I didn’t realize that it would be so difficult saying “good-bye”. For years I’ve been “Keeping up with the Jones” without realizing it. I thought my old “hippy”, back-to-nature values were still in tact. I didn’t realize that I depended upon the Jones’ as mileposts – people to look up to and strive to be like. I liked the feeling when I thought I was keeping up with them – walking into a networking event wearing a new designer outfit, dining with friends at an expensive restaurant, attending a charity ball … I thought I was humble. I didn’t buy a huge home and expensive jewelry. I recycled and ate healthy. I supported the right charities. Oh, I knew I had a lot of stuff. It seemed OK, though. I needed a value-realignment.

Many of us are realizing that we were finding joy in “stuff” that left us empty. As our stuff is taken away it’s causing us to reevaluate our needs and dreams. And most of us are finding that we didn’t need all of it. Our dreams were askew. Shopping does not need to be our number one hobby. In the April 6 issue of Time Magazine Anderson said, “It’s time now to be more artisan-enterpriser and less prospector-speculator, to return from Oz to Kansas, to become fully reality-based again.”

What is reality now? Some of my clients are in a state of semi-shock from the quick shift in lifestyle. They are feeling the lack – the void left when major aspects of their lifestyles fell away. They are not lamenting the loss. They are concerned that they do not know what to replace their old habits with. They’ve lost track of reality and don’t know where to find it. Here are some suggested places to look:

1. Self. Go within. I know it’s a cliché. But, try it. Sit for a while and remember who you are. Release your tension, your worry, your doubts, your relentless thoughts and feel YOU. Be you. It all starts from this place. Loving you – and I mean REALLY loving – is the only core to build upon.

2. Being and sharing with others. We’re here to learn and to grow from each other, but spend a great deal of time running from task to task and appointment to appointment. Hang out with your partner, friends, family members, business associates… Smile and talk to the bank teller. Know the name of the person who delivers your mail everyday. Smile at the person next to you in traffic. (OK, that’s a leap, but it may catch on.)

3. Nature. It’s everywhere. The birds and animals are watching you. Really. They know who you are if you live in their neighborhood. Know them. Appreciate the trees, flowers, and even the insects. Not only does nature support you physically, it can nourish the soul if you let it.

4. Spend time on your hobbies. If you don’t have a hobby find one, or two or three. It’s OK to read for pleasure. Garden. Cook. Paint. Hike. Bike. Go bowling…

5. Humor yourself. Laughing is food for the heart and soul. A smile brightens everyone’s day. Especially your own. Milton Berle said, “Laughter is an instant vacation.” Take one.

6. Be grateful for what you have, who and what you are. When you live in grace, you have it all.
A few weeks ago we had some friends over for dinner. We didn’t cook the usual gourmet spread served in the dining room. We made pizza and ate from our laps in the living room. We played a board game that had us laughing and learning about each other. I’ll always remember that night. Thinking back there were so many dinners out in fine restaurants with friends. How many do I remember?

I’m not giving up my fine dining. We still dine out occasionally. I still shop. I just do it now with discretion. I appreciate what I have. I’ve found clothes in my closet that I’d forgotten about, and new ways to wear them. I’ve given up my 30-minute meal time limit, and take time to enjoy the preparation. I call my friends more often and don’t multitask while talking. I notice when I’m tempted to say, “Sorry, I didn’t have time.” I know I had a choice of how to spend my time, and next time I’ll make the one that truly feeds me. I have time for the people in my life now, and for me.

While I’m not keeping up with anyone anymore, I’m admiring loving looks between old friends and the laughter of children. Who were the Jones’ anyway?

Author's Bio: 

Deborah Hill has been actively involved in the healing & coaching of others throughout her adult life; first as a Registered Nurse and Nurse-Midwife, and finally as an intuitive coach, author, speaker, teacher, energetic therapist and artist. Her extensive life experiences include 4 degrees in science and psychology, 18 years as an entrepreneur running her own business, and raising her wonderful, grown daughter as a single parent.

Deborah has extensively studied many forms of natural and traditional healing, as well as counseling, coaching and spiritual disciplines with several teachers over the past 35 years.