Maybe Not Minimalism
I have been trying to make my life more manageable for years–ever since Barry got cancer while I was working and going to school. Part of that has been not acquiring as many things because I eventually want to move South.
At the same time, I have been looking for spiritual sanity–not emotional or hierarchical manipulation. Zen has fit the bill.
My urges for simplicity have led to a fascination with Zen rock gardens, Amish decor, and just organization in general.
So I recently bought some books on minimalism. Some of the ideas really appeal to me: paring down to only the essentials, making intentional choices, and only doing and having things that truly add value to my life. But something didn’t sit right, and I wasn’t sure what it was. I didn’t want to become one of those people that has 100 items and that is all. What I want is space, margin, breathing room, or whatever you want to call it. I have to take care of Barry and all of our responsibilities. What I want is the ability to do something stressful and then be able to decompress afterwards, and not to have to jump into the next stressful thing without so much as a breather.
I also want the ability to travel after Barry is gone. That sounds simple, but it isn’t if I have a boat load of things at home that need attending to. This is where having less stuff comes into play. It’s not that I don’t want to own anything; it’s that I don’t want anything to own me.
What I like about Zen Habits and its author, Leo Babauta, is the emphasis that you don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to. Take it one habit at a time. It’s about tailoring your life to what’s really important to you. What a concept.