What do you think of when you think of minimalism? If you’re anything like me, you may have thought instantly of a crisp white room, displaying a barely any furniture. Maybe just a wooden chair and a table, with a small but stylish plant placed neatly in the center. To me, minimalism seemed arty and slightly pretentious. It was a hashtag on instagram, not a lifestyle or movement. Looking back, I initially associated it with interior design more than anything else!
But boy was I wrong.
Over the holiday season I had fallen ill with a flu, it was so bad I couldn’t leave my bed for almost a week or more. I was so weak and miserable, I did the only thing I could do. I watched some Netflix.
I came across a documentary called Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things.
Hand-on-heart, I can honestly say that this documentary has changed the way I look at things, and for the better. So much, that I feel happier than I have felt in a long time, due to adopting the principles laid out by the documentaries storytellers, Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus.
I was enlightened to discover that minimalism was not a pretentious instagram trend, but a lifestyle and a philosophy. After watching the documentary, for days I pondered the questions it posed. I am still thinking a lot about it and even introduced a friend to the documentary, whom it also had a profound affect on. I feel like a switch has gone off in my brain and I finally know what the next step is to clear my mind and cleanse my body of some of the built up stress I have been carrying around. I started by slowly getting rid of a few material possessions that brought no joy or served no purpose in my life. Essentially, I started to de-clutter, but it is so much more than that. By getting rid of things that no longer or have never severed us, we free up so much space.
Literally and spiritually.
Essentially, the minimalist lifestyle is about freeing yourself. From the mundane carousel of consumerism, from mental clutter and so much more. To quote The Minimalists directly:
Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.
That doesn’t mean there’s anything inherently wrong with owning material possessions. Today’s problem seems to be the meaning we assign to our stuff: we tend to give too much meaning to our things, often forsaking our health, our relationships, our passions, our personal growth, and our desire to contribute beyond ourselves. Want to own a car or a house? Great, have at it! Want to raise a family and have a career? If these things are important to you, then that’s wonderful. Minimalism simply allows you to make these decisions more consciously, more deliberately.
This lifestyle has impacted me in a such a profound and deep way. I am so interested in learning more about the art of letting go. I have held so much in, for so long and I finally think it is time to start de-cluttering my life, starting with what I own.
Minimalism is really helping me work through a lot of emotions and thoughts that I have been too scared to deal with for many years. By getting rid of the literally clutter in my life, I am learning about focusing on what matters to me, the best way to describe it is like seeing a fog clear. I feel mindful about what or whom I allow into my life now, I ask myself what purpose does this person/object/experience serve. Does it/they bring me joy?
I have come to learn that becoming minimalist is often a long process it can take months to finally be ready to let go of everything you don’t need. In a modern world where people are often defined by what they own, it is quite the mind fuck at times, to become hyper-aware of how zombie like we have become as consumers and as people. Minimalism is mindfulness. It’s a practice and I know I will get better at it with time and learning to let go will be a journey. And I am so excited to be taking the first steps.
I will be documenting my minimalism journey through this blog and my YouTube channel. I hope I can inspire others to try it out and see if it can cultivate a new awareness, a shift in perspective or even change someones life.