3 Ways to Pare Down to Happiness

'Tis the gift to be simple, 
'tis the gift to be free

'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,

And when we find ourselves in the place just right, 
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd, 
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,

To turn, turn will be our delight, 
Till by turning, turning we come 'round right.
~Joseph Brackett

This was one of the first songs I learned when I first started singing lessons as a child.  It’s amazing how much truth there is in this one little folk song.

On occasion I run into personal ruts where I feel like the the direction in my life can’t be right because I feel so run down.  Often it is because of overwhelming demands inside and outside of work.  I feel like I’m just running in circles putting out fires and getting shit done.  I end up feeling stressed and feel like just curling up in my room, hiring a cook and a cleaning leaning lady and napping until I feel better. 

It is often during these periods after I’ve exhausted my employee assistance counsellor and visited my priest one too many times, I somehow find a way to book a few days vacation away from work to put things in perspective, indulge in resting, yoga, nurturing creative ideas and paring down everything.  

Sometimes it’s necessary to pare down in life to make healthy room for things that nurture yourself so you can return to feeling good, serving your purpose in life and getting back to being there for the people who need you.

Paring Down

Get rid of things you don’t need or use

Cluttered surroundings can have a negative effect on your psyche.  It’s funny how hard we work to make enough money to buy things, but when we buy too much stuff, it has a negative effect on our productivity.  We can’t find things, we bump into things, we step on things, we slow down, we get bogged down, our life feels disorganized.

By paring down clothes and trinkets around your home to what you need and use, it frees your mind from looking at it and processing it on whether or not it should be there.  If it’s not there, you don’t think about it.  Your mind becomes uncluttered and open to peace and creativity.


Pare down your activities

Too many commitments, even if they are for good causes, (it’s especially hard to pare down if they are good causes,) if they are draining on you to the point where you spend yourself to the max and all you have left for your kids and family at the end of the day is a constantly grumpy burnt out person in the house.  It’s time to pare down.

I struggled with this recently in having to leave one of the church choirs that I led.  I still miss the people and the church but to do a good job I needed to focus on one church and to not ignore my family on my weekends.  I still maintain good friendships with people in the choir that I left.  These people are the ones that that I keep in contact with.  We still emotionally support each other.

By opening up more time on my weekend for family, my children are more at ease knowing that I will have time for them.  They aren’t anxiously competing and pushing for my time because they’re scared they have so little of it.  They are free to play and come to me knowing I’m available to them.  It’s so much more relaxed and fun when we’re not rushing to accommodate my schedule.

De-complicate routines

This goes for about any process or routine we have.   We tend to complicate when we bring in more steps which we are persuaded through marketing that they will make our lives better and ultimately happier, when sometimes all they do is add to our stress and take time away from really valuable activities like giving our time to people or good causes. 

For example do you really need three steps in a skin regime on a daily basis?  I don’t mean to knock if you enjoy spending a lot of time washing your face everyday.  Some people may find this to be relaxing to spend 15 minutes doing something that really only takes about 2 minutes to do well.  But, would you rather tone and do a mask so you can “look” rested or cuddle with your child over a bedtime story and get more sleep and be rested.  Perhaps it’s both, nevertheless, find balance.  The point is, sometimes simple is happier.

We are on a constant journey.  I for one am still travelling and learning.  Feel free to share how you have pared down.

*Please note: The above skin regime example is simply an illustration of choosing what to focus on in life and may differ from individual to individual.  It is not a commentary on the importance of any particular multi-level-marketing-skin-regime.  However, I cannot stop those that are determined to be offended.  You are the product of your beliefs...May you find peace.*

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