I have to say, since I’ve been trying to buy less and adjust to a much simpler and thriftier lifestyle, I have been surprised and delighted by all the inspirational and encouraging ideas I’ve gathered from others who are trying to live this way too. I have to admit that for me, this experience hasn’t just been about saving money, just for the sake of it. Obviously, spending less has been necessary for the past few months since our income has been dramatically reduced. But this isn’t just about penny pinching. Saving money isn’t an end or goal I find very motivating or worthwhile, in and of itself. I never expect to have a big fat bank account or be wealthy.
This process of simplification has been a spiritual kind of experience, if you will. Not in some crazy, fanatic, sell-all-your belongings, hippie kind of way. But it has made me reflect on my dependency on things, on all the desires and wants I have, on how I never feel satisfied and am always looking for some new thing, experience, achievement or self-development plan, to make me feel happy. I have also been taking meditation and the whole practice of developing openness and mindfulness more seriously since we’ve been in Turkey. I needed it to help me cope with the massive changes taking place, and to keep me balanced and sane.
As I gradually take on more of this life-simplifying process, mindfulness has been a great help to me. I pay attention more to my internal state of affairs and have developed a sort of curiosity about my own thoughts, emotions and reactions to things. I feel when I am resisting something, when an emotional wall goes up, or when I get stressed out by some circumstance or event. It also helps me not take myself too seriously, which is always a good thing!
So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that simplification really is a lifestyle change. We eat more simply, just a few fresh ingredients, cooked in a simple style, but full of nutrition. We don’t buy much of anything. We spend less on eating out, but truly enjoy it when we do go out. I choose to spend what disposable income I do have on yoga, and meeting with friends, talking over coffees, drinks, lunch, etc. When I feel stressed or cranky or restless, I can take a deep breath and have a mindful moment of looking at the cause of my emotions, and let things go. This simplification process is far from over, but I feel more free as a result of the changes that I have made in the way I live. I feel excited about discovering my points of resistance and taking some time to gradually dismantle them and free my mind bit by bit.