While taking A Million Steps on the Camino de Santiago, I had never been happier and never had less stuff. My pack weighed 22 pounds and was loaded with the basic necessities. On the second day of walking I started to purge items realizing that I had too much. Why do we spend so much time wanting and accumulating instead of finding renewable sources of happiness?
The Blind Boys of Alabama and Ben Harper slay an exceptional cover of the Johny Cash classic “Satisfied Mind.” Here are a few of my favorite lyrics:
How many times have you heard someone say If I had his money I could to things my way
Money can’t buy back your youth when you’re old Or a friend when your lonely or a love that’s grown cold
There are a million miles between my life and the man that slept under a bridge last night. The difference between my life and Donald Trump’s existence is inches. Once the basic needs of food and shelter are met, additional resources rarely create any sustainable level of personal satisfaction. At some point, the excess becomes more of a burden than a blessing. Greed instills fear of not having enough. When there is too much, fear of losing takes center stage. Never satisfied!
With all the advances in technology, the 61 second minute has never been cracked. How much of your time is consumed by chasing more power, a bigger paycheck, more status, a bigger home, or shiny new wheels? Madison Avenue sells a life of unattainable dreams shrouded in having more stuff. How about changing your wants and diverting your most precious commodity to something that really matters.
What is the return on two hours spent with your child at a local park? When was the last time you enjoyed an afternoon nap? Do you ever walk hand-in-hand with a lover in nature? These activities are great sources of happiness.
Always reevaluate your purpose on the hamster wheel of life. Do your actions lead to a satisfied mind?
A new friend, Elissa Greene, walked the Camino in 2014. She has an incredible talent for writing and shares her Camino stories on a great blog. Check her out at Sometimes She Travels.