We really must understand that the lust for affluence in contemporary society is psychotic. It is psychotic because it has completely lost touch with reality. We crave things we neither need nor enjoy.
– Richard Foster
Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth, or power. Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter.
– Harold Kushner
Having few desires, feeling satisfied with what you have, is very vital: satisfaction with just enough food, clothing, and shelter to protect yourself from the elements.
– The Dalai Lama
For me, minimalism is about getting back to the essentials of life, the core of living. It’s about having and consuming only what I need.
I focus on the core of what I want to achieve. I want to be a writer, so I get a pen and a piece of paper and I write. I don’t spend time emailing or tweeting that I #amwriting. That’s extra. That’s more than the work. The minimum action I need to perform in order to be a writer is to write.
The same goes for my relationships. I don’t need to be surrounded by hoards of people and be wished happy birthday hundreds of times on Facebook to feel connection. I need a small, well-chosen cluster of people who love me, genuinely care for me, support me and bring joy and meaning to my life.
In return, I don’t spend all my energy going out on coffee dates with people I worked with once, 3 years ago. I’m creating space for quality time, quality conversations, and quality experiences with people I cherish and want to support and encourage. People I genuinely want to be with.
It’s not just about getting rid of physical clutter, it’s mental too; it’s emotional … it’s even about getting rid of people (not in a Tony Soprano way, just like a normal “You’re a good person but I don’t think we’re good for each other” kinda way. Please don’t kill anyone in the name of minimalism.)
Minimalism is more than just clearing the clutter from your house. It’s clearing away all the worries, obsessing over past actions, past relationships, past failures. I’m not the perfect minimalist, far from it. I eat too much, I wallow in old, lingering shames, I buy outfits hoping that cleaning up my outside will cleanse my inside.
But I try. I get up in the morning and meditate to clear my thoughts. I sit down and write for twenty minutes, the minimum amount of work required to achieve my goal.
I clear away all the magazines that consume my time, designed also to consume my finances by convincing me I need everything shown on the page. I talk to my loved ones at the dinner table instead of staring into my phone to scroll websites that create only hollow connections.
Minimalism has helped me work towards creating the life I want. It frees me of baggage – figurative and literal.