The Discord of Dancing with Not-Enoughness.
The woes of Not-Enoughness are endemic among women I know.
I venture to guess that not many men escape Not-Enoughness either.
I’ve been dancing with my Not-Enoughness.
Dancing with it transforms it.
Where does Not-Enoughness come from? Where did mine come from?
Ironically, the more active and productive I became, the bigger my Not-Enoughness became.
Years ago, I tended to a communal garden. Care-taking a communal space with the plants, plots, pots, climbing vines and creative designs of many individuals sometimes got wild and woolly. Many voices. Few hands.
My hands were always in the dirt, nourishing communal projects. When all were excited about a vision, community work sessions became delightfully festive garden parties. Gratitude and reciprocal support flowed freely. The sensation of harmony was that of a sweetly swinging hammock. Fireflies and fairies frequented those garden parties.
Through the hands that shared the lion’s share of the work, our garden grew enchanted. Winding pathways weaved throughout, leading to magical places. Butterflies flew through, hummingbirds hovered. A Zen fountain invited reflection, poetry carved into stone invited inspiration. Light garlands were strung from branch to bough. Overflowing bowls of sidewalk chalk coaxed community to add art to the art of the garden. It was a wonderland.
The hands that had carried stepping stones and wheelbarrowed mulch were proud. Together, we’d created a space of remarkable beauty.
Few actually wished to get their hands dirty working the soil. The few of us who did, rolled up our sleeves and dug in. We enjoyed the work. There in the dirt is when the creative juices flowed. By moonlight we concocted wildly creative garden designs, sometimes sipping moonshine mojitos. We birthed these visions through blood (pumping), sweat (pouring) and tears (frustrations flooded this garden at times).
We built trellises, tied back vines, laid pathways, and handcrafted a crystalline fountain. We built a glorious garden, trust and friendship.
Others visited and enjoyed the garden occasionally. They would cheer us on, bolster and encourage us. When they visited, those of us with dirt up to our armpits would take breaks from digging, hauling and watering. We’d all stroll the garden, weeding as we walked. These friends’ free-flowing comments about the beauty of the garden filled my heart.
As all Nature is subject to change, so did the life of our garden. Seasons shifted. Winter arrived with bitter cold moving into the heart of our fireflied full-blossomed beauty. The climate was not conducive.
In the dead of this winter, when Nature craves silence, our garden got noisy.
Noise from voices for whom the garden was never right, Not Enough, stormed in: the design of the gate was too ornate… we bought supplies from the wrong store… so-and-so didn’t appreciate petunias… so-and-so wanted only roses… the gardeners were doing things wrong. Opinions picked the garden apart. Trust blew away like dandelion dust. Clippings elicited complaints, flowers were fraught with fights.
Discord sank down in the hammock, and dug its heels into the earth.
Keeping my head down and hands busy, I stayed for a spell. Working with the noise didn’t work very well. What once fed my spirit now zapped my soul.
Meanwhile, my own backyard was in disarray, whispering to me to bring my TLC back home.
So began the juggling act of tending to my own garden while also planning, planting, pruning and caretaking communal space. As my own garden grew, my heart for being out beyond my backyard became more tender. It’s not that the work was too much; it’s that working in the city garden while trying to tune out the noise assaulted my senses. Being bombarded by noise dizzies me. It got to where I couldn’t bear the volume of voices.
I couldn’t bear the cold.
Joy left the garden.
I left too.
I returned home.
Residual noise followed me. Shards of anger, judgment and blame found me. Some wished that my way of being in the world was different. They wished I didn’t delight in dandelions, or that I would withstand the cold. They wanted me to continue tending to their garden, so they’d have somewhere to go.
The enchantment of the city garden was gone for me though. Our fireflies and fairies no longer wished to visit. Neither did I. The noise had drained the color from petals, the sky, and my eyes.
I felt untethered. I knew that city garden so intimately. My own backyard didn’t even feel familiar. It was overgrown with vines from the other sides of fences, and barren of blossoms. She needed me to reclaim her. I needed to reclaim myself through her. She asked my hands to sink into her, to turn her soil, plant seeds, and sing her back to life.
It was my time to retreat into my garden, light the fire and soothe my soul.
As my soles and palms touched her earth, tears flowed. I was still holding the city noise that had landed in my hands. I grieved for what was left behind, though it was no longer there.
Even in her sad state, my backyard held me safe. Within that safety, my garden grew. My sunflower-loving soul sought the sunshine, and as my garden grew, she drew me closer in to me.
My sunflowers now stand tall, strong and bright. Tears flowed; they flowered. Sturdy stalks and bold blossoms alchemized what poured from my eyes. They are my heart’s work. Mesmerized by Mother Nature’s creativity blossoming in my garden, I stepped stronger into my own.
These days, my visits to the community space aren’t as frequent. They simply cannot be. I’d be fried. I visit just as little while just as much as the others who sometimes stroll through. Occasionally, I weed and water the beds. Tending to my own garden is how I now nurture my time and nourish myself. In honoring my tears, I found my peace through this little piece of earth at home.
When tears would flow, I did the only thing I know to do when my soul takes a hit and my spirit feels zapped. I danced.
Upon returning home, I danced to shake myself free of the noise. I danced until all I heard was the beat of my own heart and blood pumping through my veins.
I stepped into my own garden, tuned into Nature’s music, and danced up a cosmic storm of reclamation. Moving with wind, swaying with breeze, I gazed up at skies and trees. I danced. I danced my feet into the earth. My base claimed my space. My hips held me as I freed my heart and danced in the art of my garden. Birds’ songs danced along with my song as I whistled and worked in my garden. I danced away the noise that wasn’t of my garden.
Around the fire pit glowing, I danced into knowing that I am Enough.
I was Enough in both gardens, but now I knew where I wanted to be. And that is Enough.
When I dance, paper-thin notions of Enoughness evaporate into the moment, sizzle into the heat of my body moving, and release into the beat. Rhythm rocks the earth, pulsing into my feet. Music fuels my cells. Tones touch my skin. Melody moves me, sometimes slowly, and sometimes my bones dance the ancient dance of shamans shaking out the spirits, fast, fiery and frenzied, powerful, efficient and complete.
Other times, outward stillness settles, and I sense the internal symphony of blood and breath dancing within skin. I have music in me.
Music. Movement. Magic.
I am flooded with sensation. With fullness. Aliveness. Capability. Capacity. The power to choose.
I choose what is Enough for me.
How long do I dance the dance of release? When do I return to the solace of silence? How do I dance healing? Wholeness? Holiness?
My body laughs. She tells me: it’s never actually been my Not-Enoughness.
I’m dancing myself free of how Enough you want me to be.
I, too, had bought into Not-Enoughness.
Now, I dance for me.
All are welcome to come visit my garden. Friends who walk the garden in gratitude, with grace, kindness and compassion, please stay and dance.
Let’s dance with this quotation on a plaque marking the heart of my garden:
“Aren’t we all just flowers in the sun?
We start small. We live through sunny days which help us grow, rains which nourish our souls, and storms which nearly end us, yet we survive.
But, flowers have no fear. They grow without worry of envy from other flowers, they don’t feel inferior to those taller, or superior to those not quite as tall.
Wouldn’t it be sad if a flower didn’t bloom at all, for fear that its colors wouldn’t be as bright, or that its petals may not be good enough for the world?
Each one blooms in its own way, knowing without knowing, that’s all there is to life.
Each one has worth.
It really doesn’t matter if you are an early or late bloomer, just as long as you make sure to bloom to your full potential.
Enjoy your time in the sun.” ~ Doe Zantamata
Tracy Stamper is a dancer at heart, in mind, of body, and with words. She is blessed and blissed to call dancing her profession, thanks to the transformational conscious movement form of Nia. She teaches Nia classes and offers Nia White Belt Trainings for fellow dancers at heart, in mind, and of body. Tracy lives in St. Louis in a home on a little hill, with a whimsical wind sculpture out front, and two crazy rescue beagle boy dogs and the two human loves of her life inside. Her current favorite colors are purple, orange and glitter. She likes her chocolate dark, her little bubble of a world Personalitics-free, her inspiration flowing, and her car dances to be uninhibited. You can connect with her on her website, Nia website, Facebook or Shine siSTAR Shine.