The Not So Minimalist Takeaways

We’ve got it all covered. We are enough. The only way to go is up and forward.

Minimalism has spread like a good plague, Leo Baubata smiles from the film Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things. And it’s amazing to share how much the message is transforming people. I’m grateful for the tons of value that seeped into my life since then.

Here are my takeaways:

  • Minimalism opens the gates to freedom. It’s not only about curating our stuff, it’s getting disentangled from how we’re told we’re supposed to live.
  • The most important things aren’t stuff.
  • Discontent replaced with stuff cannot make the gnawing go away. Neither our pacifiers will.
  • Minimalism is a tool we can use in all areas of our lives. When we pause and ruminate on what’s truly important, we can become a better version of ourselves, doing only the things that bring us joy and growth.
  • Life is too short to be collecting things instead of experiences.
  • Spending less is the best way to have more.
  • The way to convince people is to not convince them. If we change, others may see the benefits and follow along. And even if they don’t, it’s okay. We are allowed to thread our own pace.
  • Digital minimalism is a sound choice. Curating our digital experience gives us the space to maximize communication and learning and take the rest of our time living in the real world. I’m not saying social media is pure evil but it’s worth the try to consume only what adds value to our lives.
  • Life is so much brighter and saner with intentional muscle — with mindfulness.
  • It doesn’t have to be Paris or Greece. We can be at any place and feel happy. Happiness resides in us.
  • Minimalism is simple but not always easy. But it helps when we constantly ask why we’re doing it.
  • Know our whys and we change our lives. Digging intimately to why we’re sticking to a habit, for instance, is often the key to make it worth doing over and over.
  • Minimalism made a lot of people ‘more’. It was a domino effect. You figure out for yourself what’s important to you, you experiment, and you’ll be surprised by how you’re better off with a simple, meaningful life.

 

I Have Enough

With less, I have more.

I was always an impulsive buyer. Exhausted my savings in exchange of a new stuff. Thrilled to waste my life away watching non-stop. That was how I filled the void. I wasn’t entirely aware of it. But I knew, thereafter, that satisfaction from what I bought was ephemeral; Next thing I know, I’m on to the next merchandise.

When I look back, I realized how different I see things now. It’s conscious and deliberate. Less has given me back my soul – a bucket that is to be filled with meaning.

Asking myself what was truly important changed this buying spree.

It wasn’t always easy especially today that we are constantly bugged to consume more. I’m far from being a happiness guru, but it makes sense that true happiness is realized only within ourselves. And recognizing that we our complete – that we are more than enough – is a start. It’s a formidable foundation. If we are happy on our own, satisfied with what we have, how much more can we be happier?

We can turn our backs from the excess by gradually recognizing what is truly valuable to us. I actually asked myself and wrote them all down. It’s a manifesto that I can always look back to and update.

I listed:

Time for my loved ones;

Curiosity for many things;

Quality time to read and write;

Saving and investing for my future; and

Contributing to others in small ways.

I wanted clarity, purpose and re-calibration in my life.

Downsizing does not only apply to money. It permeates all aspects of our lives – may it be how we spend our time, who we spend it with. It’s a complete rewiring of our consciousness so that when we are faced with questions like – “Is it a new, shiny gadget or that travel you have been dreaming? Is it more time doing work or your health and sanity? Is it watching that movie or doing that piece of art?- we are then equipped to act on what’s really important to us. 

In this age where we are considered incomplete in ourselves, if we make less money, there is less luxury in our lives. We are made to cringe on the thought of missing out.

But less actually means there is enough to thrive. Less means having the excess extinguished, seeing the view, finally, with clear eyes, giving us the energy to focus on the things that make us alive.

I believe that true luxury is about having the mental space and opportunity to be who we are – to get more in touch with ourselves. To be more curious of our environment. To cultivate an interest we have so longed for.

The most luxurious life we can live is a life enriched with less.

 

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Bared Dreams

Have you thought about a grocery store with zero packaging? Do you think it is possible to build one in this age of clutter? I thought it was. I dreamed that someday I would build one. Whenever we go to a regular, your day-to-day grocery, I think of bringing my own containers. May it be for our vegetables, poultry, and dry goods. I figured I would be rolling with a neat stack of goods in my cart. Papers, plastics, the ubiquitous packaging – out of the way!

Fortunately, it materialized years before I even thought about it. Many people have probably dreamed the same dream. Many have the means, but only few have the resolve to do it.

Original Unverpackt in Berlin thought it wasn’t such a bad idea. Aisles of bared cereals, spices, herbs, everything from your daily needs you can refill straight to your bottles. Unhygienic? I think it depends on how the quality of goods is assured, and of course, on well-mannered customers. Sustainable? Prices for starters may be high, unless people can revolutionize this idea.

 

original_unverpackt_berlin_sara_wolf_02
Photo from Lost in Internet

The bright side is just down the aisle, folks. This is a good way to reintroduce people to real food, especially for the younger generation. It will also encourage mindful consumption. Not to mention, it’s exciting! And it’s like forming a renewed relationship with food.

It’s not new. And we know the basics. We know the answers to today’s problems. But we are paralyzed by the shadows who stood for ages packing our food. No offense but we are hurting our planet day by day. And we all take part in it, just in varying degrees.

But no time wishing it were yesterday. We can make small changes. There are alternative ways to buying now. For one, we can always bring our bags and encourage others to do the same. It’s big help if we can bring containers, too. But I still look forward to that day when we can bring our own jars, survey the aisles, and anticipate the magical faucets.

How about the tiny houses we see people shifting into? If you live alone with no one to contest your curated tastes, that minute house is for you. I mean, what is there not to have?

tinyhouse_3
Photo from Small Beautiful Movie

When you decide to have a tiny house from the start, you know you want LESS of the stuff, so you have MORE out of your life. It will be incredible because every little thing sitting in your space is likely to be valuable. You would not want to fill the space with dust, right? Plus, time for cleaning is minimal. Bills – minimal. Saved resources? You know the answer. I can’t contest why less is always more. And why deliberate choices count.

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