The Quest For Owning Less

Before moving to the UAE I attempted to de-clutter my life. As all my possessions had to go into storage, I had to think carefully about what I wanted to keep. I devised a simple rule: keep only what is essential or what I really, really like. I managed to reduce my worldly possessions dramatically and felt really proud of the end-result, even though I now wonder why I even kept anything. But that is a different story altogether.

I literally only brought a suitcase with me when I moved, and felt light-headed and giddy as I marvelled at the freedom my new minimalist approach brought me. Initially living a minimalist’s life was easy, as we lived in a hotel apartment. The only things we acquired were kitchen and personal items to make life more comfortable, but now that we have moved into a cavernous three bedroom apartment, we suddenly find ourselves in a position where we have to acquire a shocking amount of worldly belongings just to be comfortable.

Suddenly I am facing a dilemma: how do I create a comfortable living space without falling into the trap of unnecessary clutter?  Helping my parents-in-law move into a retirement village over the last two weeks is helping a lot in cautioning me against what can happen if I do not pay attention to my habits and behaviour patterns.

If there is one thing yoga manages to teach well, it is to pay attention. Not just to our bodies when on the mat, but also in how we behave and what we think and say when dealing with life’s daily challenges. It is when we start to pay attention to what drives our behaviour, thoughts and words, that we are forced to make decisions that will change our lives.

I am lucky in the sense that I do not have to throw things out, and, as a result, have to deal with attachments. I only need to pay attention to what I acquire, which should only be whatever we really, really need. That should be a straightforward task, shouldn’t it?


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