These 4 simple but powerful words have been dancing in my head the past couple of weeks.  Be more, need less… 

Is this not the core intention and requirement of all human beings?

Biologically, We Like to Keep It Simple

On a microcosmic level, individuals are happiest and healthiest physically, mentally and emotionally when they adequately conserve energy to balance their daily expenditures; build their inner resources and process life efficiently.

Anything that causes clutter, distractions, deficiency, stress or toxicity to our cells, our system or our life, is not welcome and our innate intelligence will do its best to remove these ‘wellbeing zappers’.

Sadly however, it seems like we are moving away from our natural instincts.

This becomes obvious when we look at our relationship with the material world where we seem to be feeding the opposite approach:  “Have more, be less.”

There is an excess of material goods on the planet –  simply visit any mall or shopping center and it’s blatantly apparent.

It’s scary to think about, but by 2025, according to a World Bank study, the waste produced by cities around the globe will be enough to fill a line of garbage trucks 3,100 miles long every day.

2025 is not far off!  Clearly we have already been moving in the wrong direction for some time now…

Is It Time to Make a Shift?

Thankfully there seems to be an awakening occurring and there are people who are intentionally choosing to live minimally. This means doing their best to respect the environment with their habits and choices.

Recently I read that the millennial generation is leading the way on this front.

Due to factors such as current real estate market pricing and shorter-term job placements, millennials are forced to live a lighter and more mobile existence – in many cases, inhabiting smaller and shared living spaces.  Millennials seem to understand the value of social interactions. They’ve realized that buying fewer things means you can work less hours, which gives you more time to spend with the people you want to see.

Local Inspiration from the P.I.N.E. Project

A local Toronto organization, led by young, environmentally friendly millennials, is the inspired team at the P.I.N.E. Project, who are outdoor education mentors.  Their mantra is: “Be more, need less.”

Thankfully I have the regular opportunity to be inspired by their skills and mission, as they provide programming for the JK to Grade 8 classes at my daughter’s school where I volunteer.

Amazing things happen when kids put their technology and stuff aside and get outside into the natural world.  Couple that with their peers and P.I.N.E. leaders, where the emphasis is on building relationships with self, others, and the environment – and healthy things happen!

Even the older students who would normally dismiss certain activities as ‘childish’ willingly get involved and become kid-like again. Their curiosity heightens, their creativity comes forth, and they participate with classmates who they would otherwise not interact with.

When not focused on our busy and material-oriented lives, an inner resourcefulness begins to bud and we discover the real time and real world meaning of, less is more.

Making the Choice to Simplify Our Lives

The great news is that we can choose to simplify, to reconnect and to care for ourselves, each other and the environment in more healthy and meaningful ways.

If you are looking for some immediate ways to scale down on ‘stuff’ here are 4 ways to live with less and in the process, enjoy MORE…

  1. Clothes: According to statistics we wear 20% of our clothes, 80% of the time. This means closets full of clothes that we don’t like or no longer fit.  What items can you pass along for others to enjoy?
  2. Furnishings: Many of these items in our homes do not hold personal value or purpose – they are just taking up space. Imagine how freed up you’d be by removing some items?
  3. Cooking Utensils: Many of us require and use far less cooking utensils that we own. Drawers and countertops can be far more organized and usable if we had less.  Store your unnecessary utensils in a bin, and put it out of sight.  See if you miss anything!
  4. Screen Time:  Evidence is mounting that suggests that the use of technological devices is associated with structural and functional changes in brain regions involving emotional processing, decision making, and cognitive  With the 10+ hrs/day that most North American’s spend on their devices, this is causing a lot of brain clutter and havoc.  While technology isn’t going away anytime soon, it’s in our best interest to moderate its use by setting boundaries and give our brain a break!

Ultimately, when we get outdoors, move our bodies and connect with others in three dimensional activities we become healthier and happier human beings; in turn we become greater contributors and co-creators in making this beautiful world go ground!

So the writing is etched on the wall: in order to BE MORE, we need to have less… and this is when less becomes more!