8 Apr 2019

THE POWER OF INTENTIONAL LIVING + MINIMALISM


Sweet readers! Salutations! I had a particularly powerful meditation on a recent morning. I was struck by the energy of inspiration to share my thoughts on minimalism and intention. I want to share these with you because for me, "minimalism" is not a simply matter of material possessions, or lack thereof. In this post I will discuss how living simply and intentionally benefits my psychological, spiritual, and emotional being. This will not be relevant to some. We are all on our own path. I recognize "minimalism" is not resonant - or accessible - to everyone. For as many of us humans as there are, there are that many ways to be. (This is a whole political discussion about access and power which I will get to in a later post. For now, you can google minimalism and privilege, if you like.)

I have mixed feelings about the term "minimalism" because of how it has been appropriated by elite demographics. (I acknowledge my own level of privilege as I am in a stable housing situation, do not experience food scarcity, etc.) The term minimalism has sometimes come to denote a mere aesthetic that is practically as tied with consumerism as other lifestyles. I prefer the mentality and concept of intention over minimalism, since intentionality is what minimalism means for me. Refer to Oprah for more on intention (I adore her, aaaand speaking of privilege...) 

I easily get wrapped up in the consumerism game of Keepin Up With The Jones' and find myself placing my identity into the objects I possess. For example, if I don't keep these earrings and wear them out one night, I won't end up finding my soul mate!? They need to see I'm ~cool~ and the only way they'll see that is if I have the earring! I AM THE EARRING!? AHH! My ego becomes bound to these objects, and my happiness becomes superficially dependent on material things, or certain people, behaviours, or thought patterns. What makes me ME is not the earring, not the thoughts, not the partner or friend, but my own spirit. My spirit is always with me, my spirit is all I need (along with food, water, shelter, nature documentaries, hot baths, chocolate, lesbian romance films... I do have some needs, okay.) Through intentional living, every thing I possess and choose to keep around me becomes more special.

I have always been a highly sensitive person, so having less stimulation of most kinds is generally preferred. I favour basic colours, natural light, instrumental music, lots of space to breath, essential oils, and comfortable fabrics. I choose very intentionally the people I surround myself with, the cognitive patterns I engage in, and the behavioural patterns I act out. These aspects of my physical, emotional and psychological living space keep me grounded and calm, alleviating some of my challenges with neurodivergency. I experience less anxiety when I have a simpler environment. When I am surrounded by people/objects/practices I have specially chosen, I can more easily connect with feelings of gratitude and joy.

The more I meditate, the more I am able to recognize I do not have to cling to preconceived ideas of what and who I am. This concept is connected to theories in certain sects of Buddhism, which tells us in order to find nibbāna, we must unbind from the pleasures and pains of life that are bound to the ego and individual self. I find great peace in the moments I know that my "self" is impermanent (anicca) and imagined (anattā). I do not have to compare my self to others, worry if I am [fill in the blank] enough, or be embarrassed or regretful about my future or past. This is incredibly powerful in the moments I can feel my place in the world as an immortal slice of energy, lucky enough to get a human experience for a few years. I am of the earth! 

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Ultimately, having less stuff around me frees up space, time and energy to do and be more. That is intention and minimalism for me. Living simply brings my spirit enrichment, and brings me closer to what and who I am, because I have less distractions in my path. What I choose to keep becomes more sacred, thus I have more gratitude for it. I am surrounded by calm, and by what I truly love.

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A couple final notes. 1) This process has been gradual and comfortable at pretty much every stage. I believe going at my own pace has been crucial to the sustainability of this lifestyle. Each time I choose to let go of something else, it feels right, and natural. I genuinely don't need the thing anymore. I have no regrets or worries, because I truly understand the object/practice/relationship/identity is no longer serving me. I am happy to let go of these things, more than scared. Where I am now has been years in the making, arguably my whole life. I recommend moving at a pace that is comfortable and natural for you, if such movement is something you're interested in at all! 2) As I write this post, I notice that I am allowing my identity to become a bit wrapped up in "big M" minimalism, wanting to be seen as a hip babe who meditates all the time and has transcended ego. Lol. No. Stay alert to where the ego goes! It wants to bind to everything, like a flax egg!

I'd love to know: what is your relationship with intention and minimalism? Email me and comment below, if you like! Until next time, darlings...

xo, 
em


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