|The Colors of Paradise|
“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”
I have to admit, my enthusiasm for this overall project is waning. It may be a combination of work overload or general life overload – both of which is can be a good thing sometimes, but not as a full time status. I am finding it harder to concentrate on the daily, weekly, and monthly deliberate focus this project requires, as my brain is fuller than ever of unceasing work demands (which I am indeed grateful for) and larger personal goals (which will not be manifested for several months, but still demand regular attention).
Anyway, pressing on –I actually had a really good plan for September several months ago when I bought a plane ticket for Kauai, and decided to call it “Living on an Island” – fun, right? Along with my other half, we were going to take a full 30 days (!) and live (remotely) and work (and play), and soak up as much of this paradisiacal (yes, it’s a real word) island as possible. Didn’t happen. Life, as it is prone to do, had different plans for us. The month turned into two (still wonderful) weeks on Kauai by myself, then a week in Virginia to be with my other half and his family for his father’s funeral, then a last busy week of catching up on work and other activities at home. This month totally flew by – can you relate?
How it Went
As the month obviously took its own course, but what came to me throughout were observations on living with, and being satisfied with, less in all kinds of ways. After spending most of the time outside my home, without all my stuff and the supposed “comfort” that all that stuff brings people – clothes, books, décor, furniture, knick-knacks, whatever! - I found I just didn’t need the usual things around me to feel comfortable, I adjusted to the other new spaces accordingly, and explored more outdoors as well. It was truly lightening for my spirit, and I came home the last week wanting to dispose of more and more of the stuff around here that I know I don’t need or want, but is rather just weighing me down. This feeling came to light especially going through other people’s stuff as part of both trips this month– like closets full and pantries full and boxes full of all kinds of household items: extra hairdryers, irons and ironing boards, dozens of towels and other linens, kitchen gadgets, huge amounts of food (much of it expired), outdated paperwork, books and music, photos and memorabilia, and so much more…it was all a bit overwhelming at times – why the attraction to having so many things?
Are we a measure of all we collect and accumulate in our lifetimes? Or rather are we made of our experiences and memories? I prefer the latter. I am now committed to simplifying, downsizing, and minimizing even more than I already try to do, not only for myself but for anyone left behind who might need to pick up or clean up after me – it is just not fair to them.
|Fresh produce from the Kukuiula Farmers Market|
Even lightening up on food was a part of this journey – I found that being out of my usual eating patterns, with less of the usual food around at home was good for losing five pounds, without much effort. I simply found myself craving unprocessed healthy foods even more than usual, and being more conscious about eating less of the food that I know does not serve me well. I more easily dismissed the unhealthy foods, because I thought more about the fact that I just don’t need them weighing me down.
So yes, the month veered into totally unexpected territory, but it was one that I am truly appreciative of, for all I learned along the way about living with less. And although this blog is only “lightly” read among all the thousands of other blogs out there, your comments are always welcome and appreciated. Thank you for reading. Onward, just three more months to go.