Life Lessons Learned By Living With Less

We have a serious drought here in California. It reminds me of the Seventies when I was in my early teens and we had a severe water shortage. I lived in the Bay area at the time and the entire community joined in on the conservation efforts. In our house, shower time was limited and toilets were infrequently flushed. For some reason, the biggest hurdle I had to overcome was not running the water while brushing my teeth. I don’t know why, but it took me a long time to make this change (Perhaps I suffered from water entitlement) but once I did, I never went back.

My neighborhood in San Diego doesn’t really reflect many signs of the serious drought we face. When I go out on long walks, I see water running off landscaping into the street and people hosing down their driveways. Maybe they weren’t here for the last drought, or haven’t considered that the lack of rainfall constitutes a major problem.

I have shut off our sprinklers and large buckets sit in my bathtub to collect the cold water that runs while the hot water reaches my shower. My son takes this water out to the garden. I often take cold showers as well. Apparently, they are quite good for one’s health.

The planet, and life as we know it, is changing so we might as well make this water shortage into an adventure.

There is an interesting process that happens when resources are dwindling. Shortages can elicit an incredible fountain of creativity and result in amazing insights about life. I have found this to be true these past few years as my family has adjusted to living with less of just about everything. Human beings tend to have a lot of fluff and padding in our lives. I certainly had fluff packed all around myself in the old life, and it kept me nicely protected from seeing some truths about myself, which I suppose was the point of having it.

A turning point about my stuff remains vividly branded on my brain and occurred when we were packing up our house to move. This was just a few months after my husband’s suicide. Because it was a short sale, I was at the mercy of the bank with absolutely no control over the closing date. Every day it was moved up, so we had less and less time to get out.

Going into the sale, my attitude was that every last piece of furniture was leaving the house with me, come hell or high water (not a very attractive stance, I know.) As each day passed, however, I began to glimpse the reality of what lugging the entirety of everything with me meant, and my frame of mind began to radically shift.

I simply couldn’t take it all with me.

One day, I sat on the beautifully carved wooden couches I had designed in our outdoor room, wallowing in a mixture of self-pity and sadness. A woeful sight, I’m sure. I truly didn’t want to leave my beloved house, or the couches, but there was no other option. It dawned on me that dragging these behemoth pieces of furniture into my new life did not make sense.

Into my mind popped a vision: I was tethered to gigantic boulders. Then, I heard a very quiet voice whisper, “Just let it all go.”

All go?” I quipped. How on earth could I let all of my precious stuff go?

Piece by precious piece, is how.

Although I still get sidetracked by my wants and desires, I think it’s true that we need so much less than we think. The Minimalists speak about this beautifully on their blog. Of course, in having less stuff, we have more space to fully see who we are. Let’s be honest, our stuff keeps us busily looking elsewhere, preferably anywhere but directly at ourselves.

So, living with less can be a scary proposition, or a blissful adventure into personal freedom.

What does your stuff protect you from? Have you thought about living with less? I would love to hear about it.

Sending love and light,


Who is Dianna Bonny?

Hi, my name is Dianna Bonny. It’s my mission to candidly share my journey with you. For me, it’s all about the healing: to create a radiant healing energy for others who have befallen a similar fate. Together, we can forge beautiful lives of belonging and connection. Thanks for joining me today! I look forward to hearing from you.


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