The Story Behind the Sticker
In March of 2020, I turned 50. An auspicious time. A milestone.
The finish line?
Just getting started!
Like most people arriving at this anniversary, I was considering a big blowout—trip to Paris or Hawaii, throw a party buy myself something special. Yet, I knew the day would come and go as any other day and gifts and materials things would just weigh me down as I'm a traveling bohemian these days.
A new friend I met in January 2020 was also turning 50 this year—to meet another 1970 soul approaching the milestone. During an email exchange, when I asked him what he was planning for his 50th, he wrote back, "birthdays ought to never be about receiving anything! One should be grateful for the friends, companions, teachers and fellow wayfarers and show that appreciation on ones coming-into-samsara day!"
I met his message with a soulful truth—I'm traveling light, I don't need gifts or tokens. I want my presence to be my present to others and to share the joy with them that I've made it 50 years on this earth.
*** Food addiction
Working through my food addictions came to a head in 2014, when I kicked my daily (hourly?) chocolate and ice cream habit.
As I entered the ring with my emotional eating, I went head on trying to rely on new ways of thinking and tossing out old unhealthy habits. When I craved food, especially sweets like Ben & Jerry's or chocolate candy bars (dark chocolate only), I knew it was to fill a hole—a void—deep in my tummy. I wasn't hungry for calories, but feeling empty as if I weren't enough. Did I need more love? Attention? Physical touch? Social stimulation?
I came up with a mantra "I am enough." Of course, I didn't coin the term. In fact, I don't even know where it originates but in my travels, and trips to the therapist over the years, the phase came up again and again. Finally, I started to plug it in when I was craving, lonely, uncertain and wanting desperately to go to the store and load up on the sugary sweets, to plunk down alone in my apartment and gobble up the Oreo's, dark chocolate Twix, donuts, Peppermint Patties, chocolate covered graham crackers...
Sitting, eyes resting, hands open and unclenched, mouth slightly agape, shoulders soft, comfortable, blanket draped over my chest and shoulders tucked just a bit under my legs, both feet flat on the floor, I sit tall. My meditation practice began in earnest in 2011 when I went to a 10-day Vipassana retreat.
Three retreats later, as I sat in meditation, I felt that I am indeed enough. There is no where I need to go, there is nothing that I need to buy, there is no coffee shop I need to enter, there is no one I need to call, there is nothing I need to eat.
My mantra had morphed: not only am I enough, but I am enough right now, at this very minute. I don't have to wonder if I was enough in the past, and I don't need to worry whether I'll be enough in the future. This moment, I am enough.
I grew up with a few cats in the house, dogs too, but I've always been more drawn to cats. They're just easier to care for and there's nothing like a soft purring cat on your lap who enjoys your strokes and attention. Playful cats who perk up with the catnip or who jump and pat at the bouncy toys are fun too. Over the past ten years, I've been cat sitting for friends and professionally as a cat sitter and have developed an affinity for the furry creatures— Indy, Nutmeg, Tiger, Sneakers, Vortex, Ruuske, Tao, Lucy, Bella, Watch, Chloe, Yeti ...
Not only am I enough right now, but more importantly, I am enough right meow. the mantra had morphed yet again. I was tuning into my inner friskiness, need to be silly, playful and soft. When I said aloud, "I am enough right meow," it made me smile and giggle. How could I be depressed or blue, not receive a surge of warmth. It's like listening to banjo.
So I had my new mantra and wanted to sing it from the mountain tops