“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo Da Vinci
TADA! I made you wonder..."Er, more is less? I have always heard that less is more." Well my friends, I am going to help you understand my play on words with this phlegmatic cliche.
Obviously, as the lust for material possession increases tremendously throughout our Westernized culture, we become a selfish people of expectant entitlement. Each generation expects a little more than the previous. Then, we arrive at present day youth. With society at our fingertips, and possibly in front of our very own eyes, a growing need for immediate satisfaction arises. The wants become greedier, the expectations become more demanding, and the apathy for the well-being of another become overwhelming pronounced. Technology has created nations of zombies. Current communication has been limited and completely deplorable. Little sprites of dialogue beginning with, "Where you at, girl" to "I been there before!" to "You done been to work?" You get the picture.
Unfortunately, it is not merely the instance gratification of a text, instagram comment, or tweet that continues to hinder the growth of our society, but the constant need to accept these interruptions during the most thought-provoking moments in every day activities. Schools have accepted cellphone incorporation in "good faith", however, the temptation and distraction is constantly engrossing the attention span of even the most brilliantly loyal student. Furthermore, the exponential growth in instant gratification is impacting the safety of not only the self, by the passerby as well. If I must answer a text while in my car, I wait until I am stopped at the nearest light/stop sign or pull over in the nearest parking lot. The sickening feelings surround your heart when you're driving down the road and the car in the other lane begins to slowly move over in your own. You slam on your horn, only to see the person at the wheel suddenly look up at the road, sometimes in shock, but most of the time stoically.
Ok, so I did not commence writing a blog about the scariness of instant gratification - per say - but more because the youth of today, from extremely early on to well into their early 20s, engross themselves in some sort of technology. Whether it is a video game console, computer game, television, cellphone/smartphone, IPOD, IPAD, ITOUCH, IDON'TKNOW...eyes are always glued to a screen. And really, now that I think about it, most adult eyes are as well. *Sigh*
I do admit I allow my son on my computer for a short window when he doesn't have a chance to go to school...but he plays on www.ABCMouse.com, therefore, I don't mind finding a small window for educational material.
And you're probably thinking, "You're the one blogging." Aye. I'm guilty of my screen time. However, I have come to learn in my many struggles to simplify my life, that it's not worth my time to keep up with everyone's business. Presently, I even struggle with the time I spend trying to promote myself and my business; which in this day and age, you have to in order to find work. There aren't many face to face or phone contact. Dismally, though, this comes during times that I would rather be painting, writing, or reading. I try to never spend time in front of my phone/computer during my son's waking hours...only when he is in bed. Now, I don't feel I am hopelessly involved with my screen times. I'm like a Jack-In-The-Box, you never know when I am going to pop out and get in your face with another post (nothing too creepy though).
Therefore, let me introduce my newest revelation: More is Less. The more gadgets, the more "likes" and "comments", the more money, the more junk, the more busy, the more complaints, the more clutter...the less time spent on being thankful for what you have and need, the less positive interactions you are going to have with the world around you, the less perfect your life will seem after realizing your material items can be broken, burned, stolen, and...here's the kicker, replaced. The minion says, "WHHHHHAAAATTTT???" Instead of worrying about things that can be replaced, why not focus more on things that can't. Time and people are a good way to start.
Of course there are things that you could use "more" of: time, knowledge, love, happiness...paint. My apologies, I had to throw the last one in, however, I hope you continue to follow. When I recite the phrase: More is Less, I'm not speaking about the delicate aspects of life, I'm speaking of the materialistic, tangible objects we clutter our lives with every time we spend money. (You can hear it too? Madonna's Material Girl melody? Yeah, I thought so.) Don't get me wrong, money is certainly needed, unless you can cook, grow, and make everything you need; but obviously money does not make you happy. Take the copious amount of "celebrities" that have addiction problems, egotistical rants, and suicidal tendencies. All the songs and movie titles come flooding like Niagara Falls, but one sticks out the most: Can't Buy Me Love. That's right ladies, Patrick Dempsey's hard-to-nerd-that-up looks flooding into your memory?
I digress once again. Anyway, let me help you realize the significant change that throwing and giving away much of my current possessions has given me in this upcoming Spring Cleansing time of the year.
Spring is all about the idea of rejuvenation, of a new beginning, a change in the air. All around us, the world will be awakening to the smile of the sun and the song of the birds. The weather will warm just enough to persuade the use of a jacket in the morning and evening hours. The vegetation will ripen, gracing the world with a fresh, new green glow. The rainbow will bloom amidst the grasses and gardens, radiating vibrant, cheerful colors. Even if you are not located within the same season change as I am, you know the feeling, and it is just as exhilarating. In the glory of this revitalization, I felt it perfect to cleanse my clutter as well.
First and foremost, I began with my under-the-sink cabinets. Because I am beginning to "go green", I removed all of the store bought cleaners and replaced them with my own brand of cleaners: laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, cleansing clothes, vinegar sprays, hydrogen peroxide sprays, and all the lovely ingredients. The amount of space underneath my sink is mind-boggling. I can see the bottom of my cabinet and I feel safer allowing Grayson to touch the cabinets (while he can still not open the latch). I recycled many of the containers and kept several for Grayson to play with outside.
Then, I continued the "cleaner" decluttering into the bathroom. I have a very small cabinet under my sink. However, it no longer contains the unnecessary harmful chemicals, and holds all of my essential skincare ingredients: oils, spices, beeswax, and almond face scrub. Not only can I see the bottom of this cabinet, I can also see and take out anything I want without a number of bottles coming crashing down onto the bathroom floor. OH THE UNNECESSARY FRUSTRATIONS OF CLUTTER!
Next, I continued into my tiny niche closet near my backdoor. This closet had many unused items from when my grandparents renovated the house. I had merely stuffed my random crap around theirs in an attempt to "organize". At least every other time I tried to open the damn closet, something would crash onto the floor and onto my head. It was pathetic. Cleaning it out, I found items I hadn't seen in AGES! ...and realized the amount of tupperware containers I had stuffed into the smallest of crevices. While the top shelf presently holds all the tupperware, at least everything has a place. I even placed a box of washcloths and Grayson's spray at his eye level to use when he needs to clean up.
Burdens are evaporating already...
Finally, in the kitchen, I cleaned out my large food cabinet. This was an ordeal. The amount of junk and expired food astounded me, and mainly because I am not tall enough to reach up high to get most of my food down. I was on my tip toes upon Grayson's stool. I recycled three-fourths of the boxed items, sugars, flour, and miscellaneous items. And here's why: junk. Not only does clutter mean random objects laying around your space, but includes food that gets forgotten, or snacks that are unhealthy for you to consume. I threw it all away. I kept the minimal amount of healthy snacks - almonds, Annie's bunny crackers and cookies, some pasta in a container, my coffee filters and syrup (guilty), pure sugar, gluten-free bread, peanut butter that's only ingredient IS peanuts, some amazing Sweet Onion chips I found in the organic section at the grocery, and my son's oatmeal. We don't need an abundance of food/snacks. I don't eat a lot, and I have made a pact with myself that we will only buy the limited amount of food we need for the next couple weeks, and the rest will be fresh fruits and vegetables to incorporate from the fresh food market.
You may be saying, "Organic? Really? You must be out of your potential tree hugging mind!" You must understand that I cannot afford to just BE ORGANIC. However, I have learned what essentials my son and I can live on and I shop the sales. If the Annie's bunny crackers aren't on sale, well, we will just need to substitute an organic snack that is on sale. Unfortunately, though, I can only speak of what little food "needs" that my small family of 2 can live off. Grayson would be happy with his peanut butter sandwich and cantaloupe for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if I would allow! I know he needs more than that though, so I dabble in what I have.
The concept is to simplify, no matter how you want to say it: More is Less; Less is More; it all leads to one very important fact: We want more. I have lived that way most of my life. And while it took me this long to realize that I don't need to continue to buy things I don't actually need, I can not only strive to cleanse my body and mind, I can cleanse my life. I'm still no where near finished. I will continue with my son's toys and our clothes over the course of the next few months. Through it all, I hope to give something to someone who has nothing.
Trust me, if I can do it, you can certainly give it a go. Take time to think about cleansing your space around you of the material abundances in your life and allowing more time to enjoy the rebirth of life around you. I call it: Simplilife: Spring Cleansing.
To wish for more gold is far less satisfying than to hope for less gold and receive more satisfaction.