I used to be a make-and-stick-to-a-schedule kind of gal and I let my work define my life. Then I had my little girl.

Sure, my 5-year old led me to my boundaries at times, but I listened to those people who said, ‘You have to make your children fit with your lifestyle!’ and I resisted change. I resisted even though such advice holds limited value when your brand of application leaves you sleepless and juggling four different ‘jobs’, all without feeling any closer to your family and friends.

When my now 2-year old came along, this way of life stopped working for me. My acceptance of the change was gradual and painful; I was essentially a Yes person, then I learned that I could say No to stuff. And then I re-learned how to say Yes to other, meaningful stuff too. This taught me how to be discerning and open at the same time, and it’s a lesson the universe continues to teach me.

With these two voting words, we hold incredible power, whether we apply them thoughfully or not. With their use, we can control what we do with our dollars and time, create demand for goods and services at a micro and macro level, and shape our little people’s minds and values. It really is that simple. How we live comes down to where we place each yes and no.

So nearly 16% into the year and late into this post, and because I left new year’s resolutions by the wayside years ago, I introduce my theme for 2014: Enough.

I lived 2013 as my year of Be.Love.Do. It was full of happenings and challenges that helped me to direct my energies into family, food and garden. Being present, loving and action-oriented remains important to me, so I still strive to embed 2013’s theme into my daily life.

So what of 2014? I am swaying towards anti-consumerism, more community sharing of knowledge and skills, and more DIY everything. I am frustrated by the brand new, bigger, better, faster, louder, throw-away-anything-that-isn’t-perfect attitude of moredom that I notice exploding in a slow motion Matrix moment around me. I don’t understand a lot of things about the way the Western world does (or doesn’t) work, including its emphasis on economic/quantitative growth above qualitative factors.

Renowned scientist and environmental spokesperson Vandana Shiva shared some of her thoughts on growth in a 2012 Dumbo Feather interview that gave me a moment of crystal clarity when I read [1]:

…this whole ‘making growth the objective,’ which is nothing but the destruction of society and nature, has to end. To reclaim sanity, you begin with what is available to you.

This reinforces my recurring questions (among others) of:

  • Why do we have this narrow focus on growth?
  • Why don’t we take notes from other cultures and place greater value on happiness, elders and sufficiency than monetary gain, power and greed?
  • Why don’t we apply more learnings from artisan traditions that emphasise quality and specialty of product above expansion?

And yet. All this said, I am pragmatic enough to realise that a free market helps me to source the quality of life that I feel my family needs. The world’s current state of resource exploitation and trade enables me to afford a decent computer, service a reliable and comfortable car, write at night, and source wholefoods at a reasonable price.

When it comes to nutrition, I try to make continually better choices — part of my own kaizen — involving decisions surrounding local vs overseas or interstate suppliers, organic vs chemical-laden, fair trade vs unknown labour sources. This is a personal, iterative process and constant learning journey.

On another note, Shiva is credited in the same Dumbo Feather interview as saying [1]:

The solution to climate problems of instability and predictability, as well as the food crisis, is ecological agriculture. Feed the soil with organic matter, it’ll allow you to go through a drought. It’ll also reduce emissions. It’ll give you more food.

I just love her! The passion that Shiva exudes is an inspiration in itself, and her work on sustainability takes us back to basic rights and needs, by way of seed saving, biodiversity and soil health, generosity and compassion.

I was also impressed by the ABC Radio National’s recent interview with Dr Murieann Irish, in a podcast which stressed the importance of rest for the brain and memory [2]. As a society, we seem to value busyness [3,4] to the exception of downtime and daydreaming, yet the latter is a crucial contributor to creativity, social aptitude, decision-making and mental health. When is our amount of activity enough? Why do so many of us feel the need to keep up with other people’s levels of stress and exhaustion?

Enough is an ideal that matches well with my emerging philosophy of living whole and wabu-sabi (or perfectly imperfect). It’s why I aim to make every food item I regularly use from scratch at least once, and it’s why I value the material things in my life more if they have past lives. It’s why I love the garden beds my husband made for me from repurposed materials; they have so far given us a rustic aesthetic as well as tomatoes, greens and herbs.

For me, Enough is also about making the most of what we have, modest living and easy pleasures. Simple things like enjoying my garden and the natural environment around me. Like understanding the art that goes into making artisan foods. Like focusing on giving my children and husband a loving and secure home. Like loving myself sufficiently to get the right amount of sleep.

When it comes to blog posts, I’m going to wait for the right combination of time and inspiration to hit, because that synergy means that I can give you more useful words.

And, when it comes to making a plan, I am taking a leaf out of my own project management workbook and looking at what each scheduled item really means for the big picture. Chances are, unless it relates to my passions, my family or my friends, it’s movable or removable.

[So it seems that, with my definition of Enough, comes a list of commitments and desires akin to resolutions. Maybe old habits die harder than I thought.]

On that note, I hope you enjoy your 2014! May it bring you just Enough.

H 🙂


  1. Pittman, P. (2012) “Vandana Shiva is Mother Earth” on Dumbo Feather. Available online via http://www.dumbofeather.com/conversation/vandana-shiva-is-mother-earth/ [last accessed: 15 February 2014].
  2. ABC Radio National (2013) “The mind at rest” podcast on ABC Radio National’s ‘All in the Mind’ program. Available online via http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/allinthemind/the-mind-at-rest/5141356 [last accessed: 16 February 2014].
  3. Wilson, L. (2013) “When Did It Become Cool To Be Busy?” on MindBodyGreen. Available online via http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-9740/when-did-it-become-cool-to-be-busy.html [last accessed: 16 February 2014].
  4. Kreider, T. (2012) “The Busy Trap” on The New York Times. Available online via http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/30/the-busy-trap/?_php=true&_type=blogs&ref=opinion&_r=0 [last accessed: 16 February 2014].


  1. I really enjoyed this post, Thank you.
    As Krishnamurti said, “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
    The veggie beds look great!


    • Thanks so much, Melissa. I’m glad you liked it.

      I appreciate the Krishnamurti quote – and I just discovered that yesterday marked the 28th anniversary of the death of this great thinker.

      H 🙂


  2. That is such wise philosophy Hannah. What you say about enough reminds me of a story that was once sent to me by a friend.

    I did a search on the internet and found that story to share with you now (below). You are right, enough is all we need to be happy. Contentment is such a wonderful gift – even when we perhaps dont have quite enough, it means we can be happy with what we have been blessed with.

    I love your garden. Justin has done a wonderful job. You have a good man, beautiful children and a happy and loving home. Priceless blessings. I am very happy for you.

    Love you always,


    “I wish you enough!” By Bob Perks Contact Bob http://www.bobperks.com/wish.htm I never really thought that I’d spend as much time in airports as I do. I don’t know why. I always wanted to be famous and that would mean lots of travel. But I’m not famous, yet I do see more than my share of airports. I love them and I hate them. I love them because of the people I get to watch. But they are also the same reason why I hate airports. It all comes down to “hello” and “goodbye.”I must have mentioned this a few times while writing my stories for you. I have great difficulties with saying goodbye. Even as I write this I am experiencing that pounding sensation in my heart. If I am watching such a scene in a movie I am affected so much that I need to sit up and take a few deep breaths. So when faced with a challenge in my life I have been known to go to our local airport and watch people say goodbye. I figure nothing that is happening to me at the time could be as bad as having to say goodbye. Watching people cling to each other, crying, and holding each other in that last embrace makes me appreciate what I have even more. Seeing them finally pull apart, extending their arms until the tips of their fingers are the last to let go, is an image that stays forefront in my mind throughout the day. On one of my recent business trips, when I arrived at the counter to check in, the woman said, “How are you today?” I replied, “I am missing my wife already and I haven’t even said goodbye.” She then looked at my ticket and began to ask, “How long will you…Oh, my God. You will only be gone three days!” We all laughed. My problem was I still had to say goodbye. But I learn from goodbye moments, too. Recently I overheard a father and daughter in their last moments together. They had announced her departure and standing near the security gate, they hugged and he said, “I love you. I wish you enough.” She in turn said, “Daddy, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Daddy.” They kissed and she left. He walked over toward the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see he wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on his privacy, but he welcomed me in by asking, “Did you ever say goodbye to someone knowing it would be forever?” “Yes, I have,” I replied. Saying that brought back memories I had of expressing my love and appreciation for all my Dad had done for me. Recognizing that his days were limited, I took the time to tell him face to face how much he meant to me. So I knew what this man experiencing. “Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever goodbye?” I asked. “I am old and she lives much too far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is, the next trip back would be for my funeral,” he said. “When you were saying goodbye I heard you say, “I wish you enough.” May I ask what that means?” He began to smile. “That’s a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone.” He paused for a moment and looking up as if trying to remember it in detail, he smiled even more.”When we said ‘I wish you enough,’ we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them,” he continued and then turning toward me he shared the following as if he were reciting it from memory. “I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright. I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more. I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive. I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger. I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting. I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess. I wish enough “Hello’s” to get you through the final “Goodbye.” He then began to sob and walked away. My friends, I wish you enough! by Bob Perks

    On 17/02/14 3:35 AM, “A Very Foodly Diary” wrote:

    > Hannah posted: ” I used to be a make-and-stick-to-a-schedule kind of gal and I > let my work define my life. Then I had my little girl. Sure, my 5-year old led > me to my boundaries at times, but I listened to those people who said, ‘You > have to make your children fit ” >


  3. I so totally agree. It is a lesson I keep being taught with my little one. I was easy to “brush over” putting unimportant things first when I was pre-child…. but now those unimportant things take time away from my number one priority…. from the most important childhood that I can contribute to.
    And I love your 2013 mantra too.
    Much love. xoxo


  4. Hannah this is so beautifully written and on point. I saw Dr Shiva speak in 2012 in Melbourne at a Home Ec conference and she was mesmerising. Wonderfuk post. Have a fabulous 2014, Zoe


  5. Living most of the time in a small village in Indonesia, it is a shock to return to Australia and into the cult of busyness. One of the amazing changes we have noticed in the last few years is that the standard hello greeting is now “how ya goin’, you been busy?” or “you got a busy weekend lined up?”. It always takes people by surprise when I answer, “No, not really, I try not to be too busy.” It has evolved to be so engrained in the lifestyle that people don’t even seem to notice it any more; as if they don’t have a choice. Too long in Australia and I feel myself being sucked into the vortex and I have to mindfully recite “I am enough, I have enough, I do enough.” Where exactly is everyone trying to get to anyway? Keep up the great posts and being in the joy of letting go.


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