PHDinMeBlog- Family Saturday- Minimalism

Hey Scholars!

What a great Saturday it has been, no where we HAD to be and it was wonderful.  We went to a TRAIN exhibition for my youngest boy who to say the least is a train aficionado!  Once we returned my daughter finished making her iPhone rainbow loom, and the other children made and recorded new songs.  My husband rested before whipping up dinner and I busy bee’d around with housing chores and errands while listening to books on tape.  As I was putting things away, I considered getting rid of mostly everything.  I had heard of minimalism before but I am seriously considering it.  I think of all the time I could be doing or spending even more time on life enriching blessings instead of just managing mine and my families THINGS.  I asked my children what they thought and surprisingly they seem to think it would be ok.  I came across this article from a duo, Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus of theMinimalist, that seems to be at the forefront of this topic.  Some valid points here many worth considering.  I sure could use some extra time along with some of the other benefits they seemed to have found with this lifestyle.  One things for sure, we can’t keep blaming our excess items on the fact that our grandmother “came out of the depression” (or mothers;).  It may be time to enjoy life all the more by getting rid of more of our STUFF!  Let me know what you think!  Are you are pack rat?  Already a minimalist?  Neat Freak?  Let me know!!  Share your thoughts I ENJOY reading them and be sure to follow PHD in ME Blog!

Light and Love, Shona

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WHAT IS MINIMALISM? The Minimalists, photo by Adam Dressler

So what is this minimalism thing? It’s quite simple: to be a minimalist you must live with less than 100 things, you can’t own a car or a home or a television, you can’t have a career, you must live in exotic hard-to-pronounce places all over the world, you must start a blog, you can’t have children, and you must be a young white male from a privileged background.

OK, we’re joking—obviously. But people who dismiss minimalism as some sort of fad usually mention any of the above “restrictions” as to why they could “never be a minimalist.” Minimalism isn’t about any of those things, but it can help you accomplish them. If you desire to live with fewer material possessions, or not own a car or a television, or travel all over the world, then minimalism can lend a hand. But that’s not the point.

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.

There are plenty of successful minimalists who lead appreciably different lives. Our friend Leo Babauta has a wife and six children. Joshua Becker has a career he enjoys, a family he loves, and a house and a car in suburbia. Conversely, Colin Wright owns 51 things and travels all over the world, and Tammy Strobel and her husband live in a “tiny house” and are completely car-free. Even though each of these people are different, they all share two things in common: they are minimalists, and minimalism has allowed them to pursue purpose-driven lives.

But how can these people be so different and yet still be minimalists? That brings us back to our original question: What is minimalism? If we had to sum it up in a single sentence, we would say, Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.

Minimalism has helped us…

Eliminate our discontent
Reclaim our time
Live in the moment
Pursue our passions
Discover our missions
Experience real freedom
Create more, consume less
Focus on our health
Grow as individuals
Contribute beyond ourselves
Rid ourselves of excess stuff
Discover purpose in our lives
By incorporating minimalism into our lives, we’ve finally been able to find lasting happiness—and that’s what we’re all looking for, isn’t it? We all want to be happy. Minimalists search for happiness not through things, but through life itself; thus, it’s up to you to determine what is necessary and what is superfluous in your life.

Through our essays we intend to present to you ideas of how to achieve a minimalist lifestyle without adhering to a strict code or an arbitrary set of rules. A word of warning, though: it isn’t easy to take the first steps, but your journey towards minimalism gets much easier—and more rewarding—the further you go. The first steps often take radical changes in your mindset, actions, and habits. Fret not, though—we want to help: we’ve documented our experiences so you can learn from our failures and successes, applying what we’ve learned to your own situation, assisting you in leading a more meaningful life.

This is just our take on minimalism. For more, read our minimalism elevator pitch, as well as some of our friends’ explanations of minimalism:

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