Less Stuff = Freedom + Happiness


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I’m a “happy” person so why did I buy a book called, Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment, by  Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D?

Because it explains why I want to go back to Africa, and work with people who have far less than me. Here’s why:

“While levels of material prosperity are on the rise, so are levels of depression. Even though our generation–in most Western countries as well as in an increasing number of places in the East–is wealthier than previous generations, we are not happier for it.” —Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D.

I’ve been trying to figure out why I have become happier with less “stuff,” and why I’m attracted to living a simple life.

I don’t have a home, or furniture, except for two armchairs, a Chinese chest, and a tropical painting that inspires me to stay “gutsy.” Nothing within my control can prevent me from following my passion to ‘be free’ and experience new adventures.

Volunteering in a Mayan Village in Belize in 2009, and seeing these beautiful children, full of smiles, made me realize that happiness does not come from having stuff. Look at the small girl on the left; her parents can’t afford a pair of shoes.

Belize kids

The children I met while volunteering in a Mayan village in Red Bank, Belize, 2009.

Here’s what makes me happy.

Click on Photo- credit from malidoma.com

Click on Photo- credit from malidoma.com

Am I being selfish in wanting to work with children in Africa? Perhaps. I realize that there are going to be many challenges adapting to a new life in Lesotho, in southern Africa, but just to feel the love and enthusiasm of the children, is enough to fuel my own energy.

I became fascinated with photo-journalist Alissa Everett, and what she has done to bring us closer to the positive side of what we don’t see in African countries, such as the DRC-(Democratic Republic of Congo.) She is truly “gutsy” and not only has she served in the Peace Corps, which is what I shall be doing starting in October, 2015, (Read more here) but she shares her stories during my interview with her.

This is her recent wedding photo with a message, I truly love.

Alissa Everett's wedding photo credit

Alissa Everett’s wedding photo credit

I realize we are all different, however, it saddens me to see people who have everything in life to be happy, and yet they’re unhappy.

Comments (6)

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  1. Linda Luke says:

    Ah Sonia. You inspire me. I have always been drawn to simplicity and minimalism and in the past dreamed of running away to the Peace Corp. Now I am experiencing it vicariously through knowing you (and hopefully your next book.)

    You are truly gutsy and model for the rest of us what living fully and authentically looks like.

    Thank you.
    Linda Luke recently posted..How to Prevent Those Where Did I Put My Car Keys MomentsMy Profile

  2. Helen says:

    No, you are not selfish to want to go to Africa. You are brave and unselfish and extremely patient!!! I have had a lot of experience working with Africans and I can tell you that it’s been some of the most trying experiences of my life. The ignorance and emotional immaturity has been a huge stretch. I don’t mean that in a critical way. I’ve learned that many who live in less privileged countries don’t have nearly the teaching and materials available that we do in the USA, to grow and mature as we do. But I would personally have to think twice before going to an African country, because of the harsh experiences I’ve had working with Africans very upclose, for many years. But there is a great need there for someone like you and I commend you highly. If that is your desire, I’m sure it’s right. May you be guided and blessed and protected at all times!

  3. Sonia Marsh says:

    Hello Helen,

    Where did you work in Africa, and when? I’m sure I shall have a huge adjustment, but fortunately I like challenges.
    Sonia Marsh recently posted..Less Stuff = Freedom + HappinessMy Profile

  4. Sonia, I hope you go back to Africa as I know you have long wanted to do so. You bring up an interesting point about levels of material prosperity in this country. The first thing that struck me when I came here was that this isn’t a happy nation, but I won’t go into that. A friend of mine working as a missionary in Kenya – not a hardship post – had the most personally fulfilling experiences. Another friend in a South African township had hair-raising stories to tell. You want challenge and change, and you will find it, but hope you will not find the personal cost is higher than you expected.

  5. Alex Bengo says:

    This is quite inspiring, reading about the patience, humility and sacrifice showcased by Sonia gives me a different perspective on life, material wealth and personal fulfillment.

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