Miriam Feder home


Magnificent enough

11 d Larco maskLast week my favorite Yogi murmured “magnificent” in her charge to us. I knew that word. It used to sweep along my sides and tame my frazzled edges like some frizz-control hair product. Whatever happened to magnificent? When did it fly off my radar screen of hard-won wisdom?

In my 40s, in the workshops and psychological exfoliation I undertook to help me cope with disillusionment and divorce, I found my spirit rise to the call of magnificence. I discovered it while lying on the floor in guided meditation at a group-grope EST-like weekend retreat. “Magnificent” would still my demons and rouse my spirit. I’d hear its silent charge and twist strings of energy into the rope of my life, high-octane fuel for another day’s exploration. It came back again and again—mostly in meditation— as the kernel I’d find in my chi, my marrow, my mitochondria.

Somewhere along the line, I left-off whispering this anthem. Somewhere along the line, I still found ground and rope and confidence without the specific intonation. Somewhere in my 50s, “enough” crept into my understanding. When I was writing my musical The Only Way Out is Through in 2009, I remember noticing “enough” land on the page. “Are you still the word? Let me try you out again.”

And then “magnificent” slid into the yoga studio. That’s when I realized that “enough” had taken its space. I wondered if perhaps the two were in conflict. Had I aimed for magnificence in my 40s and now, a decade or so later, enough was good enough? Was that a downgrade?

No, I soon realized. I had leaned on “magnificent” to overthrow the suppression I’d adopted almost inadvertently in the two decades or so that had come before. This suppression seemed to be part of the bargains I’d struck with career, marriage, and external definitions and directions. Suddenly, other parts of me required unfolding and oxygen. I had to explore right here inside, even though visas and maps were tricky to come by. “Magnificent” helped me stretch and circulate blood through numbed extremities and circumvented pathways. I released into magnificence.

And “enough?” It wasn’t a settling, but a claiming. It included all that magnificence. I hope to continue unfolding much as the ocean fractures into waves. Each step of the way, so long as I can still be knocked off balance by a word murmured in a room, by a line in a book, or an actor’s mouth, or a singer’s lyric, so long as my blood spurts faster when the tango strokes my ear, and my muscles stretch each morning as I wake, so long as I receive all these many messages and more, I am enough. Always have been—always will be. I’m bigger, smaller, essence-tual: through less achievement and more possibility; through less possibility and more simplicity. Magnificent. Enough.