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Joyful Life Experiences

Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by tapping sandwiches all over your body.

–George Carlin

I heard an ad for a retail clothing store that encouraged shoppers to come in and find that magical clothing item that would sparkle, or something along these lines. Then I saw these words “Filling your home with joy adds up” on a brochure for another retail chain. While I have no issue with any of us enjoying material belongings or shopping, I continue to hear from clients and people that I meet that what they really desire are meaningful life experiences. Many of us seem to be waking up to the reality that there can and must be a flow and balance point among belongings that inspire and support us, high-quality relationships with beloved ones, colleagues, and clients, purposeful service, and meaningful life experiences.

I regularly encourage clients to create that list of activities and life experiences they would love to have and take action to make these happen. Most of this does not involve many hours of shopping for items that a few months down the road would become clutter in their home or office.

What do you really want to do with the precious time you have on our planet? After you clear belongings that you no longer need, use, or love, do you genuinely desire to replace them all? Maybe you do and this nourishes you on a deep level. I celebrate that and can see that the retailers will be thrilled with their latest tag lines to inspire you to shop. I really hope you also can create time for other activities you enjoy. I know it’s not an either/or situation.

For others, however, you may want to pause before you “add up.” The labor of love that clearing clutter involves often creates an inner shift. You experience greater mental clarity after so many months or maybe years of confusion. You also may experience greater freedom and peace of mind after liberating your life of belongings that you no longer needed, used, or loved. Your relationships with the people you live with may be much more harmonious because you are no longer stressed by the physical clutter.

In this open space, you may not ever be inspired to “fill up” again. You may be much more discerning about what you purchase and bring into your home or life. Many of you may discover that you’d rather spend your time and resources on experiences such as travel or dinner gatherings with friends. Maybe you’ll invite friends over for a Laugh Out Loud Party. You also may spend blocks of time in nature enjoying the trees, plants, and flowers. Rather than purchasing an item of clothing, you’ll invest in a spa day or a class you’ve wanted to take.

I encourage you to do the deeper dive of knowing what you really want for your life, what you truly value, and the pathways you can take to create this.

If you’ve freed your space, heart, mind, and soul of all that no longer serves you, ask yourself now what does serve your life, purpose, current dream. If you are in process of clearing away unneeded things, thoughts, activities, and unhealthy relationships, I applaud your progress and encourage you to continue asking yourself what really brings joy to your heart, to your precious life. Listen to your heart for it will reveal the truth to you. Begin to create your unique expression of harmony among the things, activities, and relationships in your life. Know that you are enough. From inside of you, you can find fulfillment, grace, and peace.

Laura Staley
Laura Staleyhttp://www.cherishyourworld.com
The founder of Cherish Your World, Laura Staley passionately helps people thrive by guiding them to a holistic transformation of space, heart, mind, body, and soul. Laura knows that there’s a relationship between the conditions of our homes or workplaces and the quality of our lives. Trained and certified with the Western School of Feng Shui and seasoned by almost two decades of working with a variety of clients, Laura uses her intuition and expertise to empower her clients to produce remarkable results in their lives. Her trifecta of serving people includes speaking, writing, and compassionate listening. As a columnist, Laura writes personal essays focused on self-discovery, feng shui, emotional health, and transformations from the inside out. Laura is the published author of three books: Live Inspired, Let Go Courageously and Live with Love: Transform Your Life with Feng Shui, and the Cherish Your World Gift Book of 100 Tips to Enhance Your Home and Life. Prior to creating her company, Laura worked as a fulltime parent and an assistant professor at Ohio Wesleyan University. She earned a Ph.D. in political science from The Ohio State University. Her joys in life include laughing with loved ones, dancing, reading, meditating, running, being in nature, and listening to music she loves. She resides in Black Mountain, NC with lovable dog, Layla. Laura is a contributing author to the inspiring book Crappy to Happy: Sacred Stories of Transformational Joy

15 COMMENTS

    • Yes, Larry, what a meaningful insight-that we don’t want to burden other people in our lives with belongings we’ve accumulated. I remember a participant at one of my talks/workshops— she spent a year of her life clearing her dad’s house after he died. She now gifts experiences to beloved ones during the holidays-concert tickets, amusement park excursions, etc… She no longer has anything wrapped under the tree-her choice born of her lived experience. Each person must find his/her own sweet spot of balance.
      I really like the 6 month check in with items. Thank you so much for your insights-and for passing along that 6 month tip that has worked for you! Happy Thanksgiving, my friend!

  1. Laura, your is a very meaningful article. The biggest joy I had in life was 33 years ago when my first child was born. Coincidentally his 33rd birthday is this Friday. Shopping never did much for me although the new phone I just bought and the first pair of new winter boots I just purchased were nice additions. One of my greatest joys is interacting with nature especially birds. Our Tuxedo Cat brings love and companionship. Writing is also something I really enjoy. For peace, I turn to prayer.

    • Ah the experience of being a parent continues to be a rich life experience-one of the best things I’ve ever done with my life energy-Joel. I join you in that place of joy. Happy Birthday to your son! You describe a lovely blend of a few belongings you treasure and several life experiences that bring you great fulfillment. Finding that sweet spot inside of you among belongings that support your life and experiences that bring much joy. I love what you’ve shared here. Thank you!!

  2. You made it Suzana, you made it because you made the journey to the centre of yourself, which is the one worthwhile journey in life, in search of that original voice we all guard deep inside. You listened to that little voice inside you that kept telling you … who you really are … the voice we often do not want to hear.
    True freedom does not lie in doing whatever the hell we want, but living as creatures free from fear of bringing to surface our true nature. Thank you Suzana! Thank you Laura Staley. Marvelous article!

    • Beautiful additional supportive comments, Massimo. Thank you! I especially love this golden nugget-“True freedom does not lie in doing whatever the hell we want, but living as creatures free from fear of bringing to surface our true nature.” YES! YES! YES! Living aligned with our hearts, our values, our gifts and passions… I really appreciate your wonderful contributive thoughts for Suzana (and the rest of us who have found greater freedom in our lives). :)

    • Thank you Massimo, I owe it all to you for your influential mentorship. I know I didn’t make it easy for you ? we overcame many things together and you stood by me. So thank you for being who you are and for never giving up on me or us ❤ I am confident we will do great things that benefit us from an inner perspective as well as others and I’m looking forward to walking this new chapter beside you. Thanks again!!!

      • Thank you Suzana. The credit is only yours. This is the truth. I like to think that the inner journey is similar to the work that the first human beings on Earth used to do once, to light a fire, you know? They used to struck and beaten a stone against another, relentlessly, till the spark … the good one. Fire needs wood but to flare up it must wait for the wind. That’s why when I can express my view and suggest something … the metaphor that I like to use is … always look for fire and wind of your true self in your life, because without fire and wind of your true inner self, our days are not very different from a mediocre imprisonment. Thank you Suzana for being who you are.

  3. You know what Laura, you are spot on. I have donated 75% of what I own….if not more, decluttered material things and people that aren’t meant to be part of my future journey…., whether personal or business and I’m doing what I want, not what others think I should be doing. I’m focusing on my health and well being not only physically but at 360° and I have the confidence in myself to create something else and start fresh. In 8 days I start this new journey, in a new country overseas and I can’t wait. I can honestly say that from an inner perspective I have never felt better about making this change and going for it no matter what or where it may take me.

    What many do not realize is that living abroad is actually much less expensive than in North America and even though in many of those countries, they may not have financial wealth…..they have something that $ can’t buy.

    Great reminder and food for thought for many. Thank you!!!

    • Oh, Suzana, I celebrate your amazing process, commitment to declutter your space and life!! This takes great courage, focus, and commitment along with many action steps. Isn’t the freedom you live now amazing?!?! Your results speak volumes!! I’m really thrilled for you. And that you’re off to an adventure overseas. So great. Yes, traveling to other parts of the world we can quickly realize that accumulating material belongings often is not what other people value. Travel safe and continue to savor your joy/freedom in being alive-unburdened by what did not make your heart sing! Yey!!!

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