Learning Minimalism

When my wife and I began living together my understanding of minimalism was that it was very nice but something for other people. People who didn’t want many things. I understood it as binary; either you were a natural minimalist, or you weren’t. And I wasn’t.

Starting From Scratch

I have been struggling to remain even a little intentional, to shape my workflow and make my pace my own. Outside work my time is rushed as I work out how to fit in the things I once took for granted, time to spend with loved ones, time to be creative and hear my thoughts.

My Inner Critic & I

Over time I’ve learned to listen closely to this voice, and I’ve learned something interesting…

To my surprise, I discovered that my Inner Critic actually cares about me. She cares about me deeply and she doesn’t want me to get hurt, disappointed or ridiculed.

In fact, it is my poor Inner Critic who is insecure and terrified of everything. In an ill-expressed and dysfunctional way, she’s trying to keep me sheltered and out of harm’s way.

Stoking the creative fires.

Being around so much passion, and letting mine free in that environment, made me realise that – instead of letting myself express what is important to me, what makes my heart sing, what makes me feel alive and purposeful – too often I dowse my creative fire with an overpowering slosh of “reality”. Which is really another word for excuses and procrastination. In truth I hide my passion from people in case I fail and am laughed at, or in case someone disagrees with my opinions and thinks worse of me.

Compassion and intention.

As I’ve been thinking about intention over the past few weeks I have begun to recognise a certain impatience in my mood.

I’m eager to start this intentionality practice. I want to appreciate life more. I want to set great goals, to begin to work toward them with firm intention. I want to live in a state of constant gratitude. I want change. I want change now.

In her comment on my last post, the wonderful T.O. Weller mentioned lists as a sign of potential overwhelm. As I read her words a little voice in my brain said, “Oh. Oh dear.”

See, the thing is, I’m up to my eyeballs in lists.

single autumn leaf in black & white

Right here, right now.

Imagine if everyone on Earth suddenly gained the gift of presence. What if we were able to slow down and step away from hyperactivity and disconnect: listen to what’s going on inside, see the person next to us with empathy, be aware of how our actions impact others and impact the world, and become aware of what is essential for our own wellbeing.

What if we were all able to stop anaesthetising the effects of chaos and overwhelm with more: more busywork, more junk food, more drink, more Netflix binges. To pull our heads out of the sand and see what is happening around us.

We may not be able to snap our fingers and bring presence to the world, but we can choose how to live our own lives.

What does intention look like to you?

Being intentional has no “one size fits all” option. It takes a unique form in your life, shaping itself to perfectly fit you, your desires and your needs.

In my life (sometimes, sometimes not) being intentional looks like this:

– Being present and mindful in even the smallest of tasks.
– Being comfortable sitting alone with my thoughts and feelings.
– Leaning into discomfort and fear.
– Spending time with those I love and hearing what they say, not what I think they say.