What you don’t need

I’m knee-deep in the process of manuscript revision. At first, it seemed impossible to remove 30,000 words from my 120,000-word story.

30,000 words. That’s a small book.

But I did it. And there’s a tipping point.

Just like cleaning your closet.

The mountain looms large and you trudge hard. But at some point, you reach the top. You settle in for a moment. You admire the view.

You suddenly feel refreshed.

And then you pick up momentum. The downhill is exhilarating. You can clearly see where you’re going. You know the words, paragraphs… entire chapters that need to go.

You see the clothes that are ready for donation. The items in your home that pull your energy rather than restore it.

And you’re invigorated.

It’s the same with our diet. We can pile all the superfoods and herbs we want into our bodies, but if we’re heaping them on top of a mess of dietary choices and poor relationship with our food, it all becomes burdensome.

And don’t think spiritual pursuits are any different.

You can add all the practices you want but if you’re running from Qigong to yoga class, racing through lunch to get to meditation practice, chastising yourself for not chanting, you will find little benefit from your practice — no matter how advanced it is.

You don’t need to find the perfect herb. The flattering outfit. The most advanced practice. You need to clear out the congestion.

Lighten the load.

So you can see where you are and know where you’re going.



Maybe you don’t need to add yet another course or class. Maybe you simply need to deepen the knowledge you have. Acknowledge your expertise and put it to use.

I recently attended a day-long workshop. By noon, I was charged up and ready to go. I’d identified the areas I wanted to improve and had a plan. By two in the afternoon, my brain was so full of information that I couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

So I did what you do when you’re overwhelmed.


Take a look at what you have.

And decide what you don’t need.

Move along those 3 year-old unworn clothes, tags still attached. Remove the scenes of your book that don’t move the story forward or add any development or insight. Take the crap out of your diet. I’ve got nothing against a good cheeseburger, but how many meals a week are on the run or fast food?

Remove the distractions, the energy drains. You do not have the time and attention to read the 84 blogs to which you subscribe. Pick 5 that you love and let the rest go. Use that extra time and energy to make a great meal with family, take a walk in nature, volunteer, or have tea with a friend.

Let go of what you don’t need. Move it along with love and gratitude. Once you crest that mountain, life opens up.

“Live simply. Be joyful. Help others.” ~ Lama Zopa Rinpoche


Chickadee: Hand made stamp, acrylic over watercolour by Stephanie Hrehirchuk


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