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Reflection: How Much is Enough?

April 27, 2010

How do you know when you’ve done enough? How do you know when you’ve tried enough, that the choices you’ve made have been your best?

Do you try until you can’t try any more? Do you keep pushing because if you stop you’ll feel guilty? Should you have an injury before you feel justified in stopping? Have you lost your sense of comfort, so much so that you can’t recognize when, if you push even a little bit more, you’ll hurt yourself?

We live in a culture of trying. Try to do your best. Try with all your might. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

If there is one thing I could teach, give, pass on, suggest, and imply . . . it would be that you learn to recognize your edge. What is that point when it’s enough. Simply, without apology, without recrimination for not doing enough, it’s just enough. You’ve lifted your arm high enough, picked up enough apples from the orchard, sat at your computer long enough, and eaten enough chocolate. Whatever it is that has you in it’s grasp, pause, wait, breathe, listen. Notice what it is that you are waiting for. What is the signal that grabs your attention? If the signal is huge and loud and big and shaking, what is it that you’re paying attention to? What could have your attention so strongly that you don’t or can’t listen to your body and your self?

Could your thoughts have your attention that strongly?

  1. Kim, This is a terrific post. A lot of the time we just try harder at what isn’t working, whether it’s in physical activity or in relationships (home or work).

  2. Jill permalink

    I love this post, too. And I think it’s a great concept for the stepmom world, too…

  3. Thanks, Margaret and Jill.

    More thoughts on the issue of pushing ourselves will be forthcoming. My walk this morning was fruitful. I’m sure pushing oneself helped at different points in our civilization, but the key is to discern that just-right moment to stop.

    Maybe we can boil it down to “when do you hit the gas and when do you put on the brakes?”

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