Less Is More


This past fall my family moved to Boston for a semester. We packed our bare necessities, and drove 1800 miles to an unfurnished apartment for the next six months. We had no dishwasher and shared a laundry machine with the landlord. We borrowed furniture and shopped at thrift shops to finish out our temporary home. We were on an adventure... 

We had chosen a simplified lifestyle. With fewer things and less commitments to manage we had time to think, explore and hang out with family and friends. I spent my time painting, visiting museums and meeting other artists and having discussions with friends. I shed distractions and deeply contemplated my artistic purpose. 
Every day I listened to books and took walks. The book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeowndeeply affected me. The author spoke about reducing any unnecessary obligations and fulfilling only the essentials of his job at work. He found more time for his family, focused on his health. He simplified and focused. As a result was more successful in all parts of his life. He felt deep happiness.
The idea that keeping ourselves too busy is a form of learned helplessness, has made me think of how I ‘busy’ my life. 
When I got back to Dallas I changed my business model. I left a wonderful gallery after seven years to be able to interact directly with my art collectors. I reduced the sizes of my art classes to focus on my students. In my work I am revisiting old themes with a new vision and allowing new found freedom and concentration to enter my painting. I see the results slowly appearing.  My paintings feel more revealing, my teaching is transforming me and my interactions feel more profound.  
Less is More. By prioritizing my activities to the bare essentials, a new level of understanding has begun to surface. I am trying to listen my inner voice and see what truly inspires me. The hardest part of addition by subtraction is that it asks me to let go of some things that I like in order to make room for new growth. This is not easy work but it is deeply rewarding. This new level of observation has shown me that everything I need is right in front of me. There is abundance in simplicity. What are you ready to let go of? Marianne