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Patrice Heller

At some point or another, we have all met someone who finds the time to do everything they're interested in, from work to volunteerism, from being in countless committees and advisory boards to taking care of family and causes. Or maybe you are that person. Patrice Heller definitely fits the profile. A restless soul, she has packed up as many achievements as she can fit. So she decided to write about it. Patrice Heller is a rabbi, a psychologist, a dancer and a professor at Temple University, among other things.





I believe that less is more Belief and behavior, though, don't always match. I think expansively, wanting to learn and experience everything all at once. "More is more" energy can be quite exhilarating. Yet with the inevitable exhaustion comes the sinking feeling that all that "more" just doesn't add up. More never seems to be enough.


Then I try the less is more approach. I vow to be calm, breathe and make the mantra "less is more" my new way of life. The irony of making such a big deal about "less is more" is not transparent to me. And so the boundary between more and less begins to blur.


I have been wavering on the border of less and more for fifty-five years. My father valued the force of more; my mother preferred the softness of less. My timid self-confidence could barely compete with feeling not good enough. Insecure but deeply curious, I embarked on the journey of more and never enough. The making of an over-achiever was in process.


First came training and performing as a ballet dancer. Then, after college, I studied to be a rabbi. Once ordained, I worked in a congregation, transitioning, so to speak, from tutu to tallis.


However, all that was still not enough. My husband and growing family patiently supported my doctorate in psychology. When the college president handed me my diploma, she peered into my eyes and said I do hope this is your last degree! I laughed, but I wasn't so sure it would be.


Others have told me what I already, in my heart and mind, know. Friends say, "Relax! You have already earned the A. My mother says, "Too long and too much!" When I asked a wise professor how I should deal with my struggle to teach and cover everything. He advised me, simply, to teach less better.


Committing to less is more takes courage; it demands trusting the truth of good enough. Discipline is required to not function in overdrive. I walk the perimeter of "less is more" in baby steps, never quite reaching the center of it. But maybe those baby steps are the "less" on my path to "more."


Yes, I believe that "less is more" or perhaps what I really believe in is the aspiration to live the less is more" life.


I believe that less is more, except when more is more.