Are you making your life smaller?

Simplicity is not about creating a smaller world with little risk. It’s actually busyness that keeps our world what we think is safe and small. Simplicity allows you to create an expansive world.

By nature I am not a risk-taker. I am conscientious, sensitive and fearful. I know for me, it would be easy to live a very small world that only gets smaller. So one of the questions I ask myself often is, “Am I making my world smaller or bigger.”

When you are bound to stuff and a too big mortgage, it’s hard to take that trip to a new state or country. Someone with a full schedule of commitments, may find it harder to spontaneously help a friend or to wander, just because.

If we keep our lives too full, then we don’t have to accept invitations to something unusual that we may be afraid of going or with someone new. We have a few social obligations we are comfortable with, but don’t expand the circle of friends. But, when do you feel most alive? Often it’s when you go into the unknown.

Recently I was invited to a church in a bigger city that was holding an exhibition of Buddhist relics. I knew I’d had to drive in the bigger city and drive at night. Neither which I like to do. I’ve never gone to a Buddhist anything. But, something inside felt excited about it so I said yes. The opening ceremony was a beautiful interfaith service with invocation, chanting and a reading from something the Dalai Lama wrote. I also was able to have wonderful conversation. The serene feeling from the service lasted days.

When you think of your own life, how many invitations that might have been interesting did you decline because your life is too full of stuff you don’t want to be doing? When was the last time you did something a little adventurous for you?

You cut out stuff you don’t need in your finances, so you can try that new fruit or take that class. Not so you can live the exact same way as you always do.

A simple life may involve a routine, but you don’t have to do the same thing every day, go to the same places, hang out with the same people. You make your life smaller by not trying new foods. By saying no to that stand-up paddleboarding class because you haven’t done it before even though it sounds fun. Besides you have too many other things you “have” to do.

Maybe your heart has been saying it’s time to mentor a child. Luckily you have kept yourself so busy you rarely think of it. It might be difficult or emotionally tiring. Just keep doing what you’ve always done. You are missing opportunities to grow and live life with that spark.

Check in with yourself. Are you making your life smaller or bigger?