Challenge and Change – A personal account.
Sometimes I reread my blogs and think gosh that was pretty pointed. But today as I sat down and prepared my thinking for this blog I thought back to all of the times I have been challenged in my life. From getting the arc of the baseball perfect to reach from shortstop to first base to tag the hitter, through to dealing with an unpleasant complaint made against me when I hadn’t been completely professional.
As I thought back through my challenges I remember a particular day. I remember it being exciting, challenging, confronting and scary. I’m going to take you through that day and keep on the topic “challenge and change”.
A weekend retreat in the middle of the Victorian bush with a group of about 30 people. Arrival was a little fraught. We didn’t have mobile phone GPS assistance then. I arrived in the dark and instantly relaxed as I heard the enthusiastic conversations happening inside the barracks that the group would be inhabiting for the weekend.
Food and drinks were communal. BYO and share.
Conversations and activities were to happen in the lounge room and outside was a space for “whatever”.
One short bushwalk was planning for some time and we were anticipating breaking camp after lunch on the Sunday.
Rooms were sparse (and cold). And we shared with others. Some we knew. Others we knew of. And others were soon to become connections.
The purpose of the weekend was not very tight. There were some activities/workshops available. You chose to go to what you wanted. There were robust conversations about various topics. You could engage if you were interested. Or you could sleep and wander as you wished or needed.
There were mandalas drawn, meditation and singing. And there were definitely many robust conversations.
All of this challenged me.
During the first morning, the lack of structure took me back to University days. Days where I spent much of my time finding a familiar face and following them to a lecture in the hope that it was part of my degree (I got better but golly I was bad during 1st year).
I felt vulnerable and insecure. What was I supposed to be doing? Wondering what was all of this about?
Food and drink were safe as I knew what I was supposed to be doing. That was university and day one of the retreat.
The ball of clay
Now some of you will have heard me talk about my ball of clay that I carved that illustrates my journey. I sculpted that “magnificent item” during this retreat.
There were many people attending the retreat that I admired and respected. A couple that I idolised. I was pretty desperate to impress them if I am honest.
Towards the end of the first day as I was participating in a robust conversation about power and emotions and the fear of showing our emotions in public. One of the other attendees (who I was desperate to impress) spoke, then paused (waiting for those of us around the table to stop talking) then spoke again.
"You are enough."
I am sure this was in reaction to us all discussing our fear of being vulnerable in public. But I felt like my armour had been pierced. I felt extremely unsettled. What did that statement mean?
I fired questions…seeking reassurance.
- Are you saying I am enough?
- Enough what?
- Am I enough in your eyes?
- What does enough mean?
- Can you help me measure that so I have a sense of what you mean?”
The response was calmly sent back to my ears.
"You are enough Jill"
As I struggled with the concept of “enough” that was swirling around me I heard my voices. Most/nearly everyone has them. I call them my generational voices. They were rebelling against this concept.
Really? By whose measure? I don’t think so.
These were the words running through my head as I looked across the room seeing friendly, caring faces smiling and confirming that I was enough.
You are enough
I took off. Had a wander amongst the magnificent towering eucalypts. I spent two hours walking, struggling and reconciling my sense of inadequacy.
But I returned having a deep sense of settled knowledge that “I was enough”. Yet, that didn’t mean I could sit back and take it easy. No.
The meaning I made of this statement was
Whatever I do if I bring my whole self to it, the thinking, the dreaming, the doing, then I am enough.
Why have I shared this personal story with you?
Because when I consider challenge and change and understand that sometimes my ideas might be pointy and hold expectations…
You are enough
Bring your whole self…you are enough.