Less is more — on the outside and the inside

"We are all inventors, each sailing on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I really think less is more in both our exterior and interior lives. Less physical stuff in our homes provides space and perspective to see the sky, the floor and the horizon. And the same can be said for our interior selves. By stripping away the insecurities, angers, prejudices and fears we carry around with us, we then allow ourselves to experience life more fully, vividly and completely.

Someone I know recently mentioned "I'd like to be one of those people who simply takes a towel to the beach and doesn't need a bunch of other stuff (book, iPod, water, etc.). And I thought, "What a great idea!" And then it occurred to me, "Why not be that way through life?" To be a person who can get through life with only what he needs at that moment, not forecasting what he might need, what he might possibly want, what he could potentially require in any of a million various circumstances that could or could not happen at any given moment. Walking on the beach, I see how much "stuff" people need and how much they leave behind in their wake…cases of beer, chairs, coolers, towels, clothes, wrappers, umbrellas, food, etc.  And I think "You're only here for a few hours, how much do you need?" But I can be the same way in so many other areas of my life. How much validation do I need, how much security do I need, how much control do I need, how much of "my plans" do I need to have accomplished on "my time frame" in order to feel "at ease with Life"?

It's through the stripping away of both the physical needs of cooler, lunch buffet and energy drink; as well as the stripping away of the mental and emotional needs of old angers, insecurities, control points and fears that we can truly be in the moment and realize how much dialog we have with Life and how much control we have in the creation of our lives. A part of ourselves immediately says "Wait, of course I need a hat, sunscreen, water, a book…and what if get bored!?! I'll need my iPod and a frisbee and who knows what else. I want to have a good time, so I need to pack up a bunch of stuff to make sure I have a good time… And what if it rains…or mosquitoes bite…or I need an aspirin?!?" Well, what if?

You could be just as easily hit by a bus on your way to the beach and then all you packing and planning would have been for naught because it would have been better for you to stay at home on that particular day. The point is not that we shouldn't plan or pack, but there is a point where planning exceeds the moment. The moment becomes about planning, not about experiencing the moment. We can't truly be in the moment, if we have to plan ahead for it — because we'll never know what potential moment we might be having. Thus planning becomes a chronic condition in order to stave off some undesired experience, which in the end might be the best thing in the world of us to experience. Sitting at the beach with an iPod means we have to listen to the waves or worse — someone else's music. And if we can't simply be at peace listening to the waves how can we sit in our homes alone with no one about to validate us? And if we can't get beyond someone else's music to hear the music of the waves, how can we keep our composure in traffic or when our nerves are jangled and confusion reigns in our lives?

Conscious planning is more simple than we think. We could go to a buffet and eat until we vomit, but then we would have to realize "I'm out of control." We all know people who cram their homes with so much stuff that we leave thinking "Why do they need five sets of dinnerware for twelve?" Packing luggage is a wonderful analogy for Life — the more we pack into our travel bag, the heavier the baggage is that we have to carry around with us. The more requirements, expectations and cautions we pack into our lives, the more weight we strap onto ourselves and thus the more we wait for life to become a pleasurable experience for ourselves. I invite you to become a day tripper through Life…

© Rich See 2010