When you embrace minimalism (the art of falling in love with less), you discover a simple way of life that focuses on needs over wants, intuition over materialistic reasoning and experiences over stuff.
Most of us acknowledge that there could be a better way of life, but without support we often feel stranded in our own homes, surrounded by boxes and cabinets full of things that fill our space – items that hardly, if ever, have practical and meaningful uses. When our lives become filled with physical clutter, whether bought, gifted or inherited, we naturally become attracted to those newly gathered items too. They may ignite our vanity, make us feel happier or simply come with a sentimental attachment from the gift bearer, but there is no good reason to take (and keep) everything that comes your way.
At eighteen years old and owning more than twenty pairs of shoes in my closet, I probably couldn’t have been easily convinced about the joys of simple living. I had what I had, and even if I never wore those many shoes and clothes, they felt good to have. Western, modern society had instilled deeply in my mind that changing fashions (and having many pieces of clothing) was a natural part of life. Better follow the trends or run the risk of being laughed at, otherwise you’ll be left in the past.
In my late thirties and into my forties, it turns out that being “left in the past” is a wonderful thing!
We are living in a dynamic moment in time where technology collides with ethics, information and environmental issues. There are unanswerable questions as to how many people can inhabit the Earth, but maybe we are still asking the wrong questions in the search of a sustainable future.
We should rather be asking:
- How can we inhabit our planet well?
- Can we live in such a way that future generations have access to undisturbed patches of nature, wilderness, healthy soils and flourishing ecosystems?
- Can we create networks of communities that work alongside each other, rather than against?
- Can we embrace the thought of small farms spreading over the landscape, so that the thought of buying local makes more sense?
Think for a moment that there are many people in the world who are much happier with less than what you have. They have already learned the complex process of falling in love with less.
At the same time, simple living is not a numbers game, in fact there is no competition at all, only cooperation and creative individualism. Don’t count your possessions as your worth, don’t use your bank account as a measure either. Instead, shift the focus onto all things that you can be grateful for – and will find many joys that make a simple life worth living.
Falling in love with less is a process.
It can take months, likely it will take years, but with small steps and occasional leaps, the ability to live simply will come as naturally as getting out of bed in the morning. The want for more decreases with time, the urge to fit in will wane with a new set of values, consumption will be redirected to needs that can be fulfilled locally, self-reliance (not self-sufficiency) becomes something your heart desires. This transformation will happen gradually while certain defining moments will reawaken the senses.
A life of simple living and minimalism may not be love-at-first-sight, most relationships don’t actually start that way either. Become acquainted and make friends with the thought of living with less by reading some inspiring thoughts from modern minimalists such as Leo Babauta, Courtney Carver, and Joshua Becker.
Read about essentialism.
Rediscover great writers and philosophers like Henry David Thoreau and Thich Nhat Hanh.
Whichever way you start is up to you, the steps as little or large as you would like to take. Take a mental inventory of your home and know that you may already have more than you need, getting rid of the unnecessary will free your mind for greater, more meaningful things in life.
We recommend that you challenge yourself to live with the Earth in mind, taking what you need while living as lightly as you can, so that we can preserve resources for the future.
Our world is in need of radical changes and change makers.
Are you one of them?