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Monday, January 3, 2011

Less Stuff – More Experiences!


Although I’m not one for making a long list of New Year’s resolutions, I am excited by the fresh start that a new year presents.  Some people choose a few key words or a phrase to serve as a guiding light for the coming twelve months, and now feels like the perfect time to give that a try. Diving into 2011 is particularly exciting for me because I’m finally setting into motion a plan that’s been percolating in my brain for many months now. I’ve even whittled it down into four words: 

Less Stuff – 
More Experiences!

What will this look like? My vision includes me letting go of lots and lots of stuff.  Letting go of old ideas and outdated ways of thinking, letting go of mountains of material belongings that I don’t need, want or use anymore, letting go of old habits that don’t serve me well, and perhaps even a few relationships and commitments that I’ve outgrown.

This notion of “letting go” absolutely thrills me because in the process of releasing all of the previously mentioned stuff, I believe that I’ll gain 


I actually feel lighter and a little tingly just thinking about having less and doing more.

This isn’t some plan I hatched while drinking copious amounts of bubbly on New Year’s Eve.  As I said, I’ve been contemplating making a few radical changes in my life for some time now. I’ve been discussing the idea with family and friends, reading books, blogs and articles, watching movies, listening to lectures and journaling the “what ifs” like crazy. Serendipity keeps flashing me two big thumbs up and a Cheshire cat grin the more I move in this new direction. A few examples:

While orchestrating my CD release/fundraiser last March, a serendipitous reconnection with Debbie Stinson of MakeMyLifeSimplified (Thanks
Facebook!) introduced me to the wonderful world of professional organizing and helped me tame the beast that was my office closet while learning valuable decluttering techniques.  I attended a teleconference offered by the wise and witty Jennifer Louden and  the topic turned out to be “Enough.” My dear friend, fellow certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach, inspiring writer, photographer, (and so much more) Laura Hegfield shared a beautiful blog entry entitled, “Taming The Desire Dragon” discussing the desire we sometimes have to “do it all,” even when we know this isn’t possible. In different ways, the same message keeps showing up again and again – 

Less Stuff – More Experiences! 
Less “I Have To” – More “I Get To!”

I’m currently gaining even more inspiration by reading two great books:  

Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin

I realize the idea of simplifying life and letting go of things is not a totally original idea. Real Simple has been on the stands for more than a decade. (Though I’ve always found the title ironic. I mean, does Martha Stewart ever do anything that doesn’t take at least a dozen steps and one utensil or tool that you’re sure not to own to complete?) Hell, even Oprah is giving up her wildly famous TV show after 25 years. (Though it doesn’t seem that starting up your very own behemoth TV channel (OWN) would necessarily simplify things.) Founder of Facebook and TIME Magazine’s person of the year, Mark Zuckerberg, lists “Eliminating Desire” as one of his interests on his own Facebook page.  Although he’s made billions with his game-changing social media platform, he drives an Acura and rents a modest house a few blocks from work. But enough of famous people I don’t know personally.

For me less stuff means less to pay for, less to store, less to take care of and less to keep up with – which all adds up to more time.  Less things on my calendar means more time to read, to make music, to bake, to meditate, to create, to write, to entertain, to walk by the lake, to be with friends and family, to think, to just simply be.

Singing & Having Fun at the Double J Hacienda
photo by John Parrish

2011 is just beginning. I feel as if I’m embarking on a journey to some new exotic destination.  Although I don’t know exactly what this year holds, I do know that it will involve Less Stuff – More Experiences and a whole new way of creatively living life that I’m thrilled to begin!

All the best from 2011 creative oasis to yours,


Jennifer said...

i'm with you! forget the kick ass best ever year - I want a be me, enjoy myself, have fun, do good year! so glad I got to meet you last year.

(creativeoasiscoach) said...

Thanks, Jennifer! I'm looking forward to the inspiration and support I know I'll find in your words throughout 2011!

LauraX said...

Jill I am so honored that you mentioned me and linked to my blog...One of my best friend's in the world is Naomi Less also a singer songwriter...and the joke is that Less is more...of course! And it is absolutely true! The more old stuff we release the more open we are to receive something we need right now.

May this New Year be spacious and light for you my friend:)

(creativeoasiscoach) said...

I'd love to hear Naomi's music! Thank you for your (as always) perfect words for the New Year!

Sara Rae said...

YES! You have defined what I couldn't quite put my finger on as to what I wanted 2011 to mean to me. Thank you for the inspiration and all the best to you on your commitment to Less Stuff-More Experiences!

(creativeoasiscoach) said...

Thanks, Sara Rae! It will be nice to have company on this journey into the new year and a new way of living!

Debbie said...

I am so grateful that serendipity brought us together this year! I will share your article not because you mention me, but because it is such an inspiration. You have reminded me to always be on the look out for ways to let go of the unnecessary.
Keep on keeping it simple for 2011!
Debbie Stinson (http://www.MakeMyLifeSimplified.com)

Debbie said...

So glad that serendipity brought us together this year. Your blog is a fabulous reminder to me to wake up every morning in 2011 releasing the unnecessary and welcome new opportunities and possibilities. You are such an inspiration in my life!
Keep on keeping it simple in 2011!

Sue Mitchell said...

How liberating! There are so many reasons to keep things simple. The hardest part, of course, is releasing the old habits and ideas, but the payoff is also the biggest when you do.

I knew my husband was The One when for my first birthday we had together, he gave me a homemade IOU-style coupon that said, "UOU 1 Life Experience - Reusable, Redeemable Any Time" after I'd mentioned that I was getting rid of extraneous stuff in my life. :)

(creativeoasiscoach) said...

Love your husband's gift, Sue! That is truly priceless and I'm adding to my list for future present giving! :)

Ashley Thames Brown said...

Amen Amen Amen!!! Thank you for the heartfelt and consistent inspiration!!! xoxo!!!

Mark Crotty said...

I often use the metaphor of a bucket. If it's full and you want room for something else, what is going to give to make room?

Inspiring post. Thanks.

(creativeoasiscoach) said...

The bucket metaphor is wonderful! Thanks for sharing.