Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. ~Lao Tzu
In Max Strom’s book, A Life Worth Breathing, he speaks about the world’s wealth and poverty. He explains that the majority of the world’s wealth resides in 2% of the world’s population. If you shrink this down to 100 people, 1 person would have $99 and 99 people would have $1 to share.
The Dalai Lama explains that we are all impoverished as long as other beings suffer in poverty.
We take so much for granted– food on the table, money in the bank, cars to drive, homes that protect us from the elements, and health, just to name a few. But I believe there are ways to simplify our lives so we don’t have the need to consume more. This simplicity might begin an existence for us that can help others as well. The question is– how and why do we feel this need to consume?
I wanted to become mindful of my spending habits, so did not shop for 40 days (other than groceries or needs for our kids). This was powerful for me to see how much mindless spending I do… a trip to Target, this online purchase,these shoes, new yoga pants, etc. I didn’t erase my spending entirely after the 40 days ended, but it did make me more aware of my how much I felt the need for certain purchases when there really was no need.
In order to extend this thinking to our family, we try to share what we do have with others in our community. When it is a birthday or a time when new toys come into the house, we de-clutter. We gather all the toy baskets and boxes. Then we sort– things to save, things to give away and things to keep. I do this with our kids and then we drive our donations to the women’s shelter for the women and children there. Henry knows about the families there and now when he outgrows a shirt he will say, “Maybe another little boy needs this now.”
Now it is your turn. How do you create simplicity and lessen the need for material consumption in your lives? How do you ensure you don’t have more than you need? If you have children, how do you share this mindset with them? Please share any thoughts or ideas here.