That first breath…

When you decide to simplify your life, to do away with the longing and chasing after material wealth, there comes space. A moment in your life where all you can do is breathe, and sit still, and wonder, What next?

What do I do now?

What can I fill my life with now?

If you, like me, spent so many hours and days and years filling your life with clutter and meaninglessness, once you wash it all away and begin to say no, the world suddenly begins to feel vast and incomprehensible and somehow scary.


Before I simplified my life…

I spent my spare hours shopping…or planning my next free hours shopping.

When the shops weren’t open I sat at home and “entertained” myself – with the television, with ready-made music, with the internet, with movies custom made for my demographic. 

When I felt like going out there was alcohol, and food, and all kinds of entertainment to be bought…for a price.

When I wanted to get exercise there were gyms to be had where I didn’t have to worry if it was cold or hot or raining or snowing. When I wanted to run or walk there were treadmills. When I wanted to fly there were planes. 

When I wanted to relax I could get away from it all and go on holiday somewhere “nice” – as if where I already am isn’t nice.


When you begin to question everything you ever did, the threads of the tapestry begin to unravel. They unravel fast, and then the holes begin to show.

Start peeking through the holes and a whole new world becomes visible that you never even suspected might exist.

The Pazyryk Carpet - the oldest known knotted carpet, 400-300 B.C.
The Pazyryk Carpet – the oldest known knotted carpet, 400-300 B.C.

That first breath is frightening. It’s a breath of self-awareness. Now I am me. Just me. If I am no longer a product, a consumer, a cog in the machine, I am freedom – I can choose to be whatever I want. 

So instead of spending hours shopping, I can spend hours thinking. Or meditating.  Or sleeping. Or doing nothing at all.

Instead of being entertained, I can entertain myself. Now I have that free time to get back to my composition – I write choral music, but never seemed to find the time for it before.

Instead of going out, I can spend more time with my family, deepening my connections with the people I love.

When I want exercise and relaxation, I can walk outside. Or run. The weather and sunshine will make me feel good! And I don’t need holidays overseas, not when I’ve seen so little of my local area. Maybe I should get to know my own town first!

I’m learning to breathe now. The fresh air is sharp and makes me feel alive.

I’m waking up.

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