This image is the perfect representation of minimalism for me. The open sky naturally draws our attention to the windmill in the picture. Minimalism is proving to be a very powerful force in my journey toward living a more meaningful and creative life. I feel like the open time and space that I have been consciously cultivating in my life is helping me to live more authentically.
Minimalists often focus on the idea that less is more. The idea is that in having less, we ultimately live more meaningful (and ironically fuller) lives.
However, I keep getting drawn to the inverse — more is less — and I think it is equally powerful. Instead of focusing on the benefits of having less, I’ve been focusing on the costs of having more. And, in a literal sense, more often translates into less. In terms of space, having more things in our houses, for example, literally gives us less space to just be. In terms of time, having more commitments in our days, leaves less energy to focus on the important work and significant people in our lives. In terms of doing, staying busy all of the time can numb us and leave us less access to our feelings. In terms of information, having a constant influx of information (whether it be from mindlessly surfing the internet or compulsively checking e-mail and reading blogs), provides us with less mental freedom to cultivate our own dreams.
In theory, minimalism should allow me to focus on the most important things — connecting with others, doing meaningful work, being authentic, cultivating gratitude for what I already have. However, it is very challenging. We are constantly bombarded with messages by the media and by other people that play on our insecurities that we are not good enough. These messages convey that we need the right clothes, the right diet, the right house, the right whatever, to fix us. The truth of the matter is that these things probably get in the way of accepting that we are inherently enough just the way we are.
I’m currently pondering a number of questions. Some big. Some small.
In terms of time: What things do I need to get done? What things do I want to get done? Is there one thing I can cut out and not replace with something else? I keep remembering that just because I’m busy doesn’t mean that I’m doing something that is important.
In terms of appearance (like I said I’m asking the small questions too): How can I show my authenticity through my appearance without feeling like I need to constantly go shopping and lose weight? What type of clothes do I feel most comfortable in? Why don’t I have more clothes like that in my closet? What if I accepted my body as is, instead of feeling like I need something more to make it how it should be.
In terms of my stuff: What things enrich my life? What things are just taking up space (both physical and mental)? What might I give away? What might I NOT buy (especially as the holiday season approaches)? There are some people who try to limit their possessions to 100 items. I’m not there, but I am carefully thinking about what I might cut out in order to just make a little more room for my soul.
Right now, I’m just allowing myself to ponder these questions and to have faith that if I give them time and space in my life, the answers will come.