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Day 13 - The Spiritual Lesson of Subtraction

Updated: Oct 27, 2019

I am finding that what I really want is to spend time with my kids, write, hike and read books. That is all. For the first time in a very long time, I am enjoying quiet and less to do. This is funny because I still have way too much to do.

It is amazing what I learn from subtraction. I might even say that I learn most from the loss of things in my life...

I have learned a great deal over the years by the absence of things in my life. Death. Moving. Break ups. Divorce. Quitting drinking. Foregoing Dating.

It seems when I peruse any type of self help literature these days it is all about adding things to my life. Hiking. Reading. Writing. Yoga. Spiritual retreats. Groups to join. All things to be added to an already overwhelming life. I know there are a lot of other voices clamoring to be heard from the minimalist camp. I think their message has depth and weight but struggles to be a side show to the all mighty capitalistic dogma of MORE! MORE NOW!

I will fully admit that last Xmas, I spent the entire time my kids were seeing their dad, decluttering my house drawer by drawer, room by room. I spent a lot of time alone. I went on walks alone in the woods with my dog. I was pretty much alone for the holidays and it was...LOVELY. I have a feeling of affirmation and fondness when I reflect back on that time. In fact, I loved it so much that I am spending this year's holiday painting all the rooms of my house. I know, I am a weirdo.

I think the reason that subtraction seems like the best path for me is because I have so completely over done the MORE thing. Whatever mechanism makes people think, feel or say, "I'm good" has forever been broken in me. My default answer to everything is to add in something new or the same but more of them. My ability to sit still and let things fall away was born weak and then suffered attrition in my early years. I think my first and most lasting message was "YOU are not ENOUGH. Add more." Now, I do not know if that was the message that was actually being communicated. It is just the one I heard, listened to and then ran with. So I spent the better part of my life searching for the next thing I could add to make me good enough. It has only been more recently, that I have been able to stop and see that I have always been enough...maybe just not enough of the stuff to give me the ability to be someone other than who I am. Funny, now I don't even know why that was ever my goal. It's a stupid goal. Who else could I have really been? At mid life, I can see that my only real job was to inhabit this body, mind and personality fully and let them all be authentic to me alone. God, did I get off track.

So just for today, I am enjoying the things being taken from my life: men, dating, partnering, meetings, text messages, dick pics, more interesting Friday and Saturday nights. What I am learning in their absence is far greater than what I learned from their addition. Seems that I may just be one of those people who can only find herself and hear her own voice when surrounded by less.

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