"I'm a better person when I have less on my plate"
It's a quote from Elizabeth Gilberts best selling novel, Eat Pray Love. I love both the book and the movie. I watched the movie again for the 3rd time the other night. There are so many life lessons to take in but its love itself really. Outside of the movie, the quote was born as an 'on' and 'off the plate' worry list. Elizabeth felt that if there was need for a worry to be a real concern at a particular moment, then it would be 'on the plate', then she would write it down on a piece of paper in a column and vice versa for 'off the plate' concerns. Absolutely love this and will definitely have to test it, but it also made me question my values. I mean, why wouldn't it right?
Life is a journey and how we choose to map this is personal but sadly, it's often one worry at a time for many of us these days. Then again, life is full of pressure and augmented expectation, often crippling our state of mind and our bank account along with it. As we need more, the cost of living increases and our quality of life slips. It's a slippery mess into need and greed if you ask me. We end up living month to month and hand to mouth but not really living at all.
I happen to live in Cape Town, near to a few developing communities. Some would call these areas shanty towns, townships or poor, underprivileged communities. They have less on their plates, don't own their own homes or cars and have much less than most,. And yet, they are the happiest most generous people and although many have reason to feel concerned about the future, their living conditions and cost of living, worry seems not to be big on the agenda. Community, family and friends matter most and this is their purpose. A full plate of honest intention and cultural values.
Have the rest of us lost our way? Does happiness come at the cost of our selfish and excessive lifestyles?
The township down the street is called Masiphumele situated in Sun Valley, where the sun always shines.
The community was first known as Site 5, then later renamed by its residents, to 'Masiphumele', a Xhosa word meaning "let us succeed". Doesn't this speak volumes! Here, a community living in underdeveloped living circumstances reassures those living here, that they all have a part to play in change. That purpose is a collective. That there is light at the end of our tunnel if we strive for it together.
It's estimated that around 45,000 people live here. Amenities are limited. There's no police station, a small understaffed clinic, an overcrowded school and nearly 50% are infected with HIV or TB. Life is no bed of roses in Masi and the people here push on to work a little and live a little. Happiness is not what you own or want to own. It's a state of mind. You see this clearly here. Most will want a better life, yes, but they spare no expense on their happiness ever. There are lessons to learn here.
I am a better person when I have less on my plate too. I start appreciating what I own and realise I have too much already. I start to question why I ever need to shop again. I question what I have that serve a purpose and what truly makes me happy, but perhaps the greatest learning here should be about our core values. The ones that centre us and make us whole as an individual and as a collective. Today, I urge you to reflect a little. Take time to look around to discover more about yourself and what you value. I believe if the world connected harder on values, we would work a lot smarter as a united front and there might be less worry and more happy out there. It's a pity money makes the world go round.
"Less is more me" My favourite new quote ;)
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