By Karin Kiser
Walking the Camino de Santiago is a unique opportunity to thrive with less. Less responsibility, less distraction, less technology, less stuff. Life becomes simple. We wake up, we put one step in front of the other, we wash our bodies and our clothes, we eat, sleep and repeat.
The truth is, whether you are on or off the Camino, there is great freedom in less.
The current global situation has given me a new appreciation for less. Although I have never considered myself wasteful, I discovered that there are plenty of things I could use less of without negatively impacting my health or my happiness. Here are a few of them.
I had three rolls of toilet paper when people rushed to the stores to stockpile it. I didn’t buy any. Now there is none to buy. It’s fine. I’ve discovered I can use a bit less toilet paper with the same result, which frees me from fear and hoarding.
Since we’re not leaving the house much these days, or hugging anyone, it seems silly to put on all the makeup, jewelry, lotion and deodorant. It makes me wonder why we need all that stuff to begin with. Well, except maybe the deodorant. In fact, there’s a long list of things we do for external validation or perceived social acceptance: plucking, shaving, coloring, waxing, buffing. What’s wrong with being natural, real, without a team of professional groomers to make us look and feel better about ourselves? In this current bizarre time, it all seems a bit…much.
Can you imagine a tiger eating because he’s had a bad day? It doesn’t happen. We’re the only species that eats for reasons that have nothing to do with nourishing our cells. There is freedom in questioning why we do what we do. When we stop to consider why we eat mindlessly, when we identify the emotion we’re trying to stuff or the unmet need we’re attempting to satisfy with food, that is the beginning of freedom.
“If you really want to see why you do things, then don’t do them and see what happens.” – Michael Singer
Eating less frees up a tremendous amount of energy. Less energy used for digestion means more energy to strengthen our immune system and detox the body. Eating less is also one of the secrets to longevity. For me, buying less food and eating less have brought a new level of mindfulness into my day. I eat more slowly. I enjoy the food more. I spend less.
Lately, I’ve experienced several “now what do I do” moments. I’m sure you can relate. Presentations I had lined up in seven cities, canceled. The retreat I was about to lead in Spain…canceled. A new opportunity to replace those two income sources, you guessed it, didn’t work out. Now what do I do?
Notice that last word… do. We’re trained to be doers, to make things happen. Only what might have worked before does not work now. The rules have changed. The truth is, the old rules never worked. We’ve collectively been in the wrong game for decades. There is only so much we can accomplish by effort, strategizing, struggle and busyness. It is time for a new approach to life.
Rather than do more – or do more of the same, only better – we can simply stop. Take a step back. Reassess what we have been doing. Consider whether that path we were on is still relevant or authentic now.
We often think it’s an external thing such as our job, our finances, our partner, or the current state of the world that causes us stress. In reality, it’s how we react to that thing that creates stress. Our thinking, including the meaning we attach to events and the story we tell ourselves about them, is what stresses us out.
“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.” – Eckhart Tolle
Thinking less is the antidote. Less thinking = less stress. It’s not our mind or our brain that makes the best decisions anyway. It is our intuition. Intuition is the powerhouse of inner knowing. It patiently waits for us to listen.
Let’s turn off the news, turn down the noise and tune into our unique internal guidance. We can release how we think things should work out. We can instruct our minds to be still, aware and open to brighter possibilities.
“There is nothing the mind can do that cannot be better done in the mind’s immobility and thought-free stillness.” – Sri Aurobindo
FREEDOM IN LESS
Less isn’t about deprivation or sacrifice. Using less, consuming less, doing less and thinking less opens the door to more. With the practice of less, we peel back the layers and get to the essence of who and what we really are underneath the adornment, the masks and the roles we play.
“There is no greater freedom than to be that which we were meant to be. There is no greater freedom than to be free of others’ expectations, to be able to live our lives spontaneously, with awareness.” – Osho
There is freedom in less. There is joy. There is you.
Enjoy freedom from less stress, toxins and clutter with Karin’s book Lighten Your Load: 35 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Free Yourself from Stress, Toxins and Clutter
Karin has a limited quantity of the paperback edition available at 50% discount, so you or a loved one can enjoy freedom from less stress, toxins and clutter for a mere $5. The discount is available through May 31st or while supplies last. Just email support@KarinKiser.com with your name and shipping address and she’ll send you a PayPal link for the $5 (plus $2.95 shipping within the U.S). Please allow 8-10 days for delivery.
Lighten Your Load offers timely strategies for a happier, more fulfilled life. You’ll discover simple, actionable things you can do to get to the root of your stress, and create more time, energy and vitality. You don’t have to do all 35 to benefit from this book. Just a few changes done consistently over time can have a massive impact on your health and happiness.
Make the most of your at-home Camino journey with Karin’s other books:
I have been hosting a book club for the Northern California Chapter with this book and it has been a wonderful experience! I even made a book club credencial so we can track progress and earn stamps for a BookClubStella! This is a fun diversion for me and others who would have been on the Camino this month. I will offer this book club to the public in the future. Stay tuned!
About the book: You don’t have to be on the Camino to benefit from this book. It’s a guide to personal development and change. The insights and suggestions apply to anyone looking for answers or more aliveness in their life, and those wanting new ways of managing and responding positively to the inevitable changes that life brings. It’s like having a personal coach, a comedian and a therapist right in your pocket for easy access. Available from Camino Chronicles Press. The book is also available on Kindle: https://amzn.to/2SfL2Yx
This practical approach to decluttering gets to the root of the problem. Here you won’t find another method to fold your shirts or rearrange household items. Instead, Free and Clear uncovers the real issue of why we accumulate all that stuff in the first place. Decluttering is one thing. Not re-cluttering is another. This book helps you break the re-cluttering habit so you can stay clutter-free for good. Check it out on Amazon here.
All photos courtesy of Karin Kiser.