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Downsizing Stuff / Upsizing Life!

Friday, February 13, 2015

As I've downsized my body over the years I've come to appreciate also the importance of downsizing the "stuff" around me as well. One important source of this growing awareness arose from my self-supported bicycle tours in which I realized how fulfilled I was with a healthy body, super cycling friends, my bike and a grand total of 30-35 pounds of belongings strapped onto my bike.

Human connection and wonderful experiences. What more could a person want?

A recent quote which resonated deeply: “the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection.” Johann Hari. Here is a fascinating account about his investigative journalistic efforts unearthing "the rest of the story" of the War on Drugs, how our understanding of addiction is so faulty and how a better understanding of addiction can lead to such wonderful solutions (be sure to check out the "Rat Park" discussion in the article and think about how to apply the idea to our lives):


and more:


I remember the aching isolation that came with my addiction to food. No amount of junk food could ever fill that void.

But reclaiming my body and putting myself out into the world and soaking up human connection and wonderful experiences...!

It just doesn't get any better than that!

So in line with all of this thought comes the allure and fascination with Tiny Houses. What a wonderful trend! Some areas of the USA have found that rather than putting up the homeless in rat-trap hotels, if they give the homeless a true Tiny Home of their OWN these people not only begin to take pride in their ownership, but also begin to develop a sense of community with others in their Tiny House community. Instead of the isolation of locking themselves into each cubicle of rat-trap hotels, the dwellers of these Tiny Houses reach out and connect with each other. What a joyous use of our tax dollars!

While I don't live in a Tiny House, at least yet, I am beginning a significant effort to downsize not only my body but my "stuff" as well and hoping to prepare for at the very least tinier living quarters to further support my efforts to be out in the world and to connect with others.

Here is a wonderful account of a family who made the Tiny lifestyle "work" for themselves:


In the meantime I have noticed that my interest in purchasing "stuff" has downsized considerably. All those newspaper flyers & ads, those e-mails from various stores and shops? To the trash it goes!

As we prepare for yet another commercial holiday and all of its incessant clamor, I encourage folks to stop, take a deep breath and ask yourselves: what do we and our loved ones truly NEED?

Sustenance for the soul, for the human spirit...it's not out there on any store shelf. Look within, make those heartfelt connections, seek those enlivening experiences out in the world.

Yours in SPARK!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Will need to come back and view the video - but I recently "discovered" the TV program Tiny House Nation online and have been fascinated by the ingenuity and the down-sizing successes of the tiny house dwellers. I grew up spending summers camping, living on a boat so I'm no stranger to small living spaces, but the attachment to "stuff" doesn't necessarily go away when you have less space. I like the idea that human interaction (love, fellowship) take the place of our addictions. Much FOOD for thought - thanks, Don!
    1351 days ago
    This is a wonderful, lively post full of good stuff! I'm downsizing as well just by using what I have and not falling into the trap of needing or wanting more. Those flyers that I get also go into the recycling bin. I don't even look at them. I'm such a non-consumer! But when I do *need* something I buy good quality stuff. This year I bought my "forever" winter coat - a leather coat. Last year I bought my "forever" purse - custom made for me from leather.
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    1370 days ago
    Wonderful blog, Don!

    Have you seen the documentary titled, "Tiny"? I watched it on Netflix streaming a couple months ago. It chronicles the course of a tiny house project by a young man with no experience building. He and others interviewed in the film reveal their reasons for living tiny.

    One of our reasons for planning to sell our home is to downsize. We'd forgotten until dusting off our old bikes last year one of life's lessons learned on a 2-1/2-month independent bicycle camping trip we did 30 years ago, that is how little a person really needs - a few basics and, as you noted, the human connection.
    1374 days ago
  • L*I*T*A*
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    1376 days ago
    I'm with you... straight to the trash with the ads... don't need stuff... and if I *do* need stuff, I'll find it without an ad to push it at me. Mostly, "need" being confused with "want"/"desire" is at the root of having "too much stuff". Just as I have had to learn to satisfy my body's needs, I'm having to learn to satisfy the other needs, those of the mind, soul, spirit. emoticon
    1376 days ago
    Very intriguing concept that makes perfect sense to me. I've been dancing around this idea without putting it into words. Love the quote about the opposite of addiction is human connection. Three cheers for dumping the isolation of food in favor of relationship. Its a win-win score. Thanks for sharing this revelation. I love it.
    1376 days ago
    Gonna have to explore these links later -- but in the meantime, I applaud your decision to connect rather than acquire, mirroring your physical downsizing. And like you, truth is I've run from the camera my whole life!! (There's a movie of me at age 2 running away from the camera . . . )
    1376 days ago
    Your last paragraph sums it up beautifully!!!

    I have found, for me, that the "stuff" I accumulated was like an "insulation" and once I made health a priority, it was no longer necessary. Great feeling of freedom.
    1376 days ago
    I love the articles you share. I agree with you about downsizing. I don't want to leave a huge mess to clean up when I move on. I'd rather be remembered for what I give than what I kept. Thanks as always for sharing.
    1376 days ago
  • _LINDA
    Very interesting/ enlightening video on a**iction. Thank you for sharing it with us. Was an eye-opener! I would love the idea of a tiny house! I *on't min* a small space an* am getting ri* of anything I *on't nee* at the present time .
    When I finally get to traveling, making sure I carry the least amount of stuff necessary will *e vitally important too.
    emoticon emoticon
    emoticon on!
    PS some of my keys have stopped working -( Spell check no help either to replace missing ones
    1376 days ago
  • GABY1948
    emoticon blog, Don....and links emoticon for sharing!
    1376 days ago
    I do find the less mess I allow in my home, the less mess seems to trickle into my life. Spring is almost upon us and I find that I can hardly wait for the spring cleaning season.
    1376 days ago
    yes, most of need to downsize our lives.
    1376 days ago
    You made my morning, dear friend! Such a beautiful and thought-provoking look at life and contentment!

    Thanks for sharing the planet with me!!!
    1376 days ago
    This was great! Thanks Don. This gives me a little extra incentive to start downsizing my clutter. There's just too much "stuff" in my house! I know downsizing me has been pretty liberating... now if I could just do it with the house.
    1376 days ago
  • CATS_MEOW_0911
    Love it, Don! Downsizing is so freeing. I am making my plans for my tiny house and plan on living on the coast ion Washington. :)
    1376 days ago
  • BILLB000
    Right on Don. The whole concept of getting healthier in body should be followed by healthier perspectives and more nourishing choices in life. Healthy choices for the soul, so to speak. kind of like a cascade effect.

    I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts. You keep many folks on SP inspired, including me!
    1376 days ago
    Ever since I retired about 1-1/2 years ago, I have started gradually downsizing. It's not easy...but I think by taking my time doing it, I'm succeeding.

    Great blog, Don, as usual! emoticon
    1376 days ago
    This was a great Blog. Thank you Don

    emoticon emoticon emoticon I hope you DW don't mind me hugging you.
    1376 days ago
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