Some time ago, I entered a contest that involved photographing my neighborhood every day for a month. I often walked this route, so the task involved only the addition of a small camera in my pocket.
I began by looking for the perfect lighting. The perfect shadows. The perfect configuration of trees and rocks against the hillside. And, when I was lucky, I would capture wildlife in the distance.
But I soon began to notice other things, too — things I had never noticed while walking this path before. I noticed the stillness and quiet of the mornings that burst with bright sunlight and an energy of a day just beginning. The colors were vivid, the horizon was clear and crisp.
I noticed the variation in size and color of the rock that formed the path. I noticed the haze and clouds that would roll in for the afternoons, causing shadows to dance in the wind and ultimately, disappear with the sun.
I noticed the streaks of color that splashed the sky, and the return of peace and calm in the evenings. I was seeing it all as though I had never set foot on that path before. I had a new perspective.
When we begin pursuing a more simple, intentional life, we obtain a new perspective. Here are six things we see differently:
1. We see happiness differently.
We begin to see the true source of joy and happiness … and it isn’t in the stuff we buy, keep, clean, organize, and maintain. Happiness is found in relationships with other people, pursuing our passions, acquiring experiences. Happiness is found in doing what we love, what matters to us … the meaningful in our lives. Once we realize stuff does not make us happy, we obtain a new perspective that touches nearly every aspect of our lives.
2. We see stuff differently.
We attain a new appreciation and respect for the things we do have. We realize what “enough” looks like. Enough means our needs are met. We acquire or keep only those things that are the important and the meaningful in our lives. And we take care of these things. A basement stacked with boxes, overflowing cabinets, piles on the floor, and stuff scattered on every surface is not “enough.” It is excess. It is suffocating. It is preventing us from living our lives.
3. We see money differently.
Money becomes a means to an end … a means to enough. We begin to see money as an instrument to attain those things we need, and then purchase those things or experiences that bring value and joy to our lives. This insight allows us to shift how our money is spent. It may also allow us to save more.
4. We see time differently.
Time is interesting. When we declutter our stuff and our schedules, we gain more time. But we also begin to recognize what a scarce and precious commodity time really is. Perhaps for the first time, we are in control of our time. We choose how we allocate it, and we can choose to dedicate more time to pursuing the experiences that bring us joy
5. We see relationships differently.
Our relationships become deeper and more meaningful. We let go of comparisons. And sometimes, we realize we must let go of people who are not positive influences within our lives. Throughout my journey, I have made new friends, grown closer to old friends, and said goodbye to a few friends, too.
When we remove the physical, mental, and emotional clutter, we have more time and energy to devote to others. But, we make certain the people we welcome into our lives bring a positive, caring, encouraging influence. And, we must strive to be this influence in the lives of others as well.
6. We see life differently.
We see the possibilities. We see the happiness. We see the hope. We see the joy. We see that this was all here, all along. It was just buried under our stuff.
Sometimes the best way to start your journey is to get a different perspective. This can be as simple as seeing things through the lens of a camera. Walk around your home and take pictures. Spend some time looking at them.
What do you see?
Do you see clutter? Do you see possibilities?
Do you see stress? Do you see joy?
Do you see regret? Do you see hope?
Sometimes all we need is to see our lives in a different way. All we need is a new perspective.