Enough – The Book: A Sneak Peek

So, as I have mentioned and intimated many times in various places, I’m currently hard at work on my next book. The working, and likely final, title is Enough. Anyone who has followed this site long enough should have a basic idea of the what the book will be about from the title alone. That said, for those that are new here, it will be about my ideas surrounding simplicity, minimalism, clutter, consumption, and living a life of balance.

Like my first book, Keeping It Straight, Enough will be a series of essays mainly focusing on concepts, deeper thinking, and discussion surrounding ideas such as…

What is enough?

How does one find it?

What strategies might help in getting there?

Why is it important in the first place?

In a way, it is as much manifesto as it is instruction. There may be some tips and suggestions but they will be bolstered by a heavy dose of reason and purpose.

I have no idea when the book will be “done” let alone published and released. I’m working hard to get there though. Some weeks are better than others. This week has been disastrous but last week was promising. Just know that some of the lack of deeper and more frequent writing here (and for the foreseeable future) is due to my energy and thoughts being directed there.

That said, I wanted to give you a sneak peek at the current draft of the first essay/introduction (I’ve not decided which it is yet). It is not finished but should give you an idea about the sort of direction the rest of the essays in the book will go.

So, here it is…

Enough

My daughter takes classes at a European Style Circus Arts school. It’s a pretty amazing place. They teach and train children, starting at age two, how to perform all manner of classic circus acts. German Wheel, Trap, Triple Trap, Side-by-side, Silks, Spanish Web, etc. Think of Cirque du Soleil but with kids and you have the idea.

Recently, in class, she was learning how to walk the wire. As I watched her, It began to occur to me that this was the perfect metaphor for what I believe the idea of Enough is, and how to discover it.

We all have a center of balance that is unique and different from everyone else. My center of balance is different than yours. My daughter’s, from mine. As she walks the wire, hands out, wobbling to and fro, this is what she is in search of. As she gets older, this process might become easier, faster, with less wobble, but it will never end. No matter how good, she will always need some device to assist her – arms stretched, a long poll, a racket or fan. Even the Flying Wallendas, perhaps the greatest wire act to ever perform and a family team stretching back 10 generations, still wobble and use devices to maintain their balance.

Why is this? Well, because the conditions are constantly changing. Changing in ways that we never really even think of. Here are just a few:

  • The wire is usually made of metal. Air temperatures change. Metal expands and contracts slightly in such changes. Thus, the tension of the wire changes ever so slightly as well.

  • Wind, as one can imagine, is a factor. Even a slight breeze can make a difference.

  • Is there a crowd? Well, applause and other loud noises cause vibrations in the wire.

As you can see, there are many unseen and rarely considered things that can affect one who is walking the wire. Those are just a few of them. These changes require frequent adjustment.And this is outside of the fact that, even if nothing on the wire changed, even the most seasoned wire walkers would still need to make constant slight adjustments to maintain balance, both physical and mental.

So it is with the idea of Enough. What is enough for you will be different than what is enough for me. Also, what is enough for each of us will change with changing conditions. If I’m really hungry, an apple will likely not be enough for me. If I have just eaten a full meal with dessert, an apple will be too much. The goal is to find the sweet spot, the center of balance, that allows one to have enough or what one needs when one needs it. But even this will change and requires constant adjustment and re-evaluation as the conditions change. Just like balancing on the wire.

The goal then, is not to find what is, or will be, enough forever. That is impossible. The goal is to discover the tools and strategies you need to find what is enough for you right now and provide the flexibility to adjust as the conditions change.

You See Me

Beard

Most people that know me have never seen my face. Not most of my friends. Not even my wife. As I write this, I’m not even sure I remember what it looks like.

I have worn a beard since my mid twenties, I think. It’s been so long I’m not sure. I like the way I look with one. Not so much without. It is a part of me. As such, I feel it is as much a part of my face as my nose, or my eyes. Yet, because I wear my beard by choice and it can be easily shorn, it is not quite the same.

My beard also serves many functions. For most of the Minnesota year, it shields against the chill. It helps to hide imperfections. The scar I have on the underside of my chin from the falls I took as a child. Some of the splotches of Seborrhoeic dermatitis I quietly suffer. And, in this way, it is a mask that I use to disguise a face I feel ugly and scared and weathered.

Perhaps it is time to give those I love at least a glimpse of what hides beneath. So that I can say, “You have seen my face. All of it’s character and faults. Thus, you know me.”

Beard

Clean Hands

Here is something that I only recently recognized about myself. I really enjoy having freshly washed hands. It’s not just about the cleanliness though. It’s the act of washing them. Especially with a really nice soap. I love the way they feel and the way they smell. It is one of the simplest things, on the face of it, but one that gives me a fair amount of joy and pleasure.

There are many other tiny things that give me joy and pleasure too. Writing with a really good pen. Walks with my little girl around my neighborhood. A clean car (both inside and out). Being smartly dressed.

I don’t feel any of us take enough time to identify these simple, often free, acts that give us pleasure and joy. Even those of us that do, often do not take enough time or give ourselves permission to indulge in them. Especially when it would benefit us the most.

Having a bad day? Feeling a little down? If you have some of these tiny pleasures already identified, see if acting on one can help turn things around. It likely wont solve the whole problem. But, at least for a moment, it may help you feel differently.

Even if things are just fine, it can never hurt to inject some happiness into your day. Relish the simple acts that bring joy.

home/ books/ newsletter/ archives/ info/ rss