How intentionally minimising will lead to a mindful life, which is the ultimate aim
I have been on this simplification journey for almost a decade. During this time I have learned a lot, not only about myself but also about what makes other people happy. I think that was my biggest challenge – when I wanted to get rid of something, whether a possession or a habit or a tradition, and I got resistance. Sometimes, something that I perceived as being of no value was regarded highly by someone else. When this happened, I had one of 2 choices – either give in and accept the status quo or try and find a more acceptable alternative or a way for me to be ok with it. Sometimes option 1 is the right choice, other times option 2 is. What has also happened is I would accept things as the way they will stay, and then organically changes will take place leading to what I wanted in the first place. Like magic.
This whole process has led me to realise one major thing – intention. No matter what the thing is that you would like to change or remove or begin, if your intentions are not pure and well-thought through you will not succeed. When I wanted to incorporate more fresh vegetables into our diet, my intention was to increase our energy, decrease how often we become sick, and increase the enjoyment that we get from a simple meal. When I started cutting back on our plastic consumption, the intention was to save the planet, to increase our sustainability, and to make us more intentional in our consumption of everyday products. With the right intention, I could also persuade Husband a lot easier than when I wanted something merely for the sake of change.
Intention means only one thing, and that is mindfulness. According to Mindful.org, mindfulness is “is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”
Intentional living has led to mindful living, meaning that I am more in-tune with the reasoning behind everyday things and practices. Through mindful living, I am growing more aware of who I am and what I want out of life while practising the way to convey this to other people. I also believe that through my own practice of mindfulness I am encouraging and inspiring others to follow suit. Mindful living has transformed my spiritual life, my active life, how I parent, how I love Husband, and most of all, what I possess.
When practising mindful living you will find yourself asking the same questions a thousand times every day. When confronted with anything, be it an item or a thought or a tradition, you ask yourself “how does this serve me?” and “will it bring me joy?”. If the answer is no, then best steer clear. Mindful decluttering takes you further than merely throwing things out for the sake of owning less. When you ask yourself these 2 questions you quickly notice that you hold on to things out of sentiment, and not because they are adding any value to your life. Just asking whether something sparks joy, to me, is too shallow a question. You need to delve deeper – we cannot have a house filled with joy-possessions, and forget that we also need things that fill us with anger or dread (like the toilet plunger – nobody is ever happy when they need to use one of those! No joy, but so practically useful and needed). When considering your possessions in order to declutter, or minimize, you need to practice mindfulness.
The link between minimalism and mindfulness
Minimalism and mindfulness do go hand-in-hand if you realise that minimalism is not only about owning less. The main aim of minimalism is to empower you to want less. That will automatically spill over to what you own. If you are mindful about minimizing, you are on the right track to becoming a true minimalist, and not merely someone who owns very little.
Mindfulness teaches us to talk to ourselves with kindness, which is a powerful part of creating a more meaningful and peaceful life. In my opinion, minimalism and mindfulness are two sides of the same coin. They work together to create the conditions needed to have a simple and satisfying life. Without mindfulness, the pursuit of minimalism will be futile and unsuccessful.
By practising minimalism and owning less, we are able to simplify our lives. This, in turn, creates the time and space needed to become more mindful. Allowing us to be present in the moment. By focusing on being mindful and present, we become more intentional about what takes up our time and space. And as I said in the beginning, that is what it is all about – intention.
May you experience the joy of a simple life.