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Each month a new inspirational, spiritual, or educational article by Alice McCall is posted.
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        November 2012

Less is Best – Even for the Holidays!

Several years ago when I left Atlanta, Georgia to live in Santa Rosa Beach. Florida; a local resident offered some advice, “I know you are used to living in a major city, but here, ‘less is best.’ Less is best at the beach!”

Over the years, this shared piece of wisdom has become ‘less is best’ not just at the beach, but everywhere. My move to the North Carolina Mountains two years ago has only reinforced this way of thinking.

Ever wonder how much is too much?  Many are finding themselves rethinking how many more years of hard work it will take just to own that special car, boat, or house. Others are finding themselves spending all their spare time maintaining a home that exceeds their needs. With a collective deep breath, we can step back and challenge old paradigms, because less truly is best.

Why not contemplate downsizing and being able to work less? Most people say, “Oh I couldn’t do that! What about my obligations?” That is the secret to this dilemma, ‘my’ obligations. They are not God’s obligations and they are not universal obligations, they are only ‘yours’. Recognizing the difference gives each person the opportunity to change them. The other secret is simply choosing to challenge those obligations and putting them in a balanced perspective.

It is natural to feel constrained by obstacles and circumstances at times, but change can be encouraged in these situations. Through focusing on positive thoughts, it is possible to gain a new perspective. Try thinking, “My obstacles are shifting now, the path to simplifying my life is open and clear.”  Consider this thought a powerful intention that has been set and can be reaffirmed whenever needed. To complete the affirmation thank God for removing any constraints. Put it out there for the Universe to hear!

Isn’t peace what everyone wants and strives for? Peace can’t be attained when life is filled with one should after another and one obligation after another. There are no shoulds and should nots except for what you create for yourself.   Feeling stressed, overloaded, overwhelmed, and exhausted? By looking at the shoulds that are in your life and reevaluating them, those feelings can be avoided.

Many are afraid to eliminate their shoulds or downsize their life. They hold onto thoughts like; “What will others think if I don’t keep up the same lifestyle?” or “Will I become bored with life if I’m not challenged by my obligations?” The better question to ask is; “What will I become?” This marks the beginning of a wonderful journey of discovery and growth, which is not boring at all!

It may be too extreme to go to ‘less is best’ all at once. Start by downsizing just a little and seeing how it feels. Remove one financial obligation and three shoulds over the next two months; the freedom and space that will be gained is profoundly exhilarating. Without those chosen obligations scattered throughout your life; stress levels lessen, making room for more peace and calmness each day. Concerns about how others view these changes will fade along with the old paradigms about keeping up with others’ expectations. With time, the initial fear about these changes with morph into enthusiasm for a new way of living and being. Moreover, as you journey on this path you will meet others who value the same thing – a simpler, healthier lifestyle.

These same principles can be utilized in every aspect of daily life, including the holidays. Preparing for the holidays can be stressful, exhausting, and sometimes even disappointing.  When the big day arrives, so much effort is spent meeting various expectations that little time is left to spend with family and friends.  

What could be done differently? Focus on ways to enjoy one another and let any expectations slip to the wayside. Evaluate what are the most overwhelming and time consuming aspects, and look for ways to lighten the load for everyone. Have an open discussion with those involved, stating the desire for a simpler celebration with a focus on quality time. If your family is resistant to change, start slowly. If only a few things are changed each year, most won’t even take notice. However, the rewards of more quality time with one another, and a more relaxed, fun day will be noticed by everyone!

Start now. Incorporate ‘less is best’ thinking and doing into this holiday season, and continue it throughout the year. The difference will be noticeable. It will be easier to be more joyful, and isn’t that what holidays are all about? Enjoy more joy!


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