There was a time I was normal. That meant when the weekend rolled around, I'd spend my precious free time at the mall buying things. I worked so I could buy things, lots of things. I accumulated large quantities of clothes and personal items. I didn't think much of it. Then after living abroad for three years and coming back home, I had to leave 90% of the things I accumulated there. The 10% I took home with me, I found out months later, are also things I didn't need anyway. And so I started trying to live with less, to explore minimalistic living, to reduce my consumption and impact in this world. I worked little by little-- and I still do-- to go back to basics. What I experienced when I started to live with less was that not only did I get more free time, but that my life also felt lighter. I no longer had much worries or anguish. I was no longer attracted to chaotic situations. I was no longer putting myself in dramatic relationships.
I found that in my experience, focusing on my ego and my attachments, my small self and the desire to impress led to a feeling of heaviness. When I shifted my focus on something bigger than me, in my case it's living in a way that causes lesser harm to others, it was as if a weight had been lifted off and I lived with more comfort and ease. It doesn't mean things are perfect or that I control everything around me. It just means I no longer feel that life is a burden to carry. There is lightness, and consequently, I developed the confidence that what I do matters-- my vegan advocacy, my environmental advocacy, my rights advocacy-- they all matter.
How much have we deviated from a life of basics? How have we complicated it unnecessarily to feed the small ego self? How have we created heaviness that put pressure we don't need in the first place? If we want ease and lightness in our lives, then the practice is to shift our attention away from the small self and on to something that is bigger than us. And be the expression of the divine be God or our connection with others, it is here that we would feel uplifted. We lift up others, and as a result, we lift up ourselves too. To live life lightly is our birthright. Go and claim it.