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March 07, 20235 min read


If having everything is nothing, is having nothing everything? On first thought the answer may be yes. On second thought, having nothing can not be everything unless we are in our final stage in this world. Having nothing implies no possessions. At some stage in life, there is a reevaluation. Why are we filling up homes and garages? To make us happy and satisfied? Having everything can be confusing. Especially for children. It’s difficult to sort out what is real and important, and what is not. Sometimes people figure it out only after ultimately HAVING everything, that it’s FAR from everything. 

The closer we are to our own humanness, the more we value what we can give as opposed to get. And if we can’t afford to give things that’s okay. We can give the gift that MAY be everything. We could call, or send a card, or text if you have to, but communicate a sentiment that could make someone’s day or year or life. Communicating love and/or gratitude, or even forgiveness could actually be everything. And that is usually harder than buying a present. 

And here comes Maslov’s Hierarchy of Needs again. After all, being human is to be real and in order to live we need fundamentals like food and water, and to function well we need clothing, shelter, and healthcare. If we are not spending our days merely trying to survive we can feel alive by following a passion through, like music, academics, traveling or cooking. Not to mention finding a way to make a living doing what we love. What about loving (and being loved by) someone? Is that having everything? 

After all, Dean Martin sang that we’re nobody till somebody loves us. It doesn’t have to be romantic love. It could be family love. Or friend love. It could be the unconditional love of a dog or cat. It could even be self love. You can love life itself. Being human means we have to be a bit practical since in order to love we must be alive! So we do need to fulfill the parts of the triangle as we grow through our lives. And how we see ourselves and others in the world depends on where we are on that pyramid of fulfillments. How far to the top are we? The closer we are to the top, the easier it will be to answer that first question.

All that said, let’s focus on whether having LESS is everything! Sometimes people work to primarily accumulate THINGS and others work primarily to travel so they can experience life and expand their knowledge through geography, history, cultures and people. Some people work to provide food, clothing and shelter.That’s the bottom of the pyramid.The farther up you climb the clearer it is that less is more.That not filling your house and garage full of possessions is more satisfying than the rat race of buying and rebuying (new things) for the sake of having the best and the latest. 

Our homes are very much like our brains. We have to take stock periodically and clear out the excess. It can hinder our creative or productive abilities, and take away from our true happiness and peace. Having less encourages our minds to expand. 

Books take on more intensity and significance. So does music and conversation. Our minds are more present and ready to plant seeds and grow new ideas and experiences. 

Knowing how to organize (our physical space and our minds), keeping things in place, and limiting our buying impulses helps us be more calm, productive and focused. It helps us balance work, family, friends, and our own personal life and growth. Give yourself time (minutes or hours) alone with the TV off. Write or type your thoughts. Whether it is a list of what you want or need to do for the day or the week or the year, or just whatever enters your mind. 

Jot it down. Plant those seeds. It’s never too late to grow. It may not be the best season but you can start now and germinate your ideas until it is the right season. And there’s always force blooming if necessary. 

Think of yourself as a tree. As long as the trunk is alive we branch out. Some Oaks are majestic which is a daily reminder that even the mighty oak was once a little nut. And inside that little acorn is everything that is needed to be that breathtaking Oak. We always have an innate need to grow; physically, mentally and emotionally. Not to accumulate but to grow. As we grow we learn we must be flexible in order to be strong and last. When we’re not flexible we break. But we can STILL come back. It takes more than a broken branch to kill the Mighty Oak. Keep going. Grow another branch.You can even grow mighty while staying right where you are. It’s all inside of you. No matter where you are. Be mindful as to what you are working for. Are you working to accumulate more or to live a more meaningful life? Do you know?

I love being inside a new (to me) home days or weeks before the moving truck shows up. One sofa is there. Why is that such a great feeling? It’s exciting. Freeing. The space exudes an adrenaline like energy. But it doesn’t last long enough. Eventually the truck arrives. The rooms fill up. In one way that is comforting and another it is heavy. Why? Because being in the midst of this contradiction is exposing some realizations. Do less obstructions and distractions allow the (rivers) original thoughts and ideas in our minds to flow more freely?  Do we feel lighter for those moments in time? Be careful not to dam those rivers with meaningless things and unhealthy habits. They just get in the way. 

Having everything is nothing! Having the freedom to be in charge of our own lives, now THAT is everything. So keep a meaningful perspective throughout your journey. 

Stephanie Sharpe

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