Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Thank You Week Love Letter No. 2: Maximalist about The Minimalists

We played the minimalism game and posted the stuff we got rid of on Instagram

The Minimalists say that living with less stuff (physical and emotional excess), makes room for the things (including physical objects) that add the most value to our lives.  Minimalism isn't about living like a monk, but about focusing on what adds real meaning.  What a radical concept.

This is the second day in a week of shout outs and thank you's to outlets that have improved my life and my family's life.  I wanted to do my little bit to recognize organizations that stand out to me as trying to do good and do good business at the same time.  In a time when it's extremely hard to tell what's authentic and what's all facade and in a period where manipulation and deceit seem to represent standard business practices, I can't tell you how much I value authenticity and positivity.  It's hard to find and I just latch on for dear life when I do.

Today, I'm sending an internet hug to the Minimalists, the two dudes who inspire people to live more meaningful lives with less stuff.  This post is actually inspired by the Minimalists in that they really make me appreciate the concept of non-material gifts and this post is a little gift to them.

The Minimalists reframe the idea of happiness and it has nothing to do with the collection of more stuff, more expensive stuff, bigger stuff or the latest stuff.  The Minimalists represent one of the few voices that challenge a world that screams that consumption will make us happy.  And equally important is their idea that the "keeping up with the Jones's" mentality not only leads to a vicious cycle of misery, but that focusing our energy on stuff acquisition keeps us from the experiences that truly add meaning to our lives.  If we're constantly chasing the thing to buy that will make us feel a sense of high for a moment, we'll have less energy to channel to our ideas, events, relationships, and experiences that are truly valuable.

That said, I'm not a minimalist.  I could open my own art supply store with my my bins of art materials.  I do, however, feel a deep sense of connection with what the Minimalists are about.  I definitely do try to consume with intention and I have a solid sense that my own value has nothing to do with the stuff I own.  We also constantly try to cut out excess, so I guess we're minimalists-in-training.  At this point, I'm satisfied that my brain isn't filled with the stuff I want to buy and that it's filled more with things I want to learn, things I want to change, things I want to make, things I want to teach my kids, things I want to experience, things I want to cook and eat, etc.  And this didn't happen as a result of my forcing myself to not want to buy stuff, but it came from truly questioning where value comes from.  So, when someone asks me if I'm jealous of people in the suburbs who have a bigger house with more "space," I say no not because space is like a piece of chocolate cake I'm trying to resist, but because I don't see it as chocolate cake.  I see the suburbs as a place where you have a second living room you don't step foot in, a dining room you don't touch and deserted playgrounds and sidewalks where people don't connect with each other.  So, for me, the "stuff" of a bigger house doesn't add value to my life.  That's not everyone's life or experience, but it's mine.  So, what I appreciate about the Minimalists is that they change the template that says everyone should want the same things and the same stuff.  We can make our own templates for living that have nothing to do with anyone else's.

Our first experiment with the Minimalists was doing their 30-day Minimalism Game two years ago.  I challenge you to do the game, which asks you to get rid of or donate one item on the first day, two items on the second day, and so on.  My husband and I did it and it was a great way to kick off a life of letting go of excess and making room for meaning.

The Minimalists are the real deal.  They are true to their mission, they're ethical, they add good to the world and they welcome all.   I truly appreciate what they do and the voice they add to the universe. 

How can you connect with the Minimalists?


Thank you to Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus for improving my family's life and contributing good to the world.  Happy Holiday AND Happy 6th Birthday to The Minimalists! 

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