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Live Large, Dwell Small

I am in the process of tiny-sizing my life and have never lived larger. One day I just said, ‘Enough is enough.’ And, actually, I’ve since found out that enough is more than that. Going tiny became my mission the day I asked myself this: What is essential? In looking at my cluttered life, all those things […]

dwell small

I am in the process of tiny-sizing my life and have never lived larger. One day I just said, ‘Enough is enough.’ And, actually, I’ve since found out that enough is more than that.

Going tiny became my mission the day I asked myself this: What is essential? In looking at my cluttered life, all those things I didn’t need, it quickly became apparent to me that I wanted much less. I became determined to have only what was absolutely necessary. More importantly, I made a promise to myself to lose any extra baggage that squelched my spirit or hampered a more carefree way of living.

This is the mini version of how putting my life on a healthy diet helped me drop five sizes. Not dress sizes (I wish!). Stress sizes. Today could be the day you say “enough is enough.” It is more than possible to leave here feeling lighter than you have felt in a long time. All it takes is choosing to make one tiny step towards living largely by dwelling small.

Does my life depend on this?

Begin by asking yourself, as I did, “What is essential?”

My Essentials

Things I Don’t Want To Live Without

  • 1Friends and Family
  • 2My Four-Legged Children
  • 3Beauty and Wonder
  • 4A Peaceful Sanctuary to Call Home
  • 5Meaningful Service and Giving that Enriches the Lives of Others
  • 6Faith, Hope, and Love
  • 7Nourishment (of body, mind, spirit, and soul)

It is better to want what you have than to have what you want.–Philemon

Living Essentially

Means Wanting What I Already Have

It doesn’t take much to live well. At the most essential level, it is all about connections—staying connected, or getting connected, to people who enrich your life. Along those lines, I know I need to be connected to nature, to beauty, to wonder, to a mission that helps someone breathe easier.

I found this quotation that sums up one pathway to living more essentially: It is better to want what you have than to have what you want. That’s the heart of streamlining our lives. I’m working on reducing my life to the few things that really fit that guiding principle. When I have successfully achieved that, truly wanting what I have chosen to keep while ditching those things that are not essential, I will have right-sized my life.

On Living Large

Here’s another question we might ask ourselves: “What would it take for me to live large (or larger)?”

When you are living large, what does it look like?

What are you feeling?

Think for a moment about the actions or experiences that enlarge your spirit, that enhance your sense of being incredibly alive. What are you doing at those times? Where are you?

Having reflected on this, I know I always feel most expansive, most buoyant, most fully alive, when I am immersed in nature. On the days when I am outdoors, a significant shift occurs. While moving through the woods, or floating on water, with my senses vibrating on high, I feel the greatest sense of well-being wash over me. It is here that I feel most at home, most me, most connected, and most embraced by beauty and wonder.

Those kinds of moves often necessitate condensing our belongings. I was doing that for a while. Bigger home to smaller home. Smaller home to a condo. When I moved to my current mountain home, unfortunately, I had to acquire more stuff (mainly tools and home improvement related gear). So now I begin the journey again (just as soon as all of those projects are completed). Messy, messy clutter when you live in a construction zone!

People say we’re searching for the meaning of life. I don’t think that’s it at all. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive.–Joseph Campbell

A Garage Sale of the Soul

To truly create the breathing space necessary for living large, one might have to consider hosting a garage sale of the soul.

Tiny-sizing is not just about Possession Reduction

The material aspects of dwelling small are more readily apparent than the invisible elements. Tiny-sizing is more than just a reduction of physical stuff. It is also more than a sloughing off of debt or obligation. It might mean an escape from the things that hold us hostage. Dejunking our lives can mean clearing out our interior dwelling places, as well as our attics and our closets. To truly create the breathing space for living large, one might have to consider hosting a garage sale of the soul.

This might mean getting rid of our stored up emotional knickknacks. I think of it as a kind of white elephant sale. We’ve got these tchotchkes that we don’t want anymore, but how can we palm them off? Who wants the chipped or cracked baubles we have hoarded within over the years? What do we do with them?

Making Room for Life

Tiny-sizing our inner dwellings might require:

  • 1Forgiving someone
  • 2Releasing a hurt
  • 3Burning a barrel full of regrets
  • 4Recycling unhappiness

Tiny-sizing Takes Time

Some Tiny Thoughts in Closing

To attempt to tiny-size overnight would be totally overwhelming. I’m taking it five minutes at a time. Prioritizing is the key. My first priority is to return to debt-free living. Since my home mortgage is my debt, I am working on a plan to eliminate that financial obligation. Next on the priority list is to build a tiny house without a bank loan. A third priority is to determine the viability of developing a community wealth enterprise that will enable kindred spirits with similar values to perhaps co-pioneer an ecovillage. I envision an environmentally-friendly cooperative based on lifelong learning and healthy living. It will be made possible by the tiny-sizing of tasks through a collaborative sharing of talents and resources. The best way to enlarge one’s own life is by spreading the only wealth that really matters—dwelling in meaningful relationship with one another.

Tiny Links

“…we’re living in a tiny house and we’re debt free. I’m a writer and photographer, so now I’m just doing work that I really love and that resonates with me, and I just have a lot more time and space to not only engage in work that I like but to spend with the people that matter most.” ~Tammy Strobel



What do you consider essential?

What would make your list?

You have seen my preliminary list. How would your list of essentials be similar or different from mine?

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