d

Find the silence
   which contains thought.
       --Hakuin       

    

When Enough is No Longer Enough

January 2010

So, we’ve established when enough is actually enough. But when is it not enough? When do we need to strive for something more? When do we challenge ourselves to get out of our stagnant rut and reach for change?

Enough is no longer enough when it represents old patterns that no longer serve us. It is easy to default into familiar habits out of laziness or apathy in making the changes we need to make in our lives because change takes hard work and effort. Is that something we are up to?

In the realm of health, many of us get so comfortable with what has been usual for us that we mistake it for being normal. (See my 2009 post called “Usual vs. Normal”). For example, we have had this low back pain for months now that we “just deal with.” Either we pop an Advil and go about our day, or we let it handicap us to the point of keeping us from living the life we want to live. It becomes our excuse for not engaging with joy in our lives. We let issues like these linger. And the longer they go unaddressed the harder they become to treat and the more daunting the task seems to be. Do we deserve to feel better? Does hobbling around reinforce a low self-image? Have we had enough yet?

Whether it is low back pain or something as complex as many varied forms of addiction, when we perpetuate old destructive patterns, we often do so because we are not yet ready to break out of those old routines, that albatross of old self-definition. Who would I be if I no longer drank? We become complacent enough to believe “I’ll change tomorrow.” Yet what does it take for that tomorrow to actually come? When have we had enough? When do we embody the change we deserve and need?

The answer to these questions is completely individual. My role with my patients is to see where they are at, where they wish to get to, work within those confines and at the same time challenge them with just enough of a stretch to see the task ahead as attainable and doable. It takes patience and time to change old patterns.

Let’s take another example. When I advise patients on diet and nutrition, the only goal I know I can realistically achieve is to help my patients develop awareness around their food choices. How do the foods they eat affect their health? If they have allergies and chronic sinus infections, how does dairy affect them? If they do not know or have a hard time believing me and the mountains of research pointing to the connection between the two, then I ask them to eliminate it from their diet for 3 weeks and then reintroduce it by itself. They can then tell me how it makes their sinuses feel. No amount of external preaching or research can make someone change until they experience it for themselves. Once that awareness hits, they now have an empowered choice to make: continue eating dairy despite the obvious sinus congesting effects, or realize that it is not worth it, that they have had enough. Feeling better becomes worth changing an old habit.

The arc of change is sometimes long and slow, and sometimes dramatic and sudden. What pushes someone over the edge of change, only they can determine. But one day, one bright and sunny day, they wake up and realize that enough is no longer enough—they do in fact deserve more.



 

© Jordan Hoffman, L.Ac., Dipl. OM, 2009. All Rights Reserved.

The information presented here is not medical advice, is not intended as medical advice, and is intended to provide only general, non-specific information related to Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture and is not intended to cover all the issues related to the topic discussed. You should consult a licensed health practitioner before using any of this information.

 
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This site and any articles on this site are not medical advice and are not intended as medical advice and are intended to provide only general, non-specific information related to Chinese Medicine and acupuncture and are not intended to cover all the issues related to the topic discussed. You should consult a licensed health practitioner before using any of the information on this site and any articles.