I hope you declared your independence from clutter and complication at work, home, and in health last week on July 4 when this blog launched a 26-week marathon to help you question what encumbers you.
The late and wonderful Wendy Wasserstein wrote, “Life is too glorious and too sadly random for any self-improvement to-do list to conquer.” What wisdom from a wonderful playwright who died too early at the age of 56. When you simplesize, you need fewer “to-do”s, because you eliminate questionable activities and things in the first place. Here’s a quick look at 3 ‘A’ categories – using the alphabet as a guide.
Acquisition: when in doubt, leave it out
I love to say when in doubt leave it out – but only for nonsense – not for what elevates my life. It works for anything from wasteful meetings – to leaving out a bit more fried food from your diet. When you acquire anything, a place must be found for it:
– time in your busy life
– space in your arteries or an inch in your waistline
– a shelf or drawer or entire room in your house
– a report that you do on a regular schedule at work
If you want a life of purpose, fun, and health, stop acquiring things that aren’t serving YOU. If you’re not sure about doing or buying something, sleep on it. You might find it’s not necessary in the first place. Test it.
Here’s an idea in reverse of acquisition: accumulate space!! My mother used to say Be still – instead of Shut up. I’m not sure we four girls were much more quiet, but being still for a bit seemed easier than trying to stop making noise. Instead of trying to stop something negative, think of accumulating something desirable – such as an extra hour or extra space in your clothes.
See how few words I accumulated in this section? The space is restful 🙂
Abundance: all you have is all you need
There’s a wonderful observation by the architect Zaha Hadid: Quality is not in the quality of the material – but in the quality of the space. Space is enough, and it doesn’t have to be filled. Having more often weighs us down instead of lifting us. Can we alter the idea of what abundance is?
I want a cleaner house. Can I find abundance in what’s clean by taking off my shoes at the door? It works for Asians and other cultures. Why don’t more of us do it? We would need fewer cleaning products, fewer brooms and vacuum cleaners, fewer hours to plug them in and make them go.
1. When you begin to buy, acquire, or do something this week, stop. Ask what is really necessary to your enhancement or fulfillment?
2. Instead, take 5 minutes – only 5 – and collect unused things for donating.
3. Write this headline on a piece of paper – or on your smart device: All I have is all I need. Then write 1 wonderful thank-you for something specific for this week.
Have fun with this – and see you next week for ‘B’ ideas and tips.