Modern life is far from restful. Every day we are bombarded by messages that we should do more, be more, buy more, and achieve more. We rarely have any time to reflect over what is important in life, what really matters to us. We just keep rushing forward, motored by the endless stream of information and matters to consider, respond to and act upon. We do not seem to afford any rest. We must keep up the pace, and so we keep rushing forward as if there was urgency to everything. But where does the rush come from? What are we really hurrying for? When will we be allowed to take that restorative rest, a deeper one that relaxes our mind and body in a more profound way? When have we done enough to give ourselves that slower and healthier rhythm to life? When can we begin to look at what we have and start celebrating the fruits of our many efforts and hard work?
Our wardrobe is a good reflection of the rest of our life. To most of us, it can feel random, even chaotic, as a “by-chance result” of many impulse decisions and spontaneous actions. If there had been any great plan or ambition at some point in time, most of us have forgotten what it was as we are constantly redefining our self-image and identity over time. Who wants to look the same as 10 years ago, even ten months ago? Who wants to feel repetitive and unimaginative? With such thoughts in our mind, we keep striving for more and new, but perhaps feeling increasingly empty and deprived of a deeper meaning to life.
So, when will we have our rest? When will someone say that we have more than enough in our homes and wardrobes to be fine and slow down? When are we given permission to stop piling up more stuff that gives no lasting or deeper contentment anyhow? How can we gain that true satisfaction without all those things – or perhaps in spite of them? According to many spiritual leaders, such as Eckhart Tolle and Jon Kabat-Zinn, true peace is found in the “silent gap between our thoughts”. Similarly, this could also be where we will find peace in relation to material possessions – by appreciating the empty space in between.
So, let us pause and embrace a more restful and gratifying way of being. Here is a little manifesto for a start:
I want a more harmonic and effortless lifestyle. I do not need any more stuff. I love the air between the stuff, the silence, the pause, the spaces in-between. There is no rush anymore. There is no emptiness to fill. There is no striving for acceptance, either by myself or by others. I am done looking for approval in the outer world. I am done hunting for the new, the trendy, the cheap or the impulse piece to sooth any stressful emotion or disturbing thought. I am done filling up my home with more possessions. I want to go out, feel the earth and the wind, and absorb the stillness around me. I want to look into the eyes of others and share a moment in time. I want to be in a peaceful place, where I can appreciate the empty space between the stuff, the pausing moment between the actions, the swift silence between the spoken words, the soothing gap between the thoughts, and the rest between the breaths. I will be in the many moments of in-between and fill my life with peace and what truly matters.
Note: This article was written by Dr. Anna Brismar and is a more philosophical reflection of our present consumption-oriented society, hopefully encouraging a more simplistic lifestyle in relation to material possessions.