My Simple Life 5

Last Month’s post ended with the suggestion that some time be spent considering those things which move you toward contentment within your own life. Hopefully you’ve made some effort to do that since it inextricably relates to what is to come.

I think it’s fairly safe to say that among those answers was; wealth, freedom, love, happiness, and influence. At least in the larger abstract sense. My own list was composed of freedom, simplicity, peacefulness, and meaning. keep in mind here that what your list consists of, and how you define those things, is entirely personal and there is no requirement that your definition be the same as anyone else’s.

What I found when I did this was that I still had many scattered remnants from past versions of myself that didn’t serve a useful purpose for the person I was working to become. There were mental fragments in the form of attitudes, and conclusions, held over from paths that didn’t take me where I wanted to go, as well as associated physical items. My mental picture was of a tangled, unruly mass of loose ends that lead nowhere and obscured the way to the things I’d decided were truly important. From discussions with others this seems a quite common observation.

Logically, spending time, money, and effort on things which have become obstacles is foolishly counter-productive, yet here is where we first find ourselves in conflict with what passes for common sense in today’s culture. At every turn we’re brought face-to- face with massive, grossly overstated advertising intent on convincing us that contentment can be found in products sold by the parasitic corporations represented.

It may help to understand that corporations are not inherently bad. With the advancement of industrial civilization and urbanization of a larger percentage of the population retail marketing evolved from need based sales into desire based sales. Envision a corporation as an organic entity that feeds on currency and the increasing use of advertising is nothing more than an act of self-preservation. Corporations, after all, exist only on paper instruments, but they are made up of people. viewing them as organic entities is reasonably accurate, and what organic entity lacks a survival imperative?

Though not necessarily bad, they do engage in distracting us from an important truth. The possessions you own are not the cause of happiness, often they are a burden that must be set down in order to pursue the things that genuinely do increase our happiness.

What worked the best for me in practice was to start small. I filled a couple of bags with general bric-a-brac. Inexpensive impulse purchases which I neither had a need for nor a strong connection to. Getting rid of these dust collectors proved to be the easiest part of the process. Next were the things I’d held onto because I liked them despite not having a use for them. These items tend to have some monetary value and can be sold or donated. It’s worthwhile to take your time and be sure that in the heat of the moment you don’t get rid of anything that adds value to your life. Inadvertently causing yourself regret halts progress as you learn to deal with the emotion or are compelled to re-purchase the item.

As you begin to untie your own Gordian knot, don’t rush. It’s perfectly OK to change your mind about something several times before making a final decision. In short order you should start to feel pleasantly unburdened as you create space in your house as well as your head.


Courteous, concise comments relating to the post’s subject matter are always welcome.