Become a Minimalist: An Unexpected Story & Invitation
by Mary Rives
Is “The Amercian Dream” or your country’s dream really YOUR dream? If not, would you consider joining the movement of Minimalism, “the thing that gets us past the things so we can make room for important things which aren’t things at all”?
On this first weekend of the New Year, I watched the movie, The Minimalists, on Netflix. Two best friends from childhood decide to radically reduce what they own and in the process discover how much lighter and freer they become.
Material minimalism is no new concept to me and Keith Carlson. In 2009, we got rid of everything we owned except for what we stored in a 10×10 storage unit, most of which were family heirlooms and necessities we didn’t want to buy again later. As empty-nesters for several years, we even let go of the only house we ever owned, bought a used RV, and hit the open road. We lived in what was our only home, a home-on-wheels, for nine months, and 10,000 miles as we visited intentional communities around the USA with our elder dog, Tina Tiny Ting. We got to see how hundreds of others live differently than our consumerist culture. What we discovered in both the communities we visited and traveling through the USA was fascinating, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
We both blogged about our experiences, mostly keeping it positive and sparing the reader how challenging things sometimes were behind the scenes. But we survived what is called, “divorce-in-a-can” and remained a mostly happily married couple for the next ten years. (If you like, you may peruse our journey here https://maryandkeith.blogspot.com/)
From eco-villages to Earthships off-the-grid to urban communal living, our eyes were opened to a myriad of ways to live life differently than we had “back East”. Our goal was to free ourselves from the rat race we’d left behind, to find a slower pace of life with alternative life and work styles, and to live in a community of like-minded people. I’m so happy to say that we reached this goal and that there is no going back to the stressful lives we left behind.
After visiting more than 30 intentional communities, we had incidentally found a place that opened its arms to us and offered us a casita rental in Santa Fe. We lived in three different rentals within that community during our first five years in the Southwest and have both remained in Santa Fe, New Mexico ever since. Where we had landed was a place we never suspected nor searched for because it was a co-housing community, and we had been under the impression that one had to buy a unit to live in co-housing. I’m so glad we were wrong about that! I’ll remain ever grateful to have had the experience of fulfilling our dream of living in intentional community at The Commons, a place where we grew ourselves and a few lasting friendships that truly feel like family.
Now to continue with the theme of minimalism:
One brilliant idea presented in the film, Minimalists, is to pack up all your stuff, label the boxes well, and keep them in your home. Then, over a period of time, you remove only what you really need. What remains in the boxes you give away, sell, recycle, or trash. Rad concept, right? What a way to discover what you need you already have and the rest just takes up space.
Notes I took from the film:
~Focus on community, not consumerism
~Listen to the inner voice and see where it guides you
~Imagine a life with intentionality, a simple one
~Let your passion be doing good in the world, a life of giving more and taking less
~Focus on people, not stuff and on peace, not comparison
~Letting go of stuff and having less means more! More time, more meaningful relationships, more growth, more contribution, more contentment and passion, unencumbered by the material-oriented life around you. To get there, you might have to let go of some stuff that gets in the way.
~I add this thought: What a beautiful metaphor letting go of physical things is. “As above, so below” and “As without, so within”.
Would you like to join me in letting go of stuff, and clearing space for this New Year and New Era?
This is how it works:
Day 1: Let go of one thing
Day 2: Let go of 2 things
Day 3: Let go of 3 things and do this for 30 days!
The Less is Now Project can be heard here.
If you are in like Flynn, reply below and I’ll create a FB page for us to compare notes, and support and celebrate each other along the journey!
Cheers to “Less is More” which means a healthier you and planet too!