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When a door closes, a window opens.  It’s a reassuring thought.  Sometimes it happens and sometimes not so much.  I’ve quit believing in doors and windows opening all by themselves just because one or the other slammed shut in my face.  The slamming hurts.  Of course, it hurts.  But what I’ve come to believe – for me – is that it is up to me to look around, to see other doors and windows, to march up to them, to grab hold of a handle or door knob and fling it open to see what’s inside.  No one else is going to do it for me, and no one is standing by to give me permission.

I haven’t always thought this way.  I’ve spent a lot of my life waiting for someone to give me permission, someone to invite me, and for doors to magically open.  Those doors seem to be awfully slow sometimes.  I’ve lost patience with that process, and I’m throwing my whole self in.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world,” Ghandi said.

BE it first.  Do not wait for permission or for the right circumstances or for someone else to do it first.  BE the peace.  BE the love.  Be the commitment.  Even the joy and the celebration.  This is my life.  My doors to open.  My path to follow.  No permission needed.  No perfect conditions needed (or for that matter, available.)  I CAN BE the person I want to be.


Well, not a cake-walk exactly.  There’s fear, rules, and expectations to recognize, face and decide which are valid and which to discard.

Fear of:

  • Not measuring up
  • Stepping on toes
  • Making someone angry, or jealous, or uncomfortable
  • Being ridiculed
  • Being too loud, too stubborn, too sensitive, too insensitive, too scattered, too analytical, too unfeeling, too emotional

Which brings me to the rules and expectations of:  Following the narrow path of being enough but not too much. 

Be enough but not too much

A few years ago, I was accepted into a gallery.  It was my first gallery acceptance, and I was thrilled and excited.  Ecstatic!  Many people showed up at the reception for new artists.  At some point in the festivities, the director stopped the conversations to introduce the new artists.  Just raise your hand so people can see who you are, she said.  When she called my name, I raised both arms in a joyful, here-I-am dance.  I was that excited to be there.  Behind me, I heard a woman whisper to the person next to her: one hand would have been enough.

One hand would have been enough! 

Echoes from so many lessons over a life-time:  Be enough but not too much. Don’t make waves. Don’t make anyone uncomfortable.  Don’t dream the impossible.  Don’t reach too high.  One hand is enough, two hands is showing off. 

Hold on!  Do I want to hokey pokey through life with one hand in and one hand out?  Is that enough?  How much is enough?  How much is too much?  Who decides?  Who gets to decide?  That night, I allowed a stranger’s remark to take away some of the joy I was feeling.  To put me in my place – or rather someone else’s idea of my place.

To be enough but not too much.

It was a wake-up call to the narrow path I have followed most of my life!  Other people’s rules.  Other people’s expectations.  Other people’s judgments, advice, suggestions.  Often with good intentions and perhaps to protect me from disappointment.  I followed their rules, expectations, advice, and suggestions to follow the narrow path.  To be enough but not too much.  I’m not saying it was all bad.  I needed some reining in at times.  I needed guidance and direction to develop the courage I find in myself today.

It’s up to me to recognize and use that courage.  To put my whole self in.  Both hands, both feet, whole self!  If someone else thinks one hand is enough, let THAT person tie one hand behind her back.  As for me, I’m raising both hands in a here-I-am joyful dance.  Hokey pokey jump to the last verse – put your whole self in and shake it all about.  That’s what it’s all about!