Unity of Greater Portland, Windham, ME - August 30, 6:30 PM
1. In Enough!, you make an intriguing claim: that lack is a myth. How could this be when we see evidence everywhere of dwindling natural resources, species extinction and global warming?
I am not saying there are no limits. What I am saying is that most of the lack we see around us is the result of human choices that disrupt what otherwise would be naturally sustaining, self-perpetuating systems. These choices are out of alignment with the superior intelligence built into the universe that ensures enough for all. But rather than wallowing in guilt, fear or shame about this, we should be optimistic about our ability to change. The instructions for how to create enough for everyone is built into the entire cosmos. We are remembering how to look for it now. and this is why I am so hopeful.
When we realize we are actually enough, and inseparable from the universe and its ability to create enough, we realize that a pathway to plentitude has always been available to us as our own true natures. It’s just that this innate pathway has been obscured by a seriously distorted “rogue” human worldview that has been narrowly fixated on lack. I call this rogue worldview the Never Enough paradigm. Homo Sapiens appears to be the one single species on earth who lives according to this “Never Enough” myth. Wouldn’t you think we’d notice how the other 8.7 million species successfully co-create healthy, sustainable ecosystems that work for everyone without depleting the systems upon which they rely?
2.There have been other books that explore abundance and prosperity, such as those that promote the power of attraction in order to increase wealth. How is your book similar or different?
Well, I recognize that those books have been helpful to many people, and I am a believer in positive thinking, or in the principle of “what you pay attention to grows.” But one of the criticisms of those approaches has been an overly materialistic and self-serving focus. I would agree that we define prosperity much too narrowly if we are just talking about our own prosperity or even our own species’ prosperity. I don’t think we can sustain the efforts of our inner prosperity work without also working on the systems around us. There are just too many “you’re not enough” messages to overcome on a daily basis. It takes tremendous conscious effort to stem that tide long term. I have seen too many people fall back to old patterns of poverty consciousness. What is different about my approach is that it is a whole systems approach. To be successful, I believe prosperity work must include collectively confronting the Never Enough paradigm itself and claiming our independence from it.
I also think we have been missing the much bigger picture of how the natural world actually works. Nature is our best teacher for how to generate enough for everyone forever. We can only claim to be in harmony with nature’s enough-generating power when we are participating in life according the two principles at work in the natural world: 1) We are acting in a way that creates not only enough for ourselves, but enough for our community and enough for the planet. 2) When we receive value, we offer value by paying it forward to future generations and by giving back to the system that fed us.
The Never Enough worldview focuses on neither of these things. It has all the characteristics of adolescence – exaggerated self-absorption that breeds recklessness, insecurity, self-consciousness and a hunger for instant gratification.
When we align with Enough, we are stepping into humanity’s spiritual adulthood, our ability to widen our sphere of caring and responsibility to include others. It feels much more harmonious, peaceful and meaningful to live this way. It dissolves fear and insecurity. It creates flow, connection, grace and ease.
3. You are unabashedly optimistic about the future of humanity. How can you be so sure it’s not too late to save ourselves and the planet?
The Enough Message came to me as what I call a “divine download.” Before I could truly understand it, I could feel it. Boy, could I feel it. The benevolent, loving energy that came with it was overwhelming. The message was this: “I am enough. I have enough. We are enough. We have enough. Enough!”
The first thing I noticed about that message was that it was the exact opposite of what our society teaches us to think about ourselves and the world, which is "I am not enough. I don't have enough. We aren't enough. We will never have enough." This creates a toxic smog of hopelessness and powerlessness that unconsciously compels us to accept horrible conditions rather than standing up for ourselves and saying "Enough is enough!"
The Enough Message caused me to perceive the world in a more open, permeable way, what is referred to in Buddhism as " beginner's mind." Again and again, information would come at the right moment. It came from such a broad spectrum – from quantum science, indigenous wisdom, anthropology, thriving social movements, evolutionary biology, systems theory and mythology. What I realized is that the Enough Story was already well underway in our midst. I kept thinking of Einstein’s famous statement, “Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.” From our old “Never Enough” worldview, planetary conditions look very bleak indeed. We’d be right to be worried. Yet when we take on an Enough mindset, we actually create the inner conditions to both notice and access more abundance, creativity, synergy, inspiration and creative genius. We literally take a quantum leap in consciousness. Once we expand our perception in this way, we are interacting with the world in a much more empowered, connected, expansivee way. And this changes everything.
4. You mentioned that there is “hidden abundance” we aren’t seeing when we are locked in a Never Enough Mindset. Can you tell us some of those hidden places where enough is found?
The first thing to recognize is that the Never Enough Mindset is a global cultural paradigm that has constricted humanity's thinking for 5,000 years. Think of it as a wall around our consciousness. We haven’t been able to see beyond that wall for millennia. But the walls have developed cracks over the years and many of us (I’d say a critical number now) are peeking through those cracks and glimpsing something different. Five thousand years may be too long to remember that any other perception of the world is possible, but it is short enough in terms of the 13.8 billion year old universe story to confirm that the Never Enough Story is definitely not the only story possible. What we see through the cracks now is a more accurate picture of reality. It's a reunion with nature’s unfathomably old Enough Story.
Never Enough has been the story of separation and of survival of the fittest. It has been a point of view that ignored all sorts of data, such as long term effects, feminine wisdom, action at a distance and the connectivity that underlies the entire cosmos. Enough, on the other hand, invites our lens to broaden. We attune to the subtle, the vibrational and the relational, which are all at the cutting edge of human discovery right now. For example, we may not realize it, but most of the technologies upon which we rely today have been created by tapping these subtle realms. The vacuum of open space carries virtually unlimited energy and data – microwaves, wi-fi, radar, radio, satellite television, MRI’s, X-rays, to name a few. All of these technologies defy the Never Enough worldview, which would be that if you cannot see it with your five senses, it does not exist.
What I find most exciting, though, is how human beings are discovering hidden abundance through synergy with one another – through the “we.” We are living in a time of unprecedented creativity in social movements and community action, saying “enough is enough!’ to fracking, GMO’s, nuclear power, corporate greed, sex trafficking, racism, child labor, pesticides, clear cutting, domestic violence and war. And we are finding ways to create enough together through thrive, resilience, “buy local” and permaculture groups and by creating sustainable economies through cooperative farming, sharing networks, creative commons and time banking. All of these organically arising collectives awaken the abundance of the human heart - a force powerful enough to save the world.
In the book, I discuss other major places Enough is discovered that are just as rich and significant as these. But the point is this. Once we have expanded beyond the old “Never Enough” worldview, the genie is out of the bottle. We realize Never Enough was a myth. Our consciousness can no longer be held in check. We cannot unlearn what we know. This is why I say enough is inevitable, unstoppable and happening right now. This is why I am absolutely certain our future is a blessed Enough Story, not a senseless tragedy.
5. In practical terms, how would the Enough Story change the economy?
Well, first of all, it would alter how we individually feel about what is enough. But perhaps not in the way that you might think. I am not talking about forced austerity or selfless sacrifice for the greater good. We've been taught to believe we are not enough until we achieve certain rather generic benchmarks of success. The problem is these benchmarks are not right for everyone. In other words, your enough is not my enough. We are actually prevented from pursuing what would bring us the most happiness and well-being because we are so occupied pursuing these other things. And many of these things are extremely costly to our pocketbooks, schedules and psyches, and to the planet as well. Figuring out our enough could actually lead to the elimination of a great deal of unconscious consumption and senseless waste. And the planet would benefit.
In the Never Enough Story, we are disconnected from the life force that runs through us and connects us to the universe and to one another. We try to fill that void by buying things that will make us feel attractive and acceptable, essentially trying to buy our enoughness from the things available outside of us. In other words, when we lose our sense of belonging, we tend to fill our lives up with belongings. For example, we are seeing a crisis in confidence in two of the most "rock solid" benchmarks of success - college and home ownership. The Never Enough Story is that we are not successful until we own a home, and a college degree leads to a well-paying job that ensures our future enoughness forever, right? The problem is that we are painfully learning that “sure bets” such as college and home ownership don’t always lead to the dreams we intend, but instead may lead to a nightmare of mountains of debt.
Enough is about accurately determining what your enough is, and doing so by deeply listening to and honoring yourself. Listening can be done individually, as a family, as a community and as a country. Enough includes what sustains health, wellbeing and happiness. It does not include making up for a perceived deficit in your own inner sense of enoughness. This is why the first sentence in the Enough Message is “I am enough.” This is the starting point for the Enough shift. When we deeply realize we were born enough and always have been enough, we know that the universe could not be enough without us. We recover our sense of belonging and self-love. Much of the burden on the planet would be instantly removed if we simply realized the futility of trying to fill the empty space inside with things.
The commons movement is an example of another Enough economic impact. The idea is that resources upon which everyone relies such as clean water and clean air should be protected and held in common for everyone, for all species and for future generations. Never Enough thinking has allowed companies to receive value without paying value forward or giving value back. Companies have taken more than enough for themselves without ensuring enough for the community and enough for the planet. In nature, this would be analogous to cancer that kills the organism of which it is a part. Hoarding, greed, exploitation and environmental destruction are simply not supported or tolerated in an Enough worldview. What flourish are communities who strive to become self-sufficient and connected to one another and the land. What flourish are the arts, collaborative advances in science, health and technology, and personal freedoms to pursue one’s passions and give one’s gifts.
6. What impact do you hope this book will have?
When I first started to realize all the places the Enough dynamic was independently arising, it took my breath away. I was seeing a meta-pattern. How could I have not noticed it before? As a futurist and a systems theorist, I love that magical moment when a pattern just seemingly pops into view, but then you realize it had actually been there for awhile. It’s as if you had suddenly discovered new eyes. Patterns affirm that there is order arising from the seeming chaos, the breakthrough amid the breakdown. And what I see is that a very significant number of us are already deeply and passionately engaged in the breakthrough, in finding enough in the places we had forgotten to look previously. So my deepest desire is that the book helps more people to see the breakthrough more clearly because in order to have the courage to align with it, we must see it first. I hope the book will be used to create an awareness of humanity's common call, an impulse to evolve in a certain direction. We may have different callings, but they have an underlying coherence that moves us from the depravity of separation, disempowerment and lack into a new sense of connection, meaning, oneness and sufficiency.
My greatest hope is that activists, NGO’s and community groups feel as supported, validated and bolstered by the Enough Message as I do. I perceive it as a message that says “Yes! Great job! Keep going! You are on track!” We are right to say “enough is enough” to any practices that create suffering and lack or harm the environment. We are right to abide by the indigenous wisdom to “know where your water is” ( We have enough) and “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for” (we are enough). We are right to invent new ways of sharing and cooperation to ensure that more people get enough. We are right to think long-term and to protect the commons for future generations. All of these represent an evolutionary shift in orientation towards enough.
7. How did you come to this work?
I have been a stay at home mom and serial volunteer for eighteen years, not exactly the credentials you'd expect. I earned a Masters in Transformational Learning in 1996. I was interested in feminine forms of leadership, particularly the transformative power of wisdom circles and was involved in starting three different women’s circle organizations, work that led to me being invited to the United Nations twice to advocate for circle leadership. I had been doing my inner spiritual work for decades and my work felt meaningful. But since I was doing it as a volunteer, it wasn't fully valued in the world. I had met a lot of people engaged in serving the greater good who shared my perception that we somehow didn't feel like we were enough. However, most of the volunteer work I saw being done was actually more important to the fate of the planet and our communities than much of the paid work I'd seen. So the design of our economy around Never Enough principles has actually been making less meaningful work appear to be the more important than it actually is, while distracting us from the real work. It slows planetary progress down a great deal when our passion to serve the greater good - our enoughness expressing itself - is discounted or ignored. We need to begin to trust that the work we are most drawn to is the right work.
When I got the Enough Message, it came with a tremendous amount of energy. It took a while to feel I was enough to do anything with it, let alone to write a book about it - and this doubt lingered on despite the first draft pouring out of me in 13 weeks. Over the next two and a half years, though, I went through what I refer to as several “enough initiations,” challenges that every time presented me with a choice of whether to align with enough or never enough in my own thinking and behavior. These reset my priorities and my habits. I wrote a second draft and was accepted for publication from my dream publisher on my first try – without an agent. With my old Never Enough mindset, such a thing would not have been possible.
I now see that my personal initiations were part of a larger pattern, a fractal of the New Story's design. I can confidently say the Enough Message has transformed my life. I am doing work I love that is in alignment with my life’s purpose. I have enough of everything – love, community, health, balance, money and meaning. The Enough Message can’t help but fulfill us while it fulfills the needs of our communities and the planet.
8. You say you believe it is necessary to give a name to the emerging paradigm shift. Why is that? And you believe that name is Enough. Why?
When we look for the pockets of aliveness in the world today, there is clearly an abundance of transformative work going on. In this information-rich world, it is easy to get caught up in the details of what makes each of these efforts unique, whether they have their roots in science, technology, spirituality, health, economics or governance. New theme words are emerging from these various efforts such as sustainability, wellness, quantum, resiliency, occupy, green, sacred economics, interbeing, spiritual activism.
But there is a feeling that diversification is no longer the name of the game and we are moving towards some kind of felt sense of unity within diversity now. Since this is the case, there is a growing hunger for some kind of simple, unitive language that will help us to know we are all working together. One day It occurred to me that if I am to write a book about one word, I should probably know that word's etymology. I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised. The original meaning in 13th century Old English of enough was, "Together we rise." I suppose that is when it really hit me that perhaps Enough could be the right word.
It was always my impression that the Enough Message came from Divine Source, the zero point field, the collective consciousness to aid in this time of great planetary transition. As I worked with it, I was incredibly surprised at all the dimensions it aptly described, whether inner or outer, personal or collective, how we turn away from the old story, and what we are actually called to create in the new story. It started to seem like a master key that speaks to many domains all at once. How this could possibly be the case really started to make sense when I made the connection: Enough is the core intention of the most successful story ever known, the universe's 13.8 year old success story.
9. Is your work similar to that of any other author? If so, whose?
I very much admire the work of several authors. Many are credited in the Enough book as being responsible for some key aspect of the organic arising of the planetary Enough Story: Bruce Lipton and Jill Bolte Taylor for new understandings about consciousness and brain science, Margaret Wheatley and Lynne McTaggart for the intersection of new science, consciousness and leadership, Frances Moore Lappe, Joanna Macy and Bill McKibben for ecospirituality. Elisabet Sahtouris for storytelling and evolutionary biology, Jean Shinoda Bolen, Llewelyn Vaughan Lee, Andrew Harvey and Riane Eisler for archetypal mythology and feminine forms of leadership, Charles Eisenstein and James O’Dea for sacred economics and sacred activism, Jean Houston, Barbara Marx Hubbard and Marianne Williamson as mentors for conscious evolution. Each of them eloquently express the story of wholeness, of integrating many disciplines into a totally new understanding of the world. I have also been influenced at key times in my life by Rumi, the Hopi Indians and Eckhart Tolle. Enough aims at creating a unified cosmology, a mission the book humbly shares with authors such as Brian Swimme, David C. Korten, Matthew Fox, Rupert Sheldrake, Gregory Bateson and Irvin Lazlo. The Enough Message differs from their work in that it is an intuitively received message rather than academic or scientific in origin. I lean heavily on their extensive expertise and scholarship for concrete proof that the Enough Message is true.
10. Who is this book for?
It is for anyone who wants enough for themselves, their family, friends, community and for the earth. It is for anyone serving in a role as an activist, leader, artist, healer, parent, friend or facilitator who wants to participate in catalyzing an emerging age of greater prosperity, love, healing, well-being connection and equality. It is for all people, but perhaps most particularly for women, minorities and any previously oppressed members of our human family who have borne the brunt of being told they are not enough. "What you have been told about yourself has been an egregious lie. You were born enough and have always been enough. We are enough for this very time in history. We can do this. We really can can change the world. in fact, we are doing it already." That's the message I really hope people will take to heart from this book.
In her new
book, Enough! How to Liberate Yourself and Remake the World with Just One Word, Laurie McCammon,
MS makes an intriguing claim: lack is
not real. How could this be when we see
evidence everywhere of dwindling natural resources, species extinction and
“I am not saying there are no limits,” she says, “What I am saying is that most of the lack we see around us is the result of human choices and that such conditions do not exist naturally. Because the lack we see is a result of man-made choices, we shouldn’t accept it as ‘just the way things are.’ We should challenge the premise that keeps lack perpetually in place. Homo sapiens appears to be the only species on earth who lives according to this “Never Enough” myth. Wouldn’t you think we’d pay attention to how the other 8.7 million species successfully create healthy, sustainable ecosystems that work for everyone without depleting the systems upon which everyone relies?”
McCammon points out that if you examine human biology, you will find a nervous system designed to cope with short bursts of stress, but not one built to sustain a perpetual state of heightened alert. “And yet, isn’t this exactly what is perpetrated by politicians, mainstream media and advertising who would have us believe we don’t have enough and aren’t enough, or that if we are one of the fortunate ones to have enough, we should be afraid of losing it any minute?” Whole industries, she points out, such as luxury goods, insurance, and cosmetics are built upon this idea that we aren’t enough as we are. “We never seem to look back over our decisions to buy more stuff and ask if those decisions ever brought us the feelings of adequacy, belonging and accomplishment we expected them to. “ She believes that this insatiable longing to feel enough results in all kinds of hoarding and over-consumption, which greatly adds to the material burden humans place on the planet. She puts it this way: “When we lose our sense of belonging, we tend to fill our lives up with belongings.”
“What we tend to forget is that what one person needs to be happy is actually very different than what another person needs to be happy. In other words, my enough is not your enough. But when we get caught up in a consumerist society, we are apt to believe we must check off the same list of standardized boxes in order to prove we are enough. This list becomes a story that rules our lives, creating achievement anxiety, shame and guilt. In truth, we could do without a great deal and never experience it as a sense of lack. And conversely, when we have too much, there is a palpable stress burden placed upon us. In essence, we've traded a portion of our freedom for the material objects we possess, whether it is labor we’ve invested to buy the item in the first place, or labor and time required to maintain what we’ve bought. Then there is the emotional burden of worrying about our things – are they safe, in good working order, might someone damage or steal them from us, is there a better, updated version we should have instead?” McCammon believes that the stress burden of things greatly complicates our lives and distracts us further from cultivating the real source of happiness - an inner sense of enoughness. "Enoughness comes from a felt sense of our own beingness, a sense of belonging to a universe which could not possibly be enough without us. Many things in the material world may leave us craving and wanting more, but most of us are absolutely starving for meaning - to know that we really do matter. What I've found is that the universe is absolutely barraging us with subtle messages that we do matter, each and every one of us."
To understand how, when and why we forgot our "enough" roots, McCammon turns to anthropology, mythology and systems theory. According to McCammon, the “Never Enough Paradigm” began more than 5,000 years ago when humanity entered the Agrarian Era. This monumental shift in perspective involved moving away from total dependence on nature to take on the mantel of “masters of the material realm.” The progression of the “Never Enough Paradigm” accelerated in the industrial and digital ages, representing the height of intellectual prowess and physical efficiency, but crowded out the heart and acknowledgement of the spiritual and the sacred. Everything, including humans and the earth became objects in the drive to have more. We no longer oriented towards our depths. All that mattered was at the surface, in what we do or have.
“The brain is very fond of breaking things into parts for analysis and manipulation, but it isn’t as good at perceiving subtle relationships and nuances, cause and effect at a distance, or whole systems dynamics," says McCammon. The human capacity to perceive interrelationships and holism, she claims, is essential to survival of our species, and yet it has been greatly devalued in our society. "It is not optional. Intuition and subtle reception aren't fluff. They are cutting-edge. Both capacities are absolutely essential to keeping up with today’s science and technology which are huddled right now in the realms of the subtle, interconnected and intangible, such as quantum physics, scalar waves, wireless networks, and cloud-based technologies.” McCammon suggests that all we need to do is look at our cutting edge technologies and ask how they reflect the corresponding frontier of human consciousness. "It is always a mirror and a metaphor for the inner work we need to do to move forward. A greater awareness of subtle interrelatedness is where we are going. This means beingness. This means spirit. This means essence. It is unstoppable and inevitable.” To attune to the subtle, Laurie suggests that we explore something referred to as heart intelligence, which has been proven by science to be real and measurable. Heart intelligence is inherent and has always been evidenced in indigenous and feminine ways of perceiving. “The idea is that we are becoming more whole again in our ability to perceive. This means mind and heart. Yin and yang. Material and spirit. We’ve done our work on testing the intellect for 5,000 years. Now it is time to focus on the heart.“
McCammon shows how the last 5,000 years correspond to humanity’s adolescent stage of growth. “This means that we aren’t, as we have assumed, at the pinnacle or adulthood of our species. We have yet to enter adulthood as a species, which is characterized by taking responsibility for our actions and fulfilling our desire to widen our affiliation from ‘me’ (humans) to ‘we’(all beings on earth). We have been exploring tribal mentality so far in quite an adolescent way. Although the tribe has expanded over time from smaller to bigger – from family to village, to religious or political affiliation, to country - it doesn’t become truly mature until it reflects an ability to think globally and universally.” The motivation and action to fuel global change arise naturally from an expansion in what McCammon calls affiliative consciousness. Affiliative consciousness is incorporating more “other” as “we,” a departure from separation consciousness. “This is why it is pretty useless to try to convince someone whose primary consciousness is himself, his job or his family’s economic well-being that he should care about what his employer is doing to contribute to global warming. He is not a bad person. He just can’t see beyond his own affiliative bubble right now.” says McCammon. “But what this also tells us is if you are someone who deeply cares about the earth or other species or regions of the globe, you are already embodying the expanded consciousness. You are the proof of the ripening maturity of our species. You are proof that humanity’s capacity for solving the earth’s most threatening and complex problems is amid a great transformation and expansion. And the good news is as this circle of affiliation expands, so does humanity's own felt sense of security, joy, empowerment, purpose and fulfillment - automatically.”
What does this have to do with the book’s primary focus, “enough”? “If we look at all the forms of suffering in the world today, we find a common cause, the belief in lack or “Never Enough.” McCammon says, “The imperative to get more is so reinforced from an early age that we are blind to how it distorts everything from our self-esteem to our relationships to our consumer and career choices, leading to the waste, exploitation and hoarding so prevalent on our planet today. We have mistakenly believed that 'survival of the fittest' was our primary orientation as human beings, and this false idea with no basis in science unfortunately has lingered on, taking on benign or overly-positive names such as competition, achievement, winning, success and growth. Self-preservation and individualism became the name of the game, driven by the belief that we were not born enough, so must prove it over and over again through what we do or own. All this keeps us from being available to participate in the bigger game, which is participating in our planetary ecosystem in a way that sustains enough for ourselves, our communities and our planet.”
To illustrate how ingrained the idea of “Never Enough” is in our thinking, McCammon poses a question to her readers, “If I were to ask if you are enough, what would you say? Most people would conclude, ‘No, I am not enough yet. I haven’t achieved all I want to yet. I have goals I haven’t reached, so no, I’m not enough.’ But here’s the trick. I didn’t ask if you have enough or if you have done enough. I asked you if you are enough. Do you see how quickly we skip over beingness? A newborn baby hasn’t achieved or owned anything, but would you say he is enough? Does a newborn need to do anything to be deserving of his family’s or society’s love and care? Of course not. We need to cultivate a sense of our own beingness, deservedness, worthiness and preciousness, a sense that we are enough because we are here. Then we find we do not need our achievements and our possessions to do the heavy lifting for us. We can relax and focus on doing what we really love to do. Really, the stories we carry about not being enough cause us so much deep suffering, so much 'stuckness' and disempowerment. All this suffering is optional, not mandatory. Do we really love our 'I'm not enough' story so much that we won't let go of it? Nature builds in an aversion or pain response for a reason - to guide us to safety, health and well-being."
Enough! How to Liberate Yourself and Remake the World with Just One Word, is a book whose optimistic tone is a refreshing departure from the bleak, urgent arguments posed by so many that it is almost too late to correct the damage humans have done, an assumption she states is only true if we remain in the adolescent “Never Enough” consciousness. “And this is not going to happen. We are part of a much larger evolutionary flow, a design which is based on the dynamic of enough, and we are waking up to it, realizing we have outgrown the Never Enough Story. Exponentially more intelligence, creativity and courage becomes available to us when we embrace that we, too, are part of the universe’s big Enough design. We are enough to address every man-made problem, and to do it quickly and efficiently together.” The latter chapters of Enough are devoted to highlighting the global explosion of independent social movements and green businesses that McCammon says are proof that the Enough awakening is already happening in earnest. All of this is to say that she wholeheartedly believes that "An Enough future is inevitable. The shift is happening now. And each and every one of us are enough to be part of it."