#MUNIonThis: We can make more space for the things we really want in life when we get rid of the things we don’t.
The irony is that living with less can actually require more effort, especially when we live by the defaults of a society of excess, acquisition and saying yes to everything.
But making room for less doesn’t equate to living a life of a less happiness or fulfillment. Contrary to this, getting rid of the non-essentials, allow us to dive deeper and explore further into the that which we really want to go big on.
Mindful living is about giving ourselves the space to think and ask what is truly essential? And how will the things I do today impact myself, society and the planet?
In the summer of 2012, I was having my quadrennial life crisis as then CEO of a retail design company I had started with a friend. I finally came to terms with the reality that what I had poured more than 3 years of my life into wasn’t really part of the life I wanted to create for myself. Shit.
But having thought about this long and hard, capping off the years of rumination with a 10 week backpacking trip with no more than 10 kilos of stuff, I finally put it out there, talked to my then team, and I felt the relief you feel after a really good poo.
And while one might think it was like an Eat, Pray, Love kind of journey, I don’t credit where I am today because of that trip alone. I don’t believe you need to go through such lengths to start reevaluating what truly brings meaning or purpose to you. Here’s some things I did to cut the crap out of my life that might help you with yours too:
Start with the physical. Purge your home or room of non-essentials that cloud your murky mind. Do a garage sale. Make some money. Get rid of physical and emotional baggage. It’s awesome. Go on a coconut cleanse while you’re at it.
Define your ideal life. And say NO to things that don’t add to that. Life is a series of trade-offs. When you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else. Jot down ten concrete things you would like to be / have in your ideal life (whether in career, relationships, health, etc.), pit them against each other, and see which would be in your top 5. Then before you say yes to anything in life, ask yourself, “Does this decision help support the top 5 things to contribute to my ideal life?” If the answer is no, let it go.
Be conscious of your consumption. Avoid adding junk back in, whether in the form of unnecessary stuff that adds to clutter in your home / expenses you don’t need to spend, or the media (articles, movies, shows) that doesn’t really help make you a more productive (relative term) person in this world. Go ahead and binge watch shows you love, or occasionally buy something, but only if these contribute to improving yourself or your well-being.
Spend time with people who help make you better. They say that we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most of our time with. This makes it all the more important that we surround yourself with people you can learn and grow with, instead of people who bring us down with their acceptance of mediocrity orinordinate amounts of negativity. Find your tribe, support each other, and enrich each other’s lives.
Our answers to what our ideal life is like won’t all be the same, because we were brought up in different ways, in different surroundings, and the things we hold dear may be different.
But I urge you today, to start purging your life of the shitty stuff, saying no to things that don’t move your ideal world forward, and continue chipping away the non-essentials until you live a life of your own purposeful design, not society’s defaults.
Find your tribe at MUNI’s upcoming events: • MUNI Market on May 21, 11AM-9PM at Solenad 3, Nuvali in Sta. Rosa, Laguna • MUNI Meetup on Motivation on June 9, 6PM-9PM at A Space, Makati • THRIVE Camp on June 24-26 at Lotus Pod, Laguna
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jen Horn is a wanderer, writer, and community-builder for good. She is the founder and CEO of MUNI, a community for mindful living. She empowers people to think critically, to ask questions about how they shop, eat and travel, to live more socially and environmentally mindful lives. She writes and speaks about psychology, wellness and the environment, and loves diving and bike-commuting. Follow her at @nomadmanager or visit her blog at http://www.nomadmanager.com.