Petition for the Day: May you know (and be grateful for) your Limits.

A few days ago I posted this on facebook but I think it needs a repeat:

“Unlimited Economic Growth. This is the pet idea of the Party of Hardheaded Realists. That unlimited growth can be accomplished with limited materials and limited intelligence, only shows the unlimited courage and self-confidence of these Great Minds. That unlimited economic growth implies unlimited consumption, which in turn implies unlimited pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth, only makes the prospect even more unlimited.” Wendell Berry from Sex, Economy, Freedom, & Community

My petition for today:

May we all be limited. May we know our limitations and be grateful for them, for they are the boundaries which keep us honest, impeccable, and full of integrity-in our work, our lives, our relationships, and our hearts.

True confession: Being a mom and running your own amazing company is hard work. Being a mom is hard. Running a company is hard. Doing both…hard! Also, awesome, beautiful, blessed-absolutely yes, but sometimes on the interweb I think the beauty can be overemphasized and the difficulties minimized. I am ridiculously blessed to be able to work from home, bring in great money, and be with my 18 month old joy and light, of that there is no question.

But it is also a challenge. Like when I look on various social networking sites and see that my colleagues can be so much more active-because their early mornings and late evenings are not monopolized by baby stuff, or when I know that I could grow my business even bigger, faster, more profitably if I did not have to allocate so much time a day to, you know, rearing a child. 

Snatching moments when they appear, noticing that many of the wonderful women who preach and teach about marketing, business savvy, and all the rest don’t have children, returning to blog posts after being interrupted for feeding, napping, diaper changing-whatever-and struggling to pick up the thread of thought like so many bristle blocks on the living room floor. Epiphanies happen on the walk to baby day at the library, in the pediatrician’s office, projects of power and prosperity are dreamed up while taking out the diaper trash and can’t be written down until the wee hours of morning when everyone is finally, hopefully, asleep.

But having a business, a child, a thriving family simply accentuates something that we all-men, women, moms or not have to deal with-limitations. My time is limited-having a baby just makes it more clear-but it was true before and it will be true once he is, God willing, all grown up. My energy is limited-again-always has been, always will be. What I know is that these limits are not something to be overcome, transcended, broken through-they are present in my life as reminders that there are natural limits all the time. No one eco-system can support all forms of life.  Trees, plants, animals, water sources-typically grow within a limited space with limited food supply and limited support-this is a healthy ethic. When they are unbounded or unlimited they choke out other species, the flood, they catch fire.

Growing monocultures like corn year after year, season after season is an example of unlimited growth-and you know what? It kills. It kills the soil, it kills diversity, it kills the life of a small farm and the small scale economy that is natural and needed for the farm to survive. Unlimited growth is seen in corporations-that pollute, deceive, and concern themselves only with the bottom line. Unlimited growth might mean I make more money, have more clients, get to spend time on this social media place or that-but it doesn’t make my life better-it doesn’t make me a better person, it certainly doesn’t make me a better mother, and I know its not good for business either.

We don’t like thinking about our limits. Listen to our political discourse and you know its true-unlimited money, unlimited health care, unlimited military spending, unlimited education, unlimited war mongering, unlimited jobs and on, and on-both sides—we like expansiveness, we have a can-do attitude, where there’s a will there’s a way and if that road is closed we will just make a new one. I think some of this is good-it comes out of our Democratic belief that circumstance should not be a limiting factor on who you can be and what you can achieve, all minority groups have benefited from it in part and we have collectively accomplished great things.

But when we look to nature we see limits-and we may find how richly life thrives when limits are embraced and accepted. We spend so much time wanting to grow, develop, progress, make more, do more, see more that we forget to stand strongly where we are right now in this moment, after all, it could be our last. That’s the ultimate limit-Death-and what a sorry day it will be if we ever overcome it-for its presence is what makes life blessed and precious-it is by knowing intimately our limits that we find true expansion, good work, shining presence.

So…

May we all be limited. May we know our limitations and be grateful for them, for they are the boundaries which keep us honest, impeccable, and full of integrity-in our work, our lives, our relationships, and our hearts.

21 responses to “Petition for the Day: May you know (and be grateful for) your Limits.

  1. Brilliant and heartfelt – this is such an important message. One of the things that I teach in my yoga classes is this: being stiff isn’t as bad as you think – it means you have a limit. Uber flexible people get hurt more easily because they don’t know their limits.
    :)

  2. Miss Bri on said:

    That is so true Theresa-I love taking lessons from yoga and applying it to life. I am really flexible in my hips and I always have to be careful not to go too far there-its like I have no natural check!

  3. Miss Bri on said:

    Love you Laura Gates!

  4. “For everything there is a season…” Just cause we can’t do it all at once doesn’t mean we won’t do it all eventually! Enjoy the season you are in now – that’s where your power is right now. That’s my philosophy ;)

    Yours,
    Megan

  5. Miss Bri on said:

    Megan-I love it! I think you are so right-where you are is where your power is-amen!

  6. Beautiful words. They resonate deeply with me Love.

    It would seem online that push, push, push, act, act, act- is the way but alas I always return to a place of stillness. Ultimately this is the way to me, to truly reach others and for Spirit to align itself.

    Much love to you. Thank you for your wisdom.
    (hugs)
    SArah

  7. Love Theresa’s comment about yoga and limits, and I love this post. I get SO consumed with the *wanting* to be UNlimited that I forget how limits help hold my world together. I needed this reminder today (smack in the middle of the kids’ fall break, when I’m desperate to implement some exciting new things in my business…..) <3

  8. Miss Bri on said:

    Sarah-I love the theme of spirit aligning itself-that is so core to my work and beliefs-beautiful, thank you.

  9. Miss Bri on said:

    Jessica-I am so glad that it spoke to you-we ALL need to reminded of this from time to time-its something that its very tempting to forget or overlook!

  10. Love this post Bri. It reminds me of this book I’m reading about co-ops, and the author is talking about how the philosophy of constant growth that’s so common among business isn’t necessary or valid for co-ops – especially because constant growth can lead to a dilution of the things that make your business different. But you take that and make it much more applicable on a larger life scale as well. Kudos.

  11. Quite lovely and inspiring! I can totally relate to the whole mom thing and the envy of those husband-funded career women who seem to have unlimited resources. But I am ever-so-grateful for the grass roots, organic business I’ve created with my own two hands and my own bank account. It makes me who I am and I am enough. ♥

  12. Gorgeous Bri.. I think this might be my favorite piece of yours.. ever. I can’t imagine having my business being online when my babies were babies..with all of the hyper crazy demands and hoops to jump through. Actually I thank God that I wasn’t faced with those kinds of challenges. But aside from that we forget about the beauty and essential nature of limits, boundaries, seasons, and how they protect and nurture and define and keep us in balance…I just loved every word of this..I will reread this again. Beautiful..

    Much love and every blessing,
    Lisa/Intuitivebody

  13. Sammi Johnson on said:

    I love your post. I am thankful for my limitations… if it weren’t for them, what else would I have to look forward to? That’s a wonderful realization for today, thank you Bri! xoxo

  14. I always love reading your posts my friend!! They are so inspiring and usually hit me right over the head!! Thank you and keep it up :)

  15. Miss Bri on said:

    That’s so true Sammi-our limitations do give us so much to look forward to and aspire towards-so glad you liked it!

  16. Miss Bri on said:

    Thank you Amy!

  17. Miss Bri on said:

    Thank you Lisa-somedays I feel like its a cakewalk and other days I feel like its the 10 of Wands tarot card-trudging uphill with a bunch of sticks on my back for added weight and effort-but at the end of the day the work is always worth it!

  18. Miss Bri on said:

    Michelle, that sounds like such an awesome book! Need to get the title for you so that I can add to my reading list!

  19. Miss Bri on said:

    So true Julie-grassroots and handmade=all your very own!

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