Less is More
My de-cluttering campaign has been a liberating process. The guest room was my starting point, after being forced to replace its carpet. It took time and effort to remove all its furniture, have the carpet replaced and then move everything back. But the end result was deeply satisfying. Our old heavy dressing table was replaced with a light modern snazzy piece of furniture. Nice! Our large bookcase isn’t overflowing with three layers of books anymore. Great! The carpet is soft and plush and our feet sink into it. Yay!
My food cupboard badly needed an overhaul. I threw out various packets of food dated as far back as….umm…let me see…. or perhaps I’d better not shock you. I can assure you though that I've done a good job. My writer’s workspace has been beautifully re-organized. I now know where to find a document when I need it. Isn’t that progress? My bathroom cupboard was previously crammed full of bottles of all shapes and sizes. I disliked getting anything from inside. Now, I admire it whenever I peek in. Yes, the grand result of my decluttering campaign has been a glad sense of accomplishment.
I've also learnt the truth of what I've suspected all along. Less is more. Did you know that? In our modern fast paced commercially driven world – it’s easy to think that more is more. That we need numerous acquisitions in order to be happy. That the busier we are, the better our life gets. That the more people we are in touch with all of the time, the more meaningful it becomes. But is that true? What do you think?
I've had to constantly pull myself back from the fast flowing current of more that is abounding in today’s world, because it’s very easy to get sucked in. Take modern day communication for instance. There’s texting, emailing, face booking, tweeting for a start. Pinterest, Skype, Viber, Whatsapp and more. Much more. Mobile phones make life easier in but also much busier. Everyone is connected. And with all that instant communication 24/7, the pace of life can get pretty hectic and stressful. Whew!
Don’t get me wrong. I love communicating. I splashed merrily into the computer age, way back in 1981, like a dolphin cruising through the Murray. I’m glad I'm alive today; not one hundred years ago. But the truth is that we cannot be in constant contact with everyone in our lives all of the time. Sometimes we need to take a few steps back in order to breathe. To taste life as it’s meant to be tasted. Yes, less is more. I used to pride myself on replying every email I received. Not any more. I try to answer most of them and do answer those that are important. But there are times when my in box is bulging with 150 emails and I give up. I've even stopped stressing about it. I usually respond to shorter emails much faster than longer ones. So in matters of length too, less is often more. As a writer, I have so much to learn. I am not economical enough with my words. Writers know that when it comes to communicating effectively, less is more and good writers are able to follow through.
Just as white space between words makes the page easy to read – the spaces in our home add to the quality of our lives, don’t they? When my wardrobe is full – it’s often difficult to find what I need. But when there are gaps between my clothes I can grab the blouse I want in a jiffy. The same applies for everything else. Life gets more enjoyable when there’s less ‘stuff’ around me.
Having plenty of choice in what we buy and consume is a privilege. But you know – the more choice there is – the more decisions that need to be made and the more complex and confusing life becomes. Don’t you think? Being busy is a modern day malady. It’s a good thing when our busyness means we are helping others or taking care of our families. But there are times I need to stop to decide if everything I do is essential. I need free time on a regular basis. To unwind. To smell the roses. To spend with God
Over the past 15 years, God’s been calling me to an intimate walk with Him. If my schedule is crammed full – there won’t be sufficient time for God in it. It means I might need to say ‘no’ to the good, in order to make time for the better and the best.
Is my diary full? Do I have time to stop to help someone in need?
Am I stressed? What can I can cut from my life to improve its quality?
Do I have too much stuff? What can I get rid of?
Do I spread myself too thin? Do I have time to build deep relationships?
What’s God calling me to – with my possessions, use of time, relationships, schedule, and life itself?
Would I call my life an Abundant Life?
Oh! By the way, don’t you think this blog is far too long?
Note to self: Less is More.