"Once we have completely eradicated our delusions it will be utterly impossible for us to experience unpeaceful states of mind." Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Owning less, is more?

My quite nifty friend, Ellie introduced me to the 'tiny house movement' a few years ago, which is basically a group of people making a conscious effort to downsize the space they are living in and subsequently, their possessions. Focusing on a smaller space and simplified living, these people have made this choice due to environmental concerns, financial concerns and seeking more time and freedom. The concept has been re-appearing in various places in my life and something that I am interested in. 
For most Americans 1/3 to 1/2 of their income is dedicated to the roof over their heads; This translates to 15 years of working over your life time just to pay for it and because of it 76% of Americans are living paycheque to paycheque.
Ideally, I will design a career for myself that I thoroughly enjoy and therefore will not see it as taking away time from my "life" and my hobbies but rather adding to, however there are plenty of individuals who will never be afforded this luxury, and have to continue working in whatever job or industry they can, in order to pay off debt or provide for their dependents. So what about them? Do they continue to purchase and expand and buy things, for the sake of keeping up with status quo? Or, would it be a great relief to downsize, and get all of that TIME back? I keep thinking about and trying to dissect the "40 hour work week" especially after reading this really great article; why do people think that they should spend approximately 40 hours a week, working? (and usually at a job that they hate?) Of course again, I realize that you may think I'm naive and am not considering that people have BILLS they need to pay, and usually, the amount of hours per week is set by an employer, not the employees… but what if EVERYONE, all the employees, all of society, took a fresh look at the breakdown of where they are spending their time? Then, employers would have to re-consider, no?

I am making a conscious effort to pay attention to my state of mind and the exact emotions I am feeling at a given time. For example, when I feel happy, I'm really FEELING it and acknowledging it. Thinking to myself, "Emily, you are very happy right now". But more than that, going one step further and paying attention to the "why". Usually, it's not because I've purchased something, or gotten paid, and surely it's not when I fork over my rent money, it's usually when I'm spending plenty of TIME and no money at all! As some examples, it's when I'm going for a run, having an in-depth conversation till the wee hours of the morning, or when I'm sipping delicious tea and reading a really great book or even if I'm out for a stroll and drinking in a beautiful sunset and probably taking a picture of said sunset.
These activities are free, and yet they are worth more to me than most things with a hundred dollar price tag. It is because my time has become precious and sacred. Do I really want to be spending this precious time doing things that bring me zero pleasure, or would I rather get rid of and tone down the expenditures (clothing, products etc.) in order to have to work less, and allow me more time to do things that make me happy?

Have you ever considered living in a camper van, a trailer, a tiny house or, what I would love to do, living in a sailboat? Or did you not even think of this as a possibility?

Please feel free to comment below!