The world is desperate for, even envious of, people living purposeful lives that are free from fear.
In a reflection about the past couple of years, I evaluated the heaping piles of reading material and bookmarked blog posts consumed on simplicity and minimalism. It’s quite impressive, really. When I am intrigued by something, somehow every orifice of the earth is excavated to hunt and gather books, movies, articles, websites and blogs that fill my internal subject file with wisdom. I’m stopping short of calling this simplicity quest an obsession, but lately as I scan my bookshelf, it feels it might be heading in the direction of “dog with a bone land”.
I decided to ask myself why.
Why do I feel compelled to read the thoughts of people who have successfully pursued a more simple lifestyle?
The simple answer…
I’m looking for courage.
I’m mining the minimalist masses for inspiration and stories of change that mattered.
I’m learning that people really can let go of the conventional and embrace the meaningful.
I’m understanding the degree of discipline and self-evaluation it requires.
Intention. Purpose. Meaning….these are new friends at my table, asking the hard questions, pointing to the places where courage lives and waiting for action.
What it comes down to is this: I can do hard things.
In 43 years I have:
-Endured a whole heart surgery process with my first child
-Run four marathons
-Started over with my husband in New York with two toddlers in tow
-Started over again after we moved back to the Northwest
-Successfully dealt with eating issues in college that nearly broke my spirit
-Created a thriving photography business
-Published a book
-Met with my parents to talk about the damage of their divorce
-Dealt with and healed from said damage
-Re-entered teaching after 13 years and discovered the whole climate has changed.
I. Can. Do. Hard. Things.
Then…..why the heck is it so hard to hold up two shirts and decide which one needs to go?
Why does clearing out my attic in this house feel kin to building the Golden Gate?
Why do I get stomach flutters when faced with the neck-breaking pace of our week’s schedule?
It’s not rocket surgery, as my daughter likes to say…and although I know this, the process somehow has become a little more pie-in-the-sky than I’d prefer.
By reading stories from successful simplifiers, I think I’m looking for someone to make it look easy…and I might even be looking for permission, which seems ridiculous, given my can-do list above.
What is the metaphorical jack-knifed truck in my minimalist highway?
Fear that I might not succeed is one. What if the crapola in the attic never gets to a small manageable pile? What if I miss items that have been ruthlessly purged? What if my friends and family think I’ve lost it? What if I don’t appear minimalist enough to the community I write this blog for?
Yet…with every story of simplifying, I find a little smidgen of courage. With every blog post read over breakfast I gain a little more wisdom about why it’s important.
You know what?
I decided I’d like to provide that kind of inspiration for others on the fence. Sometimes it’s just plain awesome to read about someone else’s process and how they overcame their hard things.
There’s a book in the works. I’ve been chronicling this journey for awhile now. I’m diligently writing it for an hour and a half each morning before I leave for my 3rd grade classroom. It’s encouraging to read what I’ve written and discover that I’ve come a long way, baby.
It also helps to chronicle what’s been done for change and what still needs to be done. Writing keeps me sane and I love it. I’ll keep you posted as to the when and where of it all.
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How ’bout you, friends? What gives you courage to move forward with something you know is needed in your life? What are your hard things?
Nice post! I found you from Miss Minimalist today and enjoyed your story. I was just featured a few weeks ago and have been enjoying that avenue of finding other minimalists. 🙂 I like the idea of connecting letting go of things to doing hard things, I’ve not thought of it that way before. For me, it’s way easier to let go of stuff than do “real” hard things. Which might be why I like minimizing, it accomplishes something with pretty low risk. I’ll have to keep thinking on this!
I’m glad you found me! I think the connection to other minimalists is what’s keeping me going. I remember your story! You guys really went for it by moving into your apartment after your big yard sale. I admired your get-er-done mentality as it is not easy to get a whole family on board. Looking at your blog, I can see you have a can-do attitude about a lot of things. Very inspiring! I resonated with your story and I’m so glad you read mine 🙂 Let’s keep in touch with our progress. Best to you and your family!
Courage comes from doing – from threading the needle to sewing the last stitch, from growing the ingredients all the way to preparing the meal. It’s the little things that build you up and give you wings to simply soar!
Beautifully said, Cheryl. Showing up is the first part and following it through is the key!
Love, love, love your blog, its layout, your writing style, your thoughts. I have a minimalist blog, too, and I share your desire to read others. For me, I read for the encouragement. The encouragement to keep going, to keep looking in those dark corners of my closet, to keep my “clutter radar” sharp. Thank you for writing.
Thank you, Angie! Appreciate your kind words so much. Just went to your blog—great thoughts and tips! I love contemplating what my purse says about me! Scary things, no doubt. 🙂 Let’s keep in touch with what’s on our clutter radar screens. Best to you!
For me, minimalism kind of pushes me to do the hard things in life. If I don’t have the stuff to distract me anymore, I am forced to see the situation I am currently in and this pushes me to do something about it. It is harder to ignore something when you are confronted with it directly and minimalism makes confrontation easier.
I wholeheartedly agree, Jessica. Once I started focusing more because less was coming into my house/job/head there is no hiding! It has helped me be more bold in taking action.
Oh.my.word. You’re writing my exact thoughts and feelings. I, too, Google minimalist terms in hopes of finding inspiration and encouragement. I,too, am unsure of using the label minimalist because I’m afraid people will look at my home and say, “You’re not minimalist enough.” So glad to find your blog! As a homeschooling mom of 3, it’s refreshing to read from minimalist parents. I have a hard time relating to childless bloggers as living a simple lifestyle with children is a whole ‘nother animal!
So glad you found my blog! I think you’re right—there is such a big difference between the travelin’ single girl with a laptop and the frazzled mom who is trying to keep all of the gear off the counter. Here’s to us both figuring it out 🙂