Want less, be more

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Want less, be more. 

It sounds so simple, right?

Want less, be more

I found these words on the side of a gas station when I was airing up my bike tires. It fit with the moment, since I was about to embark on a ride to clear my head of the many thoughts that have been clouding it lately. My car has decided that it needs a lot of work to keep going. I was quoted almost $2,000 and that was just to find out what some of the problems are with it (transmission), but my car is a 2008 Impala with 70,000 miles. Unfortunately, putting a ton of money into the car is really only going to get me so far, and so I’m going to trade it in for a new car.

More on this subject soon.

But anyway, I didn’t have my car, and so while I was at home on a Saturday morning I decided to go for a relaxing ride on the Monon trail.

Want less, be more.

Is this possible for us Americans? We want everything because our society tells us that happiness = stuff. LOTS OF STUFF. Televisions and fancy cars and houses, electronic gadgets, the newest of the new.

I fall victim to this. I HAD to have the new iPhone 4. And, of course, the iPhone 5 quickly followed in my purchasing decisions. I had to have a MacBook Pro, not just the MacBook. And now, I have to have a NEW car.

In yoga, you learn that everything you need is within you. My yoga teacher chants that phrase all the time. He reminds us how special we are, how we are all unique individuals. This is something that helped me get through a few emotional roller coasters I’ve experienced this summer, and I share this phrase with others who could use a reminder that they and they alone have what they need to get through any emotional crisis.

We don’t need STUFF to fill our emotional voids. We need love, compassion, strength. We need to be able to stand on our own two feet without putting them in $200 shoes.

Want less, be more.

This thought process follows food just as much as it does stuff. Why do you think the worst foods for us are called comfort foods? “Upset with your hubby? Grab a large bowl of creamy mac and cheese to make yourself feel better.” Wait, hold up – how did this happen? How did we decide that food should feed our emotions? Don’t get me wrong, you should enjoy your food and you will certainly have cravings, but can’t comfort food be good for you, too? Good, whole foods should make you feel great, not terrible, so in essence they are really comforting your emotions by saying “Good job, you, for not putting crap in my belly! Yay whole foods!”

We also don’t really need that much food. Americans are producing more food than what we can viably eat – and what we don’t eat just ends up as waste. Two hand fulls is about as much food as you should consume in one meal. That means that the casserole you’re making from Paula Dean’s website probably feeds 14 and not 4. We’re stuffing our bellies to the point that they’re stretching to accommodate the amount of food that we’re putting in it. It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a steak for dinner – just make sure it’s the right portion size.

I, too, have this problem. I’m certainly buying more food at the grocery store than what John and I can actually consume. Our eyes are big and with so many options it’s difficult to turn things down. Processed foods have a longer shelf life, so it’s easy to feel like you can buy something “and eat it later,” but we’re making an effort to eat less processed foods and more produce.

Want less, be more.

I was spoiled growing up. Sorry, mom and dad, I love you, but looking back I realize how my lack of responsibility left me wanting everything. I wanted to have new clothes, new shoes, new CD’s, go to the movies, have gas for my car just to drive around for the heck of it. I didn’t have a clear mind about how other people had way less than what I had. Now that I’m old enough to have a job, pay for my own bills and take care of myself, I understand that life isn’t about having stuff. And it’s not just because I can’t afford a lot of things. Even if I could afford it, that doesn’t mean I should buy whatever it is. In a way, I’m glad that I’m learning to manage my income when it’s small, and not exuberant.

Learning to BE is less about giving up things you have and more about understanding how much you have within you. Let yourself be something – create, experiment, trust, nurture, enlighten. Let the air flow through your body as if you’re about to embark on a new journey, because everyday is a path to new experiences. This is just one more reason why I love yoga – it teaches you to want less, be more.

The first thing you can do to make this happen? Just sit back and breathe deep. Let all of your troubles out with your exhale and enjoy the cleanse of your body’s emotions. Just enjoy life and all that’s within it, and know that everything you need is within you. 

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  • yvonne

    Well said :-) namaste

    • solidgoldeats

      Namaste ;)