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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  Letting go of old ideas and outdated ways of thinking, letting go of mountains of material belongings that I don’t need, want or use anymore, letting go of old habits that don’t serve me well, and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,