What happens when you experiment with less?

Over the last couple of weeks I have unsubscribed from most of the newsletters I received into my inbox. This means that when I choose to look for outside information I get it by looking at my Facebook page or on ‘bloglovin’. This is working out well as I am choosing to look at the ideas of others rather than them hitting my email inbox like a tidal wave each morning.

I’m now reading ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying’ by Marie Kondo alongside ‘Daring Greatly’ by Brené Brown. So far I have cleared out my wardrobe, which was not overwhelming in any case and also cleared out my books, by deciding which ones bring me joy. I’ve also learnt how to fold clothes so my drawer looks like something in Mrs Slocome’s glove compartment/ like a Gap store before the customers are let in to ruffle up all the clothes. Marie says that when you do a big thorough declutter in the way she describes it mitigates the need for the constant puttering tidying that often distracts from the real work that needs to get done. Tidying is like the Facebook feed of the real world. It is never ending and there is always something to distract you. I am aware that I need to approach this decluttering with a kindness rather than a quest for perfection. From reading ‘Daring Greatly,’ I learn about human vulnerability and how it affects every one of us, whether we admit it or not. I wonder whether having less will make me feel more vulnerable or whether I will feel ultimately stronger as I will depend less on outside things to define who I am.

I started to think about what becomes more important when we decide to replace things with other sources of value. When I attended ‘Alive in Berlin’ Chris Guillebeau was asked about the choice between spending money on material things like a beautiful car and the cost of an airline flight, the benefit of which would soon be over, as soon as the flight was complete. Chris said that it was a choice he made. He had decided that for him, experiences were more important than possessions.

Make two life lists. In the first decide what you would spend money on if material possessions were the focus, and then write a list for what you would spend your money on if material possessions were not the focus. What difference can you feel between the two?

In the Martha Beck training (and in Martha’s book ‘Finding Your Own North Star) I learnt about tuning into the body compass. Instead of listening to what your head has to say about choices you can listen to your body. Martha Beck coaches (or coaches in training, like me) can take you through an exercise that helps you figure out exactly how you react in your body to negative and positive things in your life. Martha says that once you know this you can play your life like a game of warmer and colder. For now it is enough to know whether something feels ‘shackles on,’ (imprisoning, and tense) or ‘shackles off’ (like freedom and guilt free chocolate).

Which of the lists you made feels more shackles off? Knowing that what do you need to be doing more of? Knowing that are you heading towards the goals you want or towards the goals you think you ought to want?

When I think about this and when I see how easy it is to discard some material possessions I realise that beyond a certain level of being fortunate (as it is painful to not have basic needs met) then experiences and connection matter much more than inanimate objects.