The best education for me is experience, and with over fifty years of experience being not enough, I think I’ve had enough of not enough-ness. What astonishes me now, is the glorious humility of being the amazing, powerful, beautiful, magnificent, and perfectly human man that I am. Yes, I said humility.
Contrary to my previous belief, I think being “not enough” is a very egoic position. Wait wait… hear me out… to be less-than, or not enough is to create separation from the magnificence we were born to be. We know we were each born as a perfect baby. At some point we separated from that perfection. We know that in the quantum field, we are all connected, so it’s not just a spiritual concept that we are all one. To be not-enough, would mean that we are having the experience of being separate – from all that is, from our own perfection and from God. The thing is, we are not separate. That is impossible. No wonder I suffered so much!
I don’t want to lose anyone on the choice or words or religious arguments, that’s not what this is about. So, feel free to choose the God/Universe/Spirit word of your choice. For me, growing up Catholic in Ohio, I thought God was a jealous, demanding, needy old guy, judging me from his magical place above the clouds, somewhere over Cleveland. I was taught to kneel before such power. To be less than. To accept my low place as a sinner. My default destiny was eternity in hell until I earn my way to heaven, which is impossible by the way, for a gay boy. I was taught that humiliation was synonymous with humility. I was taught to think of myself as separate. I don’t blame my teachers, maybe I was a poor student, but that is what I learned. It's been forty years since I left the church, and I've since come to love and appreciate many things about it, and I also continue to grow and learn differently.
What I know now, as best as I can know anything, is that humility is giving up the concept of being separate, trusting Spirit enough to know that I can safely surrender my need to be enough.
When we look at the basic model of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and later the Barrett Values Model, we see that our first and foundational level of needs is to feel we have enough safety, money, health, etc. Next, we need to feel loved enough, and only then can we give attention to being enough in our third level of needs. Our continuing evolution through transformation into alignment, collaboration and contribution requires us to have enough of the basics to trust we are okay. When we don’t have enough to survive, it’s hard to believe we are enough in any way, shape, or form.
So, only when we know we are enough, do we feel safe enough to surrender into not having to be enough. We are actually everything. Don’t say that out loud in front of the Sister Veronica of my childhood – it won’t end well for you. It takes humility to let go of being a separate special entity who is capable of not being enough. Only with the strength of this humility, can we be one with everything, incapable of being anything less.
The ultimate ego trip is to think you are so special that you are not enough. You are. What would it be like to accept that? You are enough whether you like it or not, if it's comfortable, or scary, or exhilarating, or freeing, or something else, doesn’t matter. We are all enough. And yes, I understand we have life experiences that convinced us to think this way. Maybe it’s time to change the past (yes, we can) and adapt new thoughts of our true enough-ness. And, it is humility, not ego.
Imagine taking a drop of water from the ocean and holding it in the palm of your hand. It would be correct to say this is ocean, right? If the drop could speak, it could accurately say I am ocean. It is not the entire ocean. It is no less than any other drop of ocean, and does not answer to more powerful drops deep in the sea. It does not compare itself to prettier, smarter, or stronger drops. It just is.
My preferred metaphor, which showed up for me consistently for about six years before I set aside the fear and embraced it, is Fire. I am Fire. I am not all Fire, and yet I am one with the essence of Fire. I need tending and fuel, and I will eventually die. I can be extinguished. I am powerful. I can be destructive. I can provide safety and protection and warmth. I can be the neutral witness to what wants to be shared, without judgment or reaction. I can receive and turn into ash whatever wants to be given to me in the spirit of surrendering to the energy of the Fire. I am all that. I need not compare myself to the smoldering cigarette butt on the side of the road, or the sun. I just am, and I am all I need to be.
If you were to choose a metaphor, what beautiful, powerful and glorious and scary metaphor would you choose to represent you? Or who you are becoming? I’d love to hear! If you'd love to hear more about changing the past, let's talk about Regenerating Images in Memory.
Michael J. Kline. Teacher, Healer, Firekeeper. When not leading retreats in Costa Rica, or training coaches and facilitators to up-level their emotional processing skills, he lives in Sarasota with his husband of 33 years and their Labradoodle Luke. Mike is a Master Certified RIM Facilitator and Senior Trainer at the RIM Institute, Senior Canfield Methodology Trainer, Certified Barrett Consultant, and Owner/Retreat Leader at Con Smania Costa Rica. You can reach him through his website www.intus.life, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.