Friday, August 09, 2013

Life is Series of Subtractions.

A blog-mate and I were exchanging emails about how she was giving up this 'n that and I was sharing with her what I had chosen to give up when I was reminded of a spiritual retreat I was on back in the day, when the facilitator mentioned he'd always thought life was about what we could add to it (addition) when actually it was the exact opposite (subtraction).

I've never forgotten that. We were all a bunch of recovered alcoholics there so we'd already let go of the "divil dhrink" but being told we would improve our lives greatly if we subtracted other stuff - Whut?, give up more? - had us just about running for cover.

But he was right. Now I'm listing some of what I've given up over the years since I first gave up alcohol. Much of it's not "stuff". It is behaviours and attitudes that do not serve me well no matter how cushy they feel. And some were not by choice but by circumstance.

Compulsive eating and/or restricting food
People pleasing (still working on that!)
Sex (not by choice!)
Abusive people
City living
Well paying work I found unfulfilling
Pharmaceutical crutches
Toxic relationships in the guise of "romance".
Unsupportive relationships.

I'm sure more will come to my mind.

I'll write about the additions I've made to replace these subtractions in another post for nature does abhor a vacuum.

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Anonymous Enna said...

Loyalty cards to shops and cafes. They have an ulterior motive in offering a few pence off if you join.

Fri Aug 09, 04:43:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Hattie said...

Trying to be perfect. Not pulling my own weight. Being mean.

Fri Aug 09, 04:51:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Irene said...

I have subtracted a lot as well, but added a lot of knowledge and of that I am glad. It is so nice to become less loaded down with dead weight as we get older.

Fri Aug 09, 06:12:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Anonymous Grannymar said...

Interesting list of subtractions, I look forward to reading about the additions, when you are ready.

Fri Aug 09, 08:15:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Secret Agent Woman said...

And with any luck, the things you add back in are far more valuable/enriching than the things you subtract.

Fri Aug 09, 08:29:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...

As the old cliché has it, no such thing as a free lunch. Those cards have a price tag.

Fri Aug 09, 09:18:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...


I would also add for myself "being judgemental" and it's always around intellectual snobbery. Kick that one to the curb.


Fri Aug 09, 09:19:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...


the happiest people I know are the ones with no attachments!


Fri Aug 09, 09:19:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...


I think I'd need a few blog posts for the additions!!

Another one added tonight.


Fri Aug 09, 09:20:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...




Fri Aug 09, 09:21:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my god you've got your life so together. I'm up on "the other side of 70" and never yet got passed the musing stage of any self-improvement project. When when. (Slumps off to fridge for comfort).

Sat Aug 10, 06:48:00 AM GMT-2:30  
Anonymous nick said...

That's a good list. I've given up a lot of those things as well. I would also mention supporting political parties, as I'm disillusioned with just about all of them!

There's a lot to be said for simplifying our lives rather than complicating them, and often spoiling them, with people and things we don't need.

Sat Aug 10, 09:54:00 AM GMT-2:30  
Anonymous Stubblejumpin Gal said...

Giving up comfort and convenience and certainty for peace and hope. Wish me luck.

Sat Aug 10, 01:13:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...


Oh no not together at all. Still working on it, my dear a day at a time. Food has been the toughest so far. we all need to eat on a daily basis and complete abstention has always suited me. But I make healthier choices now and focus on other stuff.


Sat Aug 10, 01:37:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...


Even though I was asked to run in
the last federal election I've completely given up politics too. I saw what the craven Greens did in Ireland and am completely disillusioned with all the parties and also with so-called democracy. Simply a smokescreen for the corporations.


Sat Aug 10, 01:39:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...


Oh I do wish you would share more of this, that is wonderful!

All the best of luck and belief in yourself!!


Sat Aug 10, 01:41:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

I think I always land in spam.
Much you gave up
me too.
Some never a problem.
Working on a lot still
in the late 70's
and thought I would have arrived
by this time:)
Not so....

Sun Aug 11, 11:37:00 AM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...


We are never finished. We will die with most of our work undone :)

Happy thought, that.... :)


Mon Aug 12, 01:54:00 AM GMT-2:30  
Anonymous Rummuser said...

Since I started on Vipassana meditation,things have been dropping off by themselves without my consciously trying to drop them. The only thing I am unable to on a sustained basis cigarettes and one of these days, that too will. I have only one cooked meal a day incidentally!

Wed Aug 14, 11:46:00 AM GMT-2:30  
Blogger The Poet Laura-eate said...

I have given only given up worrying. Though it seems to make a sizeable and positive difference to the rest of my life, including naturally lessening my bad habits. Lx

Thu Aug 15, 07:10:00 PM GMT-2:30  

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