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Macro Monday: Start Subtracting

Today's post is just a simple conversation about something I like to chat about A LOT: simplifying. Subtracting. Reducing the things the don't matter.

I love Macrobiotics because it feels simple to me: it places a large focus on finding balance through local, natural foods. Eat what's growing around you. Pretty simple. But, the Macrobiotic lifestyle also encourages simplicity. Some of the recommendations include: spending time in nature, gentle exercise, laughing, natural fabrics, and less time in front of screens. I think that is why I continually appreciate Macrobiotics -> it is another tool on the road to a simple life.

I have been growing a subtle distaste for EXCESS. I have my moments where I get caught up in consumerism, but they are becoming fewer and farther between. I have my sweet buddy, T, to thank for this - he is by nature the least possession oriented person I know - but also my yoga practice and my practice of Macrobiotics continue to be hugely influential. And another thing that's been adding fuel to the less is more fire: moving into a smaller space has been WONDERFUL. I can't say it enough. When you don't have rooms and basements and garages to hide your junk, you have to face it (or live in chaos, which I can't handle).

So the flipside of my growing distaste for excess is my huge appreciation for simplicity. The quote above, is for me, an amazing idea that I think would be great to live by: "When things aren't adding up in your life, start subtracting." If something about your current situation just doesn't feel right, then look to how you can simplify and refocus, by reducing the unnecessary blocks in your way.

If this interests you, I'd begin by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What IS truly important to you? Or, how do I want my life/job/relationship/house etc. to look like / feel like / embody?
  • What are the bare essentials that I require for this to happen?
  • How can I focus on or achieve those bare essentials?

Then, put everything else into the don't really need it or under consideration category, and stop thinking / doing / acting on those things - begin to reduce them from your life.

If spending time outside and being in nature is your focus, then ask: what are the bare essentials I need for that? My guess is probably TIME. So what gives you free time? Less work and obligations. And how can you work less? Well, you decide to buy less. So ---> reduce the number of things you buy, so you can reduce the number of hours you work, and instead spend your extra time outside.

If going traveling is your focus, then ask yourself what do I need to do that (what are the bare essentials)? Depending on you and the kind of travel or length of traveling, you may feel like the bare essential you need is simply money. If the bare essential is indeed needing to make money for traveling, then you need to STOP SPENDING on all other things, and amp up your work hours (I personally did this when T and I traveled though South America - I worked horrible long hours at a call centre, and didn't do much else). Many people think it's impossible to go traveling, because they just don't have the money. The truth is, if traveling is really the most important thing to you, you can indeed save up for it working a minimum wage job - its absolutely your spending that you need to address. Stop going out for drinks, going to the mall, eating out, decorating your house and walk or bike instead of paying for a car. Perhaps get a roommate, move into a cheaper place, or move home with your folks while you save up. All of these things will help you get to your money goal faster.

And here's a potential tough part, where I think many of us get caught in: perhaps if you aren't willing to make those changes to achieve your bare minimum (i.e., saving for traveling), then you should sit back and ask: is it (i.e., traveling) really that important to me? Maybe it actually comes second or eighth or twentieth on the list - maybe socializing with friends and spending money decorating the house are higher on the priority list. Be willing to realize that priorities shift and change. And that is totally cool, everyone has different priorities, and different things that make them happy. But be honest with yourself - it'll save you from feeling like you are being denied something, or that you CAN'T do something. Be willing to let go of things that are no longer your priorities. Instead, if you get in touch with your real, true, current priorities in life, it'll make you feel like you're doing awesome at the things you are working for. You'll no longer be pining over something you actually don't really want.

As you can see, you can apply this kind of thinking to WHATEVER goal you have or whatever it is that is important to you. If things just don't seem to be going your way, try it: try reducing. Figure out, and then get rid of the things that ARE getting in your way to achieving what is most important to you. And don't be scared or upset if you realize that the things in your way are there, because they have a message for you about what is NOT your priority (often they are things you subconsciously put in your own way).

Go for what YOU really want, not for what you think you should want, or what other people think you should want.

And get rid of the rest.

Have you done this before? Do you have trouble reducing to your bare essentials?

Have a wonderful week friends <3 <3 <3
~~Jess

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