“I am enough”– how many times have you seen this phrase on Facebook captioning a perfect woman amidst a gorgeous backdrop, hair cascading in the wind, arms spread as if she’s flying and her beautiful white dress flowing behind her as she effortlessly floats on air? We look at that picture and in that instant we are inspired. We think, YES! I am enough. Two seconds later, we are scrolling past someone’s perfect vacation or perfect family. Suddenly, “I am enough” escapes us and we are back to comparing our bodies, our lives and our experiences to the world at large. It doesn’t matter that what we are seeing is not the complete story. It doesn’t matter that the final product was probably a thousand takes to get the perfect picture. Someone else’s life is perfect, or at least better than mine.
In this week’s classes our mantra is “I am enough.” How many days of saying these words would it take before they sunk in and you actually believed them? How many times would you need to repeat it before it silenced the voice that tells you the exact opposite? What would you be if that negative voice never had any power, because from the time you started forming it you told yourself “I am enough?”
In this week’s class I encouraged the students to repeat “I am enough” to themselves while they moved through their asana practice (physical postures). In our kids and teen classes we usually take a few minutes after the physical practice to discuss something related to mindfulness, self awareness or self reflection. This week children were/will be given playdough. Each will get one color of varying sizes and a tool to help them mold it. Of course, the second the fun stuff comes out they all start to tell me which color they want, but the purpose of this exercise is twofold. First, it is designed to teach them how to stay present instead of jumping to what’s about to happen. Second, it will hopefully demonstrate to them that what they have is enough, even if someone else has what they perceive to be more.
Students closed their eyes and waited to see what they were given. I gave them the opposite of what they had asked for. When they opened their eyes, we talked about how sometimes when you look around and see others with something you really wanted or something that looks way better than what you have, it is hard to be happy with what you got. They are always encouraged to add their thoughts to the conversation. I repeated the mantra, “I am enough” and asked them– if they didn’t see what everyone else had gotten, would they have been more excited for what they had? They all agreed they would have. We repeated the mantra “I am enough” and talked about how sometimes in life we are handed things that we didn’t ask for and sometimes we didn’t/don’t want. When that happens, we often look around at what other people have, and as a result measure our own worth against theirs.
I called their attention back to what they had in front of them. “We are always given a choice. You can either look at what you were given, say it’s not fair and miss the experience, or you can forget about fair and work with what you have.” They were then given a few minutes to make something out of what they had. I invited them to be creative and enjoy the experience, not worrying about what others were making. After 3 minutes or so they all looked at what they had created and all seemed happy with their masterpieces. We talked about how no matter what you are given, if you take the time to appreciate it and work with it, no matter what you are handed you always have the opportunity to mold it to be something wonderful and it will be enough. I asked, “If you still aren’t happy with it what can you do?” One student proudly stated, “You just have to remold it!”
It is always an honor and a pleasure to guide these little beings for the brief time they are with me. Their innate knowledge is astounding and their willingness to work and learn leaves me in awe after every class. Thank you for allowing me to be their guide!