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There are typically mixed blessings and hidden benefits in all of our perceived and sometimes humble circumstances.

I have always preferred the simpler and minimalistic way of living. Money would go toward a guitar before it’d go toward a car. Sadly,vI recently had to liquidate most of my studio buddies. Transitions and changes…

I lived in a tiny carriage house for five years — that I would sometimes resent, but mostly spend time away from; walking, photo-snapping, listening to audiobooks and settling into one of a few favorite cafes to ponder and write.

The car is reliable but a little beat up… with a good stereo to listen to and sing along with my songs. An aging iMac in my studio requires an external LCD monitor after numerous attempts at repairing its failed display. A couple of hardware upgrades over the years keeps it plenty useful for my music production, photography, video editing and streaming entertainment… Sold the iPad and laptop that were largely redundant.

For food, it’s generally a mix of veg and cheese, with a bit of meat. Without planning it, I seem to eat mostly raw, small meals. I’ve tried the strict vegetarian and even vegan styles. They all suit me fine, and I’ll probably change it up once in a while. Ethically, it’s harder and harder to eat anything of industrial origin. Yet, somewhere along the line I started thanking the animals for their sharing and sacrifice and if they were ill-treated that none of that becomes me, and that they rest peacefully and free.

The blessing of a limited budget here is the options to buy junk I may have enjoyed in my youth isn’t there, thus habits are formed while visiting fewer and fewer aisles at the grocery store.

If I had a budget for alcohol, I might use it up. If I could get a car loan, I would be making payments. Going forward, fuel for the car is important for exploring, a mortgage maybe if I find a suitable home base, and of course it’ll be fun to travel abroad more – but here in my back yard are countless wonders I have yet to wander, and in walking is a deliberate observant pace.

There’s a lot of lies we buy and buy into, such as the fictitious need for everyone to own one of their own… everything. We’ve made millionaires of the now ubiquitous self-storage providers, to store our dust-collecting excess.

A lot of what we may believe we cannot afford is likely what we don’t even need. Skip the commercials and ignore the magazines and newspapers if you’re only ever feeling like there is never enough. Remember how short-lived the excitement was when you bought that new thing?

Most excitement and newness in life is in the working at, the journey to, and not in the having and achieving and acquiring and arriving. Isn’t that interesting? Life is always in movement, and stagnation is impossible (and boredom is an unimaginative insult).

Therefore, we are happiest in motion: always learning, challenging ourselves, facing chosen obstacles or those that show up because we idled too long. The most practiced meditator needs that next errant thought to observe and let pass and claim no attachment to… The “void” is massively powerful, and just as it is in music, must exist for the notes to sing out and have any substance or relevance.

Look again. Question your perspective. Perhaps what is missing will allow more light to shine on what really is there, and what really is important.

Solvitur ambulando