The headlines today are enough to bring panic to everyone. Worst thing we could do. Forget belt-tightening. It’s all about paring down. “There’s NO difference, Eileen”you mutter in disgust. Give me a chance. Belt-tightening is about sucking it in. Being miserable. Doing without. “Paring down” on the other hand is about getting to your core. It’s about stepping back and asking what is REALLY important. It’s no small coincidence that at this point in time, I spent the night sleeping in a tiny porch: stone floor, stone walls, and ancient windows that banged all night in winds whipping down from the mountains. The tiny bathroom is a walk away. I woke up with an ah-hah: I have never been happier. For the last 12 years, every time I have come to this retreat house, I’ve been given one of three rooms. Built in the 1940s by rich orange grove owners, these enormous rooms have intricate teak ceilings, large bathrooms with European tiles, bathtubs you can swim in and a view of the ocean. I felt opulent, pampered, and cosseted. My simple porch is more about who I am—at my core. It’s the only room with windows on two sides. I can watch the sun rise uncover the top of the mountain. I’m far more drawn to a sunrise instead of a sunset. My “stuff” is easily contained in a small corner. My laptop fits on the tiny desk. When I spread out, I lose things. Spread myself too thin and I lose focus. See what I mean about “core”. What is at your core? If everything is important, nothing is important.