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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Rethinking Minimalism

Without too much attachment...
I just finished an email to my neighbor. I have stuff. She has way more than I. She even has a butler building to store the extra. The reason I bring it up is I have been saving mason jars I received but have emptied.  I need three lids. Sure, I could go buy them, but I just bet she has some I can have. That’s the thing with those of us who keep stuff; if you need something, we either have it or know someone who does. 

I came to the idea of minimalism in my search for living with less. That search was fueled by my desire to quit my job and stay at home. I knew the basics of saving money, paying off debt, and preserving what I have. What I needed was support for living without an income, at least for a while. I also sought to find a community of people who held values outside of mainstream consumerism.  

I had a wonderful journey through fabulous and interesting blogs. What I didn’t find was much variation in people. Most were young, single, and free. And while they were excited to be quitting their jobs, traveling the world, starting some new adventure, I expect that young people do just that. I am sad that any young person would believe the goal is to go to school, graduate and land a position as a cog in the machinery, no matter what the benefit package.  (There were also families working to manage on single incomes and those on religious paths.)

I was looking for people over fifty who were rethinking their goals and life choices, especially those who are working class, self educated, independent thinkers. This is a different breed from those with resources and assets. After reading hundreds, literally, of blogs, I concluded that while they may be out there, perhaps they don’t blog. I did find two blogs I follow that fit that category which brings me reassess minimalism.
Yesterday was my shopping venture. I have committed to shopping locally so made the rounds to three grocers in my community. Because I believe in supporting those in my life, I buy what’s on sale just in case someone needs it. When I completed my journey, I have enough to feed a small army – and they will come. This is my blessing – that I can keep the storehouse full.

I have another friend who thought we could come up with another word that explains our process. We both embrace the need and process of eliminating clutter from our space. Regularly, we address knickknacks and sit-abouts gifted. But what of us who love our books? The library is fine for popular fiction, but not classical literature. And did you know that if your credit card expires you will lose all the books, etc downloaded to your Kindle? Have we forgotten the joy in turning the page? I spend hours a day reading online, but I go to bed with a book.

Remember picture frames? Not digital, but the kind that sit on desk or hang on the walls. It is nice that we can so easily share memories electronically, but when there is no power or the storage system fails have we attended the image long enough to even give an accurate description? 

I love a long email from my friends. I cherish a handwritten letter. Letters, books, photos, jewelry, scarves, CDs, video tapes, plants, animals, clocks, scrap paper are all slipping away. Everything is being converted into digital formats to save what? 

My goal is to live without attachment, even to the source of my happiness. My home represents the life that I love. I gather the things that support and increase my joy. The rest is clutter. That’s what I let go. Today, I also let go of the idea of being, in anyway, a minimalist. I am all about love and pleasure, being present and sharing, opening and representing Divine Love – to the maximum.

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