Wednesday, November 17, 2010

More thoughts on Tulsa's overly busy life style.

Collage by Lani (collage element from Teesha Moore) with Texture Layers by FlyPaper Textures and Kim Klassen.
I've been thinking a little more about Tulsa's situation and I totally get it.  Our lives are way too busy to really listen to our inner artist souls.  We are caught up in the dominant cultures' story which is a consumer story, that when you boil it down to its most basic message that would be thatwe are not enough as we are. And what I think the real story is all about is how we absolutely are enough and the ones who get creative are the ones who figure that out.  So the really important thing for Tulsa (and all of us) to figure out would be how to detach from the big story that the "dominant culture" teaches us. Freedom is within the realm of possibility if we can just detach ourselves.  If we need examples and ideas to jump start our search for freedom, we can visit other artists either virtually or for real, artists who are actually calling the shots in their own lives. That's pretty cool. Not everyone is waiting to be told what they should need or want.  Not everyone is waiting for the perfect life to actually do the things that their inner artist wants them to do. Some folks are doing things anyway. Very nice.

The first person I would want to visit would be Leo Babauta over at Zen Habits.  Leo has a short list of ways to simplify our lives so that we can actually hear our own stories: 1. Identify what’s most important to you. 2. Eliminate everything else.  He suggests we get rid of chaos in our lives and replace it with peace, spend our time doing what’s important to us, spend our time with people we love, doing the things we love to do (for me that's art and writing, for Tulsa it writing and going for long walks). If we eliminate the clutter of all that is not essential, we will be left with only the things we value.

Leo has a fabulous long list of 72 ways to eliminate all but the essential in our lives and I'll mention a few here but feel free to go visit the whole list, it's wonderful, or buy his book and really dive in!  So here are my favorite ways to get more freedom in my life:

#36.  Learn what “enough” is. This one is hard, but think about it.  Isn't it odd that we would feel so empty, so needing of stuff even when our lives and homes are so absolutely full that we might hire someone to declutter our lives?  Or we might buy a book on decluttering?  The fact might just be that we have too much stuff, junk, redundant objects without meaning in our lives.  And yet we are constantly wanting more.   

# 31. Learn to live frugally. I like this one because it means buying less, wanting less, and leaving less of a footprint on the earth. It’s directly related to simplicity. (And the really cool thing is he's got  50 tips on how to live frugally)

# 24. Be present.  Living here and now, in the moment, keeps us aware of life, of what is going on around us and within us. It does wonders for mental health.  (Try yoga or meditation for this one)

# 17. Limit your buying habits. (This one is a bit like #31 but maybe more specific) If we are slaves to materialism and consumerism there is no freedom. But Leo assures us there are ways to escape it.  If we can escape materialism, we can get into the habit of buying less. And that will mean less stuff and more freedom.

# 8. Limit your media consumption. Leo believes that the media in our lives — TV, radio, Internet, magazines, etc. — can come to dominate us. These things can be more compelling than our own stories are to us.  But that doesn't have to be. Try a media fast.  Or try versions of media which give you the most control.  DVD's, books, anything that you can fast forward or turn the page.

And finally #1. (my favorite) Make a list of your top 4-5 important things. What’s most important to us? What do we value most?  What 4-5 things do we most want to do in our lives?  Simplifying starts here: Only when we know, figure out, or admit what is most important, will it become possible to create more time for these things.

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