“Imagine having a life with less?” This was how Ryan Nicodemus began his talk about a book he co-authored with Joshua Fields Millburn titled Minimalism.
There is a lot of discussion about minimalism these days. We hear advice about de-cluttering our home and workspace, paring a wardrobe down to 33 pieces for three months, and living in tiny homes. Why is this?
The truth is we are getting tired of all our ‘stuff.’ The world we live in promotes the idea of obtaining more and more. We are inundated with slick marketing campaigns everywhere we look, continually encouraged to update and replace.
Advertising creates the feeling of not having or being enough. We have in essence become lab rats – scurrying about consuming the latest and newest of everything that we are ‘told’ we need to own. Narrow leg jeans are in, high heels are out, the new iPhone just came out, the spring colour is not light blue anymore, it is navy blue now. We have to buy goods over and over again each season. REALLY? It feels like insanity to me.
We may feel dissatisfied in our lives and don’t know how to fill the longing. We have a big home, a good income, several cars, and still we long for more. What is this longing about anyway? What is this hole we are trying to fill?
The hole is partly created by all the advertising, and I also believe we fill our time with the busyness of shopping so we can avoid looking more deeply at our lives. We don’t want to admit we are unhappy in our career, or that we have marital issues. We may have old deep-seated wounds that remain unhealed. And admitting this or dealing with it feels too scary. So we build an impressive life on the outside while the real self suffers in silence.
Here is a suggestion: the next time you buy something: ask yourself: “Does this add value to my life?” You may put that credit card right back in your wallet. And value exists not only with our material possessions, but in personal relationships as well. Perhaps ask yourself: “Are the people I spend time with of value to me? Am I saying ‘yes’ when I want to say ‘no’ for social occasions?”
I extend minimalism further to the foods we consume. Our bodies thrive on food this is ‘alive’ and prepared simply. Time spent digesting heavy rich foods leaves us feeling sluggish and unmotivated. When digestion is simple and uncomplicated we have far more energy for life’s activities.
Living a simpler less complicated life.
How does that sound when you repeat those words to yourself?
Here is an example of our escapism and busyness: Nokia did a survey and apparently we check our phones approximately 150x per day. We live to update our social media feed and check how many ‘likes’ we got from a recent posting. This is a huge time-waster when we could be spending actual time with the people we love. Minimize time with devices to have more time for what you love.
At this point it feels important to ask ourselves what we truly value the most in life. What do we value the least? Money, family, good health, travel, adventure? Don’t we want to live a life aligned with our truest deepest values – those bottom line beliefs – the guiding principles in our life – our ‘sacreds.’ I believe we do.
“Love people and use things, because the opposite never works.”
~ Joshua Fields Millburn (co-author of Minimalism)