Inspired (by minimalism)
As you may recall, my last post about being inspired was about a person. This time, it involves a person, but mainly revolves around a concept.
I’m not talking about the type of minimalism where you sell all but 50 of your belongings. When looking for a good working definition of what I am talking about, I found this quote by Joshua Becker at Becoming Minimalist: “At its core, minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it.”
I think we could probably all say that we’re on board with this statement, but do we really live like it? I would venture to guess not. To bring it down to a practical level, Becker lists and talks about the 10 things he feels are most important to simplify in one’s life: possessions, time commitments, goals, negative thoughts, debt, words, artificial ingredients, screen time, our connection with the world, and multi-tasking (read more here). Whoa. Now how many of us can say that we really live out the above “working definition” of minimalism?
I am intrigued by the thought of a really stripped down life, not in just the sense of possessions (although I now love that thought as well!), but in the sense of everything that I give my time and energy to. I love the thought of my family’s life being one of less quantity (possessions, activities, etc.) and more quality. I believe several things have brought this up – initially, it was the thought of having few possessions, as I can easily see how things can be a burden in the time and energy they take to keep clean, organize, maintain … you get the picture. Last summer’s local wildfires started this whole conversation in my mind and now moving to another country is quickly making the desire for less possessions a reality, as we are getting rid of 75% (or more) of our belonging before we leave. But then, as I started considering how too many possessions (or the wrong ones) can clutter our lives, I also began thinking about other things. How about the amount of activities that we sometimes try to pack into our weeks? How about the amount of time I waste on the computer that takes away from other things I truly want to give my time to? It has really started me down the path of rethinking things and has spurred on some great conversations for Shun-Luoi and me.
Becoming Minimalist has quickly become my favorite blog on minimalism. Its author, Joshua Becker, is considered a “rational minimalist,” because he urges people to become minimalist in ways that fit with their current season of life. He frequently discusses the heart behind minimalist ideas and approaches minimalism in a humble and unselfish manner, things I greatly appreciate. He also gives many practical tips on how to approach a more minimalist lifestyle – I highly recommend his blog, starting with some of his most popular posts.
In a sense, our family will be beginning a pretty minimalist life (somewhat by default) when we leave for Thailand. We will not take much more than what we can fit into a few suitcases. We have some connections in Thailand, but not yet friendships, which means we will look mainly to each other to have our human relational needs met. We will have no commitments to begin with. In some ways, these are scary things, but in other ways, they are welcome things. We will begin life in Thailand in a very stripped-down manner and will have the opportunity, if taken, to very intentionally add things into our life, whether it be possessions, relationships, or time commitments, the longer we are there.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to the things and people we give our time and energy to. However, I’m slowly learning that we should often say, “no,” to the good opportunities in order to make sure we are saying, “yes,” to the best opportunities.
What about you? Have you ever had an interest in minimizing areas of your life? If so, what are some practical steps you have taken in order to do so?