I have increasingly been receiving questions about living simply lately. When I changed my lifestyle over twenty years ago I was surprised to discover an actual movement based on the ideas and sensibilities I held, called Voluntary Simplicity. Now, Minimalism has taken hold as the trendy term.
I have some issues around the term, as it seems to hit some people as a a lifestyle change requiring unwanted discomfort, poverty, giving up of "stuff" overall perceived as a sacrifice. All of which has negative connotations and seems to be received sometimes as the hammer of justice telling people what they "should" and "must" do. Ouch.
This is not the motivation I wish for people's contemplations about and decisions to let go of their current lifestyles. Yes, I wish for people and western culture as a whole, to wake up and see the harm and disconnect caused by and at the root of the ways of living prescribed in our culture. And of course I would expect this to involve pain. Past that and underneath it, though, is a remembering and reclaiming of ways of living that honor and respect the earth and the natural life cycles and wisdom inherent in its design - of which we are a part.
While the tearing away from previous decisions and their repercussions could be painful for various reasons, at some point, and hopefully from the start or early on, the vision and feeling of the life one is remembering and going towards, would be overall pleasant and at least inspiring and heart-felt.
If you are asking questions about minimalism from the perspective of it being a sacrifice and with resistance and worry - that signals to me that you are uncomfortable, in fear, contemplating a change of lifestyle for unhealthy reasons (such as “shoulds”) and perhaps are misunderstanding what it is really or optimally about.
My message and wish for you is, "Keep searching and looking within. Listen to your heart over your head."
And feel free to read my past (and future!) blog posts with reflections on what my consciously simple life looks like, its benefits and joys as well as challenges. May my words and life model for you one of infinite creative possibility and offer you encouragement and inspiration.
Robin Rainbow Gate
I help midlife people and beyond to find their inner power, health and well being through slow living
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