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The Self-Made Landscape


The Land of Less. When I decided on this title for my recent book about spiritual minimalism there were several things that I felt drawn to.

I liked the alliteration and the way it rolled off my tongue. But there was also something deeper happening within when I thought about what The Land of Less was. Impressions that came to mind that drew me in. I could picture this place tangibly. My eyes could see what my heart was dreaming up:

  • An open space with nothing hindering. No heaviness of expectation or obligation.

  • A sprawling landscape overflowing with opportunity. With inspiration. Thriving and rich with beauty to be enjoyed. No striving to enjoy it. No hustling to deserve this free gift of goodness.

  • Freedom found in a territory wild and rugged where we can explore who we are and what we want in pure communion with our Maker. We could discover our true identity through the filter of the One who created us and created the landscape for us.

The land of less could also be referred to as a “life of less”. And make no mistake, it’s not a life less-than but an intentionally simplified existence. To experience the richness and vastness that has been created for us to enjoy. And much like the subtitle of the book, where the quest for less opens the door to more, so much more can be tapped into when we live a life of simplicity.

When I look at a sprawling landscape with the simplicity of what is pure and natural I never see lacking. But to some, the idea of a land of less would be just that. Less-than. Subpar. Desolate. Dusty. Boring. Itchy. Uncomfortable.

But what if we could imagine that our land of less was actually our land of abundance?

Your life is what you make it. Are you daring enough to picture your world as something different? Something new. Something that would free you up to change the things that are weighing you down. Holding you back.

For decades I lived my life as a victim of circumstances. I was tossed and bruised by what was happening around me and to me. I didn’t know I had a choice in how I approached my circumstances and how that carved out the landscape of my life.

The only choice I activated was to surround myself with a plethora of comfort. Lots of numbing and mindless distraction which would often manifest itself in the form of Netflix binges, endless social media scrolling, booze, food and shopping. But this self-soothing behaviour only perpetuated the emptiness.

It prevented me from thriving in my own personal landscape. I couldn’t see beyond the cruel circumstances that surrounded me because I had buried myself with the excess of distraction and overwhelm.

What I eventually came to see is that less is my resting state. It is where calm and peace are found. Where they can’t be extinguished by the noise and chaos of a life of overwhelm. It is the way I was born into this world and the way I will leave. It is the deepest part of myself.

Each of us is given our own “land”, our own life, to steward. To do as we please with the freewill we’ve been given.

I don’t expect that your landscape will look just like mine.

Our Creator made us each unique much like the unique landscapes that exist around the world. Your land of less can be sculpted by what brings your spirit to life. What fills you with joy and what sets you free...if you make space for this goodness to dwell.

Our personal landscape can be shaped by what we allow to mold it. What we allow into our lives to carve out the contours of our landscape. Whether we believe it or not, our personal landscapes are often self-made.

We try to control and manipulate our lives to have it make sense to us.

But we are limited creatures and often get in the way of a life of fullness.

We confuse abundance and fullness with an overload of distractions.

We fail to surround ourselves with only the treasures that have meaning and fill us with joy.

We follow the masses and do the easy thing by cluttering up our landscape with life sucking, anxiety inducing distractions.

And what do some of those distractions look like? Worry, need to control, living in guilt and shame, performing, perfectionism, people pleasing, hustling to prove our worth, religious rules and regulations, consumption of all the things, debt, self-doubt, toxic relationships, and the list goes on and on.

If you feel weighed down with heavy burdens or the stress of overwhelm it might be time to carve out a new path in your landscape.

Over the next several weeks I will address different areas of our self-made landscape that we can intentionally begin to let go of and rid ourselves of the needless clutter.

Journey with me as we find our way back home to the land of the living.

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