The world is hectic, busy, over-flowing. There are so many people, so many cars, so much industry, so much commotion, and a never-ending supply of new mind-blowing technology. Because of this constant motion and noise, simplification has become a rare touchstone but one that is hard to achieve and maintain. We are attached to our ‘stuff’. We’ve been programmed to want physical, mental and emotional stimulation and without it, ‘simple’ can feel like boredom. Are you ready for the Less is More movement in your life?
A few people have even turned ‘simplification’ into a profession because it is beyond the grasp of many to simplify their own lives. They are hooked by the need for more, to buy more, to stockpile more, and the need to do more. The need to BE more has even crept subtly into our religious and spiritual practices.
We are sold the ‘more’ factor from every direction. Magazine ads, television commercials, counsellors, life coaches, well-meaning friends and family. If life isn’t working smoothly, try something new. Add more and stir.
As another new year rolls in, there is an additional focus on achieving more things. Resolutions are made, most often to do more, exercise more, get out more, stay home more. Or maybe it is to have more abundance in the new year; that new car, a new bike, a new home, a new partner.
Occasionally, we want less. Mainly that is about wanting to weigh less, to drink less, to swear less. So, in these instances, it is easy to see that less is more. Less weight, less alcohol, less swearing all lead to more quality in our life.
Regular readers to my blog will be aware that I’m endlessly curious about our evolutionary progress as a species. My petri dish is exploration and experimentation with my own evolution.
Up until very recently, I’ve been under the mistaken impression that in order to become more evolved, I needed to become more – more something. Although I was never quite sure what I needed to become more of, it was along the lines of more enlightened or more consciously present.
But the other day the ‘Less is More’ movement landed squarely in the realm of possibilities. I realised that I didn’t need to become more, I needed to become less.
Say, less judgemental, for example. I understand this requires extra attention to catch those judgements as they are occurring. Judgements are so ingrained they are almost habitual. Our reactions to certain people or events are ‘just there’ so that we don’t even see them as judgements. We think they are a fact. We think they are reality. But they might not be. I have to be consciously present in my body with my awareness antenna switched on to catch a judgement and put it under the microscope for closer analysis. This is a game I play with myself, trying to spot the judgement and then going in for a closer look. But I miss them because they are so much a part of the way I look at the world. It is great spending time with my daughter because she will always pull me up if she suspects I’ve made a judgement somewhere. I wish more people would pick me up on this – so here’s an open invitation to my friends: “Help me see my judgements. Point them out to me if you see them and I don’t. Thanks.”
The last couple of years, I’ve been working on having less of Self. I know that sounds crazy because we can’t get rid of our self, really, or we may as well be dead, eh! But what I’m practising is not coming from a position of ‘What’s in it for me?’ or ‘What’s the easiest thing for me?’
Instead I’m looking to see what the group needs (not the self). Ok, the group needs me to do an interview, write a blog, record a video or whatever it is. If I had a good reason not to do it, that’s one thing. But if I don’t have a reason, other than I don’t feel like it, then I’ll do it for the greater good. And ideally, I can find the joy in that because the group does not need me to be grumpy about it!
What is best for the neighbourhood? I don’t want that tree cut down because it blocks the afternoon sun from beating down on my front door. But the neighbours need it cut down because it is breaking up their driveway. Can I let the tree be removed without fuming or complaining about my personal inconvenience?
What evolves the community? Is it me having more individuality or is it me having less self?
With less physical, mental and emotional clutter in our lives, it’s just possible that we may have more quality in our day to day experiences and interactions with others.
So, as we wave goodbye to another year, actually another decade, we find ourselves face to face with 2020. Are you ready to step into the ‘Less is More’ movement? What are you ready to have less of in your life that will bring you more quality? Less drama? Less reaction? Less ______ (you fill in the blank.)
Gayle Cue loves writing about life, reflecting on every day miracles and pondering on the big picture.
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