Many of the conversations I’ve had over the last couple of weeks or so, go something along the lines of “I’ll be happy to see the back of this year.” While none of us wants to wish away days, let alone years of our lives, for some strange reason this year seems to have been a particularly challenging one for many Ripenists.
Quite apart from terrorist attacks, wars, earthquakes and the implications of the US Presidential election, so many Ripenists I know, are facing their own challenges: health, financial, work, relationships.
Most of us have used, or at least heard, that new-age adage: “The universe only gives us as much as we can handle”. However, it seems the universe is under the illusion that, at midlife, many of us can handle an awful lot!
It’s easy to get into comparing our own challenges to those of others and feel our own paling in comparison. After all, if you’re not terminally ill, living in a war zone or completely without food, money or friends, what have you got to complain about?
Yet this line of reasoning is unhelpful in helping us address our own particular mountains. While we all have plenty to be grateful for, focusing solely on the upsides doesn’t simply make our challenges disappear.
In the face of this reality, it’s not always easy to feel abundant or hopeful. Yet as Brene Brown has so wisely observed: “Addressing scarcity doesn’t mean searching for abundance, but rather choosing a mindset of sufficiency. Sufficiency isn’t an amount at all, it’s an experience, a context we generate, a declaration, a knowing that there is enough and we’re enough.”
As midlife women who have already faced up to and survived a myriad of challenges, it’s easy to forget this. And perhaps more so, the implications of our sufficiency, and therefore, worthiness:
- We are entitled to feel our feelings – even when what we’re up against doesn’t seem like much, compared to the challenges others are facing
- We have the right to speak our truth – even when it may be uncomfortable for others to hear and have repercussions we’d rather not live with
- We have a responsibility to trust our own wisdom – even in the face of contradicting others who believe they know what’s best for us
- We owe it to ourselves to remember how much we’ve faced up to and overcome already – even when it seems the current challenge is bigger and uglier than any of those that have gone before
Living up to, and into, our worthiness takes courage. It requires us to take a stand on our own behalf. To follow through on what we know we must do. “Courage is” as Poet David Whyte has written, “the measure of our heartfelt participation with life, with another, with a community, a work, a future. To be courageous is not necessarily to go anywhere, or do anything except make conscious those things we already feel deeply and then to live through the unending vulnerabilities of those consequences.”
And amid this? If we allow ourselves, we may find moments of peace and unexpected insights about ourselves, unknown reserves of strength, resilience and compassion, a deeper gratitude for ourselves and others, and ultimately an appreciation that regardless of what we face – we are indeed enough.
Ripenist Reflection: Regardless of the challenges you are facing, please take courage and understand you truly are sufficient (even if you may not be feeling it in this moment :))