How much of how we live our lives revolves around a deep feeling of not being enough? Enough, just as we are, worthy of money, of respect, of good fortune, of love. We think, if only I was finished with school or if only I had enough money to travel or if only I was more beautiful, more self-aware, more evolved … then I would truly be happy.
When I say that our life revolves around these kinds of thoughts, I mean it quite literally. The feeling of not being enough holds gravity, heavy enough to make it a center point around which everything else we do, think, and choose to believe orbits, just as the moon orbits our earth, and the earth the sun.
The antidote—being enough—can anchor us into a sense of belonging, nourishment, and reciprocity with all our relations. In Taoist cosmology, this simple feeling comes from the earth element, which holds a special place as the center point around which the other four elements revolve. Earth governs our stomach in the center of our body, providing nourishment to all other parts of our being. The earth is the great mother out of which we are all created.
And, like our human mothers, the earth is meant to provide us with a sense of grounding, stability, and deep trust that she will always be there to take care of us. In this nurturing and receptive space we are already enough. Just by the simple virtue of being alive, we are already worthy and entitled to every joy, comfort, and resource we need to stay well and flourish.
Returning to Our Center
We all have access to this foundational worthiness, and yet, so many of us lack this solidity and trust in life’s basic goodness. So many of our mothers could not take care of us in the ways we needed and deserved—they were either emotionally or physically absent—betraying us in a deeply primal way. Worse still, so many of us feel isolated from our mother earth—paradoxically breeding feelings of simultaneous guilt over our mindless consumption of resources, and a willful desire to continue to numb out from that very awareness.
Of course, there are those who consume mindlessly, deflect any sense of personal responsibility, and even deny our current global climate crisis. But if you’re reading this, chances are pretty good you are not among them.
More likely, you feel a crushing sense of loss at the devastation our culture is reeking on the planet. More likely, you feel powerless at the staggering volume and velocity of our environmental crisis. More likely, there is a part of you feeling shame over the part you play in contributing to the problem—the gasoline you use, the air miles you rack up, or the slave labor you inadvertently support with your purchases.
More than ever before, we as a collective are just as much in deep need of our earth as she is of us.
We must conspire to heal our earth—outside and inside of ourselves. Healing the earth within requires a commitment to changing habits deeper than recycling or conserving water. We must change our habits of self-loathing, shaming, and isolation. We must commit to the sustainable and life-giving practices of self-love, belonging, worthiness, and joy.
Regardless of our difficulties and past and present circumstances, there is nothing more powerful, and more personally transformative, that we can do than reclaim our right to be and to be enough. We reclaim this power from no one but ourselves—we each hold the key to deem ourselves worthy of exuberant joy and a fulfilling life where our dreams speak true.
Nourishing Our Inner Soil: Creating Fertile Grounds for Growth
I wish I knew what it will take for our species to survive, and to return to a sustainable and symbiotic relationship with our great mother earth. I do not claim to have all of the answers, but I do have some.
I know that healing the earth requires a shift at the very center of our being. I know that being enough is a transformative act that nourishes our inner soil and creates fertile grounds for new kinds of creativity and abundance to grow. And, I know that facing our own demons and choosing to love ourselves unconditionally is an act of radical courage and bravery second to none. This is the level and caliber of bravery needed to face our world with wisdom and care.
If we all start with ourselves, what more will there be left to do?
Establishing a healthy and working relationship with the earth outside and inside is a crucial part of deep healing. Reconnection with the natural world and the practice of reciprocity through simple earth-based rituals are vital to turning over a new paradigm of earth warriors.
When we are enough, we can be of greater service to the greater good. We can act from a place of wholeness instead of lack—our motivations, desires, and aims are not in service to prove to ourselves and those around us that we are good enough, smart enough, strong enough, brave enough. Instead, we simply know for ourselves that we are enough, and our actions stem from genuine pursuits of personal interests and growth.
Being enough and nourishing the earth within is the foundation from which we can go forth to find our true personal purpose and blossom into our full, unique potential—as a potent gift and an offering of our love to this world.