Going Less

I used to think that having more is going to make me happy someday. There was a destination in my head that I have to traverse and when I’ve grabbed all the shiny bits, when I feel brilliant and equipped, then I’m going to be content.

But then I was merely pacifying myself, waiting for life to hand me a pre-packaged deal of happiness. It was a dangerous wait. On the surface it felt okay but deep down it was wedging my soul.

Seeking for an answer, I found less.

Wanting less saved me. It taught me how to be breathe, slow down and become intentional. It’s been a slow process of seeing things afresh, understanding myself, finding my values, and honoring the life I want. It was freeing.

Lately I’ve been amused with a really simple thought: we just don’t need much.

Food, space, solitude, relationships, dreams – a potential recipe for a good, humble life. We curate our own empire, be intentional with our choices, and that’s it.

Still, we could be smudging the already perfect view by seeking more. Obvious adequacy doesn’t mean we’ll settle.

We want more and we want it now. Ubiquitous ads corner us to grab the latest shiny thing, our newsfeed prescribes an awesome place to feel grand, a new pacifier entices us to squander our days, people tell us to hustle here and there. Our sanity, stretched in a million directions.

The world demands us to chase and do more but often without the purest of intention. This ultimately leaves us distracted and discontented.

We sacrifice a lot – money, time, energy, health, and potential – but the excess doesn’t make us any better. We thought we’re gaining relevance by filling our lives with stuff and occupying our short lifetime with eternal ‘busyness.’ But we’re only doing more to our own detriment, neither happy nor content, but lost and decaying inside.

What if life, right now, is pulling us back to less? Today, it urges us to pause, breathe, look at the rear-view, and to ask ourselves whether the superfluous is ever going to make us complete.

Maybe all we need right now is to stop the chasing. To hear that we can live, right at this moment, a meaningful life. That despite the world shouting otherwise, our kind voice says we have always been enough.

Embracing the vital few can be simple. It can be difficult but worth it.

  1. Go outside. Perhaps it’s the morning radiance or the breeze that whispers to us yet another day to breathe, a chance to make the day count. It’s no wonder we go back to nature to realign our life. It’s cellular.
  2. Make your body your empire. While food entertains our palate, its primary role is to nourish us. By being mindful of the fact that we only have one body, and that if it genuinely matters to us, then we won’t wait forever to reclaim our health. We understand that if we invest now, if we embrace movement and eat with intention, we can ask more from ourselves later.
  3. Set a clean space. A humble space can spark us to be our most authentic selves. It’s when we’re left to our own devices that we light up and shine the most.
  4. Practice serenity. Quiet moments forge intimacy with our thoughts, giving us our much needed time to slow down and reflect. When we take the time to literally pause, it allows us to see the fine details of our lives, syncing our bodies to sync with our intentions. Also, solitude, even in short bursts, rekindles our curiosity and appreciation of the wonders around us.
  5. Forge deep connections. Studies reveal that all we ever need to live a long, fulfilling life is to cultivate meaningful relationships. Creating deep connections entails us to relinquish those that are toxic, and surround ourselves, instead, with kindred spirits who’s going to understand, celebrate and support us throughout.
  6. Mold yourself. We might have annoyed ourselves many times with the million-dollar question: what on earth are we here for? We might have an inkling of what we want to explore, maybe it’s in progress, or maybe we know it so well but we’re too afraid to do it. Whichever the case, working on a craft, a mission, requires vision and serious thinking. If we’re mad about reaching our potential – if we want our lives to matter – then we’ll have to make peace with our fears by just doing it anyway. By being patient with our craft each day, we’re doing ourselves and the world a huge favor.

We are, more than we realize, primed to live with purpose. Reclaiming our life begins by viscerally examining how we’re spending our lives. There are no finish lines – only a direction towards where we want to go.

A life of being more, once we’ve identified the small essentials, doesn’t need much.