Today is November 16 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “how often do you nurture yourself?” People who navigate the chaos place a priority on nurturing themselves. It may seem a bit selfish at times but putting in the daily grind required to translate one dream after another into reality demands a strong sense of self physically, mentally, and spiritually.
As Harvard Business School historian Nancy F. Koehn wrote “We forget that the single most important thing we must do to walk a worthy and higher path is to take good care of ourselves. If we want to serve, and love others, and have a powerful impact we must love and nurture ourselves.”
As Lisa Firestone wrote in "The Unselfish Art of Prioritizing Yourself" published on August 17, 2017, in Psychology Today “Socrates gave two injunctions: Care for oneself and know oneself. He and other ancient ethicists understood that caring for ourselves is to exhibit an attitude not only toward ourselves, but also toward others and the world, to attend to our own thoughts and attitudes in self-reflection and meditation, and to engage in ascetic practices aimed at realizing an ideal state of being. Maintaining a certain regard for ourselves and engaging in self-compassion and self-care are actually fundamental to creating a good life for ourselves and the people who matter most to us.”
Asking yourself what is enough in life is perhaps the single most important aspect of both caring for and knowing yourself. How can you possibly take good care of yourself if you lack the knowledge of what is enough? Do you have enough love? Enough money? Enough success? When is the last time you even considered if you have enough of anything in your life? It will be difficult to navigate the chaos without such an understanding.
An excellent illustration of this concept of enough comes from Kurt Vonnegut’s obituary for his friend and fellow author Joe Heller, author of the best-selling novel Catch-22, published in The New Yorker on May 16, 2005. Entitled “Joe Heller” here is Vonnegut’s story:
“True story, Word of Honor. Joseph Heller, an important and funny writer now dead,
and I were at a party given by a billionaire on Shelter Island. I said, ‘Joe, how does it make you feel to know that our host only yesterday may have made more money than your novel Catch-22 has earned in its entire history?’ And Joe said, ‘I’ve got something he can never have. And I said, ‘What on earth could that be, Joe?’ And Joe said, ‘The knowledge that I’ve got enough.’ Not bad! Rest in peace!”
For today’s reflection, focusing on the care you need for yourself and the self-knowledge also required to navigate the chaos, here is a brief assessment where you can ask yourself if you have enough of each aspect in your life.
Do you have enough…
2. Real estate
5. Job title
6. Time to exercise
7. Time for family
13. Good health
If you said yes to one or more of the items, have you reminded yourself that you do indeed have enough? If you said no to one or more of the items, are you taking action to achieve a pre-determined level of enough? Are you reflecting upon your pursuit of one or more of the items to ensure it has a positive impact on how you are navigating the chaos? For example, if you believe you do not have enough good health, are you engaging in an exercise routine so extreme that you are ignoring work or family obligations?
How often do you ask yourself if you are nurturing yourself in a kind and generous manner?
How often do you remind yourself to define, or perhaps, redefine, what enough means to you give your current life situation?
If you define enough do you feel as though you are settling for less than what you originally planned? If so, why is that?
What is holding you back from accepting your definition of enough?
Who or what is preventing you from engaging in the self-awareness and self-care required to navigate the chaos?