Dear Fellow Travelers,
Now that I’m retired from my first profession, I have less guaranteed cash flow each month. In place of a larger paycheck, what I do have, is more time at leisure, more sleep, more time to dream, more time for connection to people in my life. There’s freedom to move around in my day and decide how to spend my time. I embrace this trade-off and dwell in the possibility of “less as more” while I consider all the different ways that manifests in my life. It’s not a new concept. Who among us doesn’t understand the benefit of cleaning out the closet or clearing and organizing the garage? But what about things like less worry, more contentment, less fear, more love?
One of the times in my life that I wish I had had less of something is when my mother died suddenly at the age of 57. My children were 3 yrs. and 18 months old; my father had passed 3 years prior to this time and, at the age of 29, I was without parents in this physical reality. I had been forced back to work only a few weeks prior to my mother’s death when my husband’s position had been eliminated. I was overcome with grief and depressed from being ripped from my home environment at this time of sorrow. I struggled emotionally and mentally just getting out the door in the morning and making the trip back home after teaching all day. I was grieving the loss of my mother and worried about the loss of income from my husband who had been the sole bread winner. I fretted over being away from my children who were confused with all the changes we were experiencing, but ironically, I dove so deeply into the sorrow of my mother’s death that I lost parts of my sons’ childhood. For the first 6 months, I hardly remember my younger son. He was so precious at that age and the memories slipped through my fingers. Entrenched in loss, grief and sorrow, I was unable to be present in my own life. Focusing less on the grief would have given me more presence and more memories, more interaction with my children, more love.
By February of that year, depleted and frazzled, I knew something had to change. My husband was back to work, but at a much reduced salary from his previous position. Nevertheless, I made the choice to resign my teaching position to have more time with my children. I was determined to do whatever was necessary, even if that meant working at night, so our children would have one of us home at all times. We knew we were taking a financial risk, but were committed to the decision.
My last day of work, I received a phone call from my husband saying he had landed a new job. We would, once again, be able to support the family on his salary. I still remember my first day home playing on the floor with my two sons who are, to this day, the most precious gifts in my life. I chose more time and presence with my children and the Universe responded to that. Sometimes we just have to jump trusting there is a net of possibility to catch us.
My question for myself and all of you is: “Where could less of something afford us more. . . joy, love, contentment, and life affirming experiences, whether that shows up in time, energy or money? For me, my sons will always be the ultimate. I will always choose less of something to have more of them in my life. What is it for you? What do you need or desire to have more of? What can you choose less of to have that? When you choose from a place of absolute knowing, the Universe will be generous in affirming.
“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness.
If you are attentive, you will see it.
Thich Nhat Hanh