Commitment: Is the art of living in simplicity one way for us to deal with all the economic problems we are facing? If so, how?
Mary Carlomagno: Simplicity is certainly a way of life that resonates right now in our present economic time. As the country takes steps to "right" itself financially, so must we take stock of our expenses, our income and where we invest our time and our money. There is a tremendous opportunity here for growth and change.
Commitment: Can you share with us your own story of learning to live in simplicity?
Mary: As a recovering shopaholic, my journey began in my closet and worked its way out. I began in 2003 by shedding unnecessary facets of my life which led to significant life change. I learned the art of change by making small subtle changes everyday beginning with reigning in my shopping and spending addictions.
Commitment: If we want to make our lives better, why is it sometimes a better choice to subtract rather than add? Doesn't this go against everything in our culture?
Mary: Completely. But I think we are all witnessing what excess can lead to.
Commitment: A lot of people right now are feeling deprivation. What is the difference between deprivation and living simply?
Mary: Deprivation is not a choice, it often leads us to feel as if something is being kept from us. We need to realign our thinking where we put ourselves in charge of our own behavior, choices and decision making. Once we take the wheel so to speak, we actively choose to go without engaging our power muscles actively, instead of passively. Deprivation is passive, don't you agree?
Commitment: What are ten ways we can start to let go and live simply?
• Clear out your kitchen cabinet of all the things you have not used.
• Shop with a list .
• Research all purchases.
• Opt out of online newsletters .
• Stop scheduling activities that are no longer interested in .
• Take 15 minutes at the end of each day to organize your desk
• Consolidate your credit cards and eliminate half of them. • Stop multitasking .
• Assign a time of day that is cell phone free.
• Make sure you find time to exercise your body and mind each day
Commitment: How can we identify the things in our lives that are weighing us down and taking our energy? What are some ways to get rid of these things in our lives?
Mary: If you have the feeling that something is always losing, for example that yoga class, spending time with your kids, reading poetry.. etc. The thing that tugs at you each day is a good way to determine what is missing. Begin to realign our thoughts to get to those things.
Determining what is taking most of your time is one way. I always tell my shopping clients to look at their monthly bills, often where one spends their money is where one spends their time.
Commitment: What are some things we should treasure? How can we identify our treasures so we know what to keep?
Mary: Treasure is highly personal. There is a theory that says if you derive pleasure from an item, than keep it. What trips us up is that we feel the need to keep 10 of those. Pick a couple of good representations of the item and display them proudly.
Commitment: How can we turn our living space into something that symbolizes the health, growth and joy that lives in our minds, or we hope will someday live in our minds?
Mary: Surround yourself by the things that you love and give them enough space to be seen and enjoyed. Eliminate the clutter from the bottom up is a good place to start.
Commitment: How can we better gain control over the technology in our lives, rather than having it become a time-waster that saps our energy?
Mary: Make sure that technology is helping you not you helping it and do not be tempted to upgrade. Technology is personal so determine your needs and then find the machine that best serves that need.
Commitment: What are ten ways we can save money?
Mary: Use what you have. Be leery of stocking up too much. Borrow one time only items ( camping tent, evening dress). Resist "sale" "one time only" opportunity. Be aware of the difference between need and want. Cook your meals .
To purchase Secrets of Simplicity: Learn to Live Better with Less, click here.