Monday, November 23, 2009

Simple and Minimal

I am a simplifying and minimizing nut case. Truly I am. As I sit here writing this and look around at my possessions, I see both very few and still too many. I feel driven to take minimizing to the extreme. One goal I have is to live with no more possessions than I can fit into my van. Ideally, the van would be my entire home. But that still leaves plenty of room for lots of stuff I don't need, so I want even less. I picture one bin for clothes, another for personal items (including toiletries and electronics), another for kitchen stuff, and another for food, four bins total. One crate for books. My bed, pillows, and sleeping bag. My guitar. In the back would be some space for my spare gas can, jump starter, and tools. My backpack, daypack and a foldable camp chair. A water jug. I think that is about it. Ideally, I would limit my total list of possessions to 100 things.

I also let my thoughts wander to living entirely out of one backpack, to live as if I were always backpacking, even at home. My only possession that does not lend itself to this ideal is my guitar. I could make an exception.

Why do I do this? Because it feels good. I feel relaxed and open when my life is uncluttered. The less I have, the better I feel. I discovered a long time ago that I am an organizer. I have trouble relaxing if my living space is not organized. I need the dishes washed and everything put in it's place to feel completely relaxed. I like my clothes folded or hung up and organized. T-shirts together, button-up shirts together, socks together, and so on.

One day I realized that the less stuff I had, the easier it was to organize. That started me down the road of minimizing my possessions. I also realized it was more than just that, more than just easier to organize. There was something else going on that contributed to my ease of mind. I'm still not completely sure what that something else is, but it has to do with psychic energy and space. I feel lighter when I have less.

As we head into the holiday season I think about what a non-minimalist time of year this is, even non-spiritual, for far too many people. Winter is a time of rest and renewal, for our spirit as much as our body. This is the time of year to slow down and enjoy our relationships more than our work. This year I am going to give less stuff and more of myself. I am going to give presence.

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