#6. A last word; minimalism in other parts of our lives

Introduction:

I’ve seen people getting carried away with the idea of extreme minimalism. Living in this extremity may work for you; I’m not here to place any judgments. Whatever bakes your cake bro. However. I do have some particularly strong thoughts on the matter of extremity, and will share them below. If this might offend you, I suggest clicking out of this post now.

 

For all of you still with me…

Living in any sort of extremity isn’t typically healthy. I say typically solely for those rare exceptions where extremism is necessary. To preserve life or such. Otherwise, I believe that things should be dosed in moderation. A healthy relationship with your possessions, balance, is what we’re after here. Extremities on either end; hoarding or possession bulimia, both put possessions as the central focus. One is obsessively amassing items, the other amassing and purging in cycles. Yet having things as the central focus defeats the whole purpose of what minimalism is after.

Minimalism is about leading a more intentional life. It isn’t an end in and of itself, it’s a teacher. It’s a helper. Minimalism should be a tool, not a goal.

Minimalism isn’t about being a cheapskate. It’s about reorienting where and how you choose to spend your money, about adding value to your life, about quality over quantity (unless that quantity is really needed!), about being able to splurge on expensive outings and trips every once in a while. About more choice. About more freedom. About lifting physical AND emotional weight. About getting un-stuck. Allowing things to refresh and renew and change. Allowing fluidity. Not being as attached to outcomes and what other people think of you and about someone else’s definition of success. Minimalism is so many things.

But minimalism is not about denying yourself things that serve you and your well-being. Creature comforts can give to you just as much as decluttering can. A favorite tea cup, frilly dress, well-cut suit, fluffy towels and rugs and blankets… these are things that can aid your well-being as well as anything else, and that’s what we’re after here.

The point being not to end up with things being the focus of your life, and to always ALWAYS strive for balance, health, and well-being.

 

Proceeding with caution then:

 

That said, here are some ways to implement the principles of minimalism in other parts of your life:

  • Minimalism with relationships. You do not need 100 friends, cultivate 2 or 3 or even 4 close friendships to get a lot more out of your relationships.
  • Minimalism with your environments. It’s been said that we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. I say this applies to our environments as well. The places we frequent have a profound impact on who and what we do and become.
  • Minimizing your time commitments.
  • Minimizing your goals.
  • Minimalism with your eating habits. Eating clean simple food. When folks bring up diets, I always say that it’s about a lifestyle change, not a fad or diet. Diets don’t last. Changing your habits does.

Need some inspiration? Here’s a slideshow for you:

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Moving on…

  • There’s minimalism with bills; getting rid of your debt, downsizing the amount of credit cards you keep, eliminating unnecessary bills that are draining you more than they’re giving to you.
  • Living within your means.
  • Only buying what you need.
  • Borrowing instead of buying.
  • Conscious shopping. Choosing comfortable and versatile options that will last and serve you well.
  • Before buying something new, sit and think on it for a few days (a week) before purchasing. Do you really need it or do you have something like it already?
  • Time vs. money.
  • Giving vs. buying.

A great resource: The Freecycle Network

  • Minimalism in your fitness routine. Instead of separately going to the gym to run nowhere on an indoor treadmill and cycle on a stationary bike, integrate walking to the grocery store or cycling to work into your daily routine.

 

SunriseOn that note, when was the last time you saw sunrise?

When was the last time you took a local hike, got some fresh air? Get out of your house, your cubicle, your air conditioned car, your busy busy busy life. Take moments to breathe, to reset. Take a walk. Clear your mind. Care for yourself and see what’s going on inside. See what’s going on outside, all around. Open your eyes to the magical wonders of nature.

This is my backyard. If I didn’t take the time to step outside, I’d be blind to a whole world flowing all around me:

 

{Photo credits to my fiancé Shlomo}

 

Continuing along…

  • Repairing before disposing.
  • Wearing an outfit (*gasp) multiple days in a row. Unless you’re sweating hard or prone to numerous spills and accidents, your clothes don’t actually need to be washed that often.
  • Using minimalist footwear (Ie. Xero sandals, Earthrunners) and practicing Earthing.
  • Natural homemade cleaning products (here’s an awesome guide.) Keep it simple and clean.
  • Minimalist Hygiene: No soap on your body or face, just hot water and a good ‘ol rub a scrub scrub. I tried out a period of going completely sans soap for a while and found I wasn’t as into the smell of nature as I thought. I now use soap on key areas, but leave the rest of my body to its own. In doing so I’ve healed dry patches I used to suffer from and come to the recognition that our bodies are designed to care for and clean themselves. So much soap is incredibly unnecessary and even counter-productive as it strips off useful and helpful natural oils and good bacterias that keep our bodies balanced and combat bad and smelly bacterias from forming and taking up residence.
  • Minimal beauty routine.
  • As well as paring down or finding natural alternatives for facewash, hair products, oils and creams and potions and lotions… switch to simple real oils and butters like cocoa butter, mango butter, coconut oil, olive or almond oil.
  • Ditching chemicals for clean simple ingredients; Cleaning your face with oil, washing your hair with baking soda and apple cider vinegar, using olive oil as makeup remover.
  • Using alternative deodorant; homemade, the deodorant stone, essential oils, or coconut oil. (Don’t hate on that coconut. It’s in the Essential Hippie Arsenal for a reason.)
  • What about minimal haircuts? Can’t forget that one. Keeping the upkeep down, the routine low-key and ready to rock.
  • For the ladies: using a Mooncup rather than wasteful tampons or pads.
  • And try wearing no makeup or nail polish for a year.

 

Give yourself a Life Detox by getting rid of outlets that don’t serve you:

This might include saying NO to alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, junk food, and social networks. Even detoxing your words by keeping them simple and honest. I’m sure you can think of some of your own here too. Fill in the blank: I know for dang certain that _______________ doesn’t serve me anymore. And I’m not sure I’m ready to admit it, but probably if I thought about it, which I don’t really want to, but probably ________________ doesn’t serve me anymore either. Time to upgrade ‘ol son.

 

On the opposite end, refill your world with good outlets that DO serve you:

Writing, drawing, exercise, beach, pool, healthy food, phone conversations with good healthy friends, yoga, meditation, camping out, plugging into your immediate surroundings, real connections, real time. Make it a good one. 

I say when giving something up, never do it as a downgrade to your life. It usually won’t last. The way for it to be sustainable is by giving whatever you’re giving up an alternative, a replacement, that’s a definite UPGRADE. 

 

Decluttering the mind through this process:

  • Declutter your mind by learning to meditate.
  • Minimize your negative thoughts.
  • Compliment yourself. Rewire your mind with constant positive messages about and to yourself.
  • Find forgiveness within yourself so you can let go and clear out shame and guilt and so many heavy burdens that you don’t need to carry.
  • Do the mirror challenge and give yourself some love. Look yourself in the eye in the mirror every morning and tell yourself “I love you.” Mean it.
  • Gather the courage and learn to speak. Speak out your truth. Alleviate the burden it weighs on your heart.
  • Alternatively; go into 10 days of silence to help get in touch with what’s going on inside so you can sort through it.
  • Learn to not give a fuck. Sarah Knight has a wonderful book which I highly recommend, called “The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck.” It does wonders. It’s the second book in her series, all of which I recommend actually: “Get Your Sh*t Together” and “You Do You.” are the others. She’s a rockstar.

 

What I’m noticing is…

Minimalism-wise, learning to clear out and give outside of myself into the world has proven and shown that the more output I place into the world, the more room there is in me for input. Creatively speaking I’m seeing this happen with my blogging and writing. The more I give, the more posts I share, the more ideas and thoughts there are that come in, and the more I have and want to share them.

I’ve noticed this principle work with money too. Giving charity, taking 10% off for the needy, instead of draining my funds, actually puts me into an abundance mindset: I have an abundance and therefore I can give– whether it’s true or not, the mindset itself automatically and energetically attracts more cash flow toward and around me. It’s the same principle as before; The more I give the more I have to give. It can be applied across your life and enrich it like crazy!

 

So go ahead!

See what minimalism can do for you. Remember to stay balanced. Remember to stay wholesome and remember to stay happy. Rock on you! Revolutionize your life! I dare you.

Advertisements

One thought on “#6. A last word; minimalism in other parts of our lives

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s