant and unharmonious encounters. Somewhere deep inside of you, you will find your own yardstick. It is deep in your pocket and it will disappear into fairy dust the minute you begin to lust after someone else's life, someone else's accomplishments, someone else's dreams. It's magic only shows up when you tune into your own vibration. When you tune into you.
I often have this experience with non-fiction books. Sometimes I'm even weary to pick them up, asking others if they are good before I buy them, allowing them to languish on my bed stand before I open them, judging myself at every turn because i should have written this and now someone else has so I can't. And yet, that is not the case at all. I can write whatever I like. When I was a little girl, I loved to read and one of my favorite authors was Beverly Cleary. I wrote to her, and asked her how I could become a writer. She responded with sweet words, suggesting that to become a writer, I needed to write, a lot! So when did it happen, that I stopped reading because my ego shut me down, because jealousy began to take over, because I persistently believed I was not enough?
I used to write late at night when everyone was sleeping, from a 24 café in Vancouver. It always felt sneaky and secretive and delicious, because I felt like I was getting to have all the ideas, to browse them all slowly and carefully, to play with them as I wished, to discard them if I wanted- because everyone else was sleeping. But this is not it at all. It's not as though there is a set number of ideas and if you don't get them, there will be none left.
There is infinite possibility. Endless ideas, each of them formulated only for you. So much brilliance, emerging in its own time. Someone else's book was never mine. My feet would hurt if I walked their path, I might shrivel and dry, so thirsty for what was meant for me.
And yet, here we are. I cringe a teeny bit every time I hear of the grand success that people I used to be with are having. I admonish myself for cringing, and I try to lean into gratitude, to notice what is going well. And I wonder what I'm doing wrong. I wish I was clearer, more accomplished, more driven, just- more. And I try to remind myself that I have no idea. I have no idea if they are in tears every night because they are fighting with a family member. I do not know if they lay awake and run through every conversation they had, wondering if they said the right thing. For all I know, they are on the brink of collapse.
Why is it so hard for all of us to see the wondrous things we are already doing, the people and communities that we have impacted, the stuff that is so incredible and so important and so necessary?
Since it is so hard for all of us, we need to be telling each other. We need to be reminding each other we are enough. We need to be noticing for each other, how much we are doing, how perfect it is, how incredible we are. And maybe, just maybe- somewhere down the road, enough others will have flexed this muscle for us, and we will be able to see how important and amazing and sweet and necessary and brilliant and enough all of us are.
So this is your reminder, for today. You are doing exactly what you were meant to do. You might not yet recognize that it's exact, but it is, if you can trust. Your sweetness, your kindness, your goodness, your contribution, your desire, your fire, your love, your big giant heart, your softness, your love- it is enough and it is perfect.
It is not scarcity at all, it's not as though if someone else is going to get all the ideas- everything that you are, everything that you've done, everything you will do- is only ever yours.
It may not be how you imagined, for we humans love to put containers around experiences and envision futures with scripted lines and goals and pathways that we convince ourself we must attain. And yet, its futile. All we can do is be where we are, notice how wonderful it is, lean into the tender and the sensitive and do the holding I know how to do, the loving I want to do, the being together that feels important.
Because you, dear one, are enough. Exactly as you are. Exactly doing what you're doing. Exactly with what you've accomplished. Exactly as you are, dear one, you are enough.
Chelsey is a digital storyteller, geek, mama, researcher and yogi. She loves to make things and her favorite food is artichokes.