I was recently asked, “Do people use minimalism as an escape mechanism?”
My response was as follows:
I’m sure some do - as life is full of everything.
What I fear, more, is that many use minimalism as a way to shame themselves and curl away from the delicious, abundant juiciness of life.
Minimalism as a denial of materialism
Minimalism often seems hard and cold and like a withholding or denial of materialism.
Nevertheless, that motivation toward minimalism holds valid points: Materialism, consumerism and Industrial Age thinking that has tried to control nature and deny the divine - all that has created the very situation and untenable mess modern culture has created for itself.
Sacrificing pleasure and joy for correctness and austerity
I think one has to be careful not to deny pleasure and what brings joy in life as exchange or sacrifice for being “correct”, responsible, and austere. Unless that is one’s true nature and feels truly nourishing, healthy and harmonious!
Looking into your cultural programming and brainwashing
We do live in a physical world. We are physical beings. So, my invitation would be for folks to investigate the way they’ve been living, yes. Look into the programming and brainwashing by culture and even their/your families, and come to your own, deep, true and honest view. I have a free Intentional Living jumpstart worksheet to help you in that process.
And eventually, or all at once if that serves you, make changes to live in accordance with your values, while honoring your joys and passions – all in balance.
This can be a difficult road and process. And I remember for me, I knew I was entering into territory that would threaten and exclude me from familiar and cultural support.
So, I created a Voluntary Simplicity Support Group in the city where I lived - just for this purpose. It was so helpful to have community and kindred spirits, fellow seekers and sensitive souls, to share, explore, bounce ideas off of, learn from and with. We did this for over eight years.
Courage to live life my own way
The experience gave me the courage to live life my own way. In the process, I became a leader and model of simple living (called voluntary simplicity at that time) where I lived.
I certainly have continued to follow my heart and values in the life I now enjoy in an indigenous mountain village in Mexico.
My book, “Calling Myself Home: Living Simply, Following Your Heart and What Happens When You Jump” is the story of this journey - where I came from, what I went through, and where and how I arrived into a new life in an old world - beyond any fiction I could have made up.
I also coach, teach and (in the works) lead retreats to help support midlife folks in their simple living transition and journey - to their most fulfilling, true to them, soulful life.
But you, dearest, are you sacrificing joy and pleasure for "correctness" and austerity? If so, I encourage you to inquire within your heart about the beliefs and burdens you've chosen and picked up along the way. Do they serve? And what would be a gentler, softer, self-loving way for you to live out the rest of your days?
If you are interested in, grappling with, actively seeking or considering a move towards living simply or minimalistically, here are some other articles I've written that specifically address minimalism vs. simple living. Definitely worthwhile food for thought.
Click on the links to read these articles:
Do you think you could adapt a minimalist lifestyle?
Are You a Yes or a No Woman?
Are You A Minimalist? What Do You Own Or Don't Own That Gives You Contentment?
How Does Minimalist Lifestyle Contribute to our Society from an Environmental Standpoint?
Earthquake Post Shock
Robin Rainbow Gate
I help people midlife and beyond to find their inner power, health and well being through slow living
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