We live in the society of “more.” More money, more house, more travel, more things. More. It’s always been better to have more, but it no longer means what you used to believe.
A few years ago, I started to exercise. Not the biking and walking that I always loved, but I joined a gym. At first, I counted down that 30-minute workout like a pallbearer walking out with the heavy coffin. Then, as I got used to it, I started to really appreciate the gym. It was fancy, and had many amenities. I started staying longer, using the indoor pool and the sauna. For a while, I worked out as much as I could because I liked the effects it had on my body and mind. I felt healthy and super energetic. But it came with a price.
Some of my favorite activities, like reading or morning coffee with friends, took a backseat to putting in hours at the fancy gym. But working out for less time scared me, silly as it sounds, because I worried that less time in the gym would slow my new energy level?
When my kids started complaining, and hubby was upset that I was coming into the office later each day, I knew I had to make a change. I found I could do more with less at the gym. I found that my body appreciated the extra rest, and eventually I dropped my membership. I went back to mindful, early AM walks, and I use the small fitness center in my complex from time to time. I found a balance, and my life felt easier. I discovered that in many areas of my life, less is more. Focusing on the necessary, the positive, and the bare essentials release you. There’s a freedom to less. So mindful readers, how do you minimize? By taking a look at these three important parts of your life.
- Relationships: Growing up, we all compared with our friends how many toys we had, how many books we read, how many good grades we received. Now, decades later, the habit of thinking “more” is better can be discarded. The people we spend time with become a big part of our lives. But that doesn’t mean they necessarily should. You have to choose. “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” (Jim Rohn) If that’s true, what kind of people should you surround yourself with? Just some food for thought folks.
- Material Stuff: I am frugal, thrifty, cheap – however you want to say it. And, I admit it. I watch every penny, and yet I still have a lot of “stuff.” I have a method I use when shopping to try and keep it to minimum. When in doubt, NO. If I go home empty handed, and after a few days I find myself thinking about the item, I will go back and pick it up. If it sold, then it wasn’t meant to be mine. Over time, this method spread to the items I already have, not just the ones I hoped to purchase. I purged my closets. Seriously. I gave away some things that would be more useful to people in need. The items we hang onto tend to pile up over time, but the purpose of that is not always clear. What are you looking for with those things?: happiness, status, or something else?
- Expectations: For the majority of my life, I gave in to my emotions. I stumbled through life at the whim of my erratic, artistic mood swings. Often, I spent days feeling resentful, angry or sad. I never considered the reason behind these emotions. I let them run free in my heart and mind.
Whether the situation is big or small, each of us decides just how much to suffer for it. Facing the same situation, we each decide how to feel in that situation. I figured out over time, that the biggest reason I let my emotions run wild was because I imagined life to be a certain way. I hadn’t realized my own expectations, and I was a disaster when reality didn’t match up.
This is where mindfulness comes in. You knew I had to get to it somehow, stop acting so surprised! By wiping our minds of how life should play out, begin to allow yourselves to accept each moment as it comes. For better or for worse. The calmness and control you’ll feel are extraordinary. None of it is easy, but life is worth it. I struggle with mindfulness and living in the present moment every day, but that struggle makes all the difference.
Stay Motivated and Caffeinated!😉☕