On the surface, Minimalism as a life style choice appeared to offer me the tool set to make the positive changes I wanted to see happen. I am a very logical thinker so from there I needed to define Minimalism before I could embrace any sort of change in my life. Without doing this I didn't really know where to begin, how to begin or what it was that I was beginning. So I set about trying to create My own definition of Minimalism..... Actually that's not totally true. I didn't want to reinvent the wheel, what I was really trying to do was uncover "pure minimalism". At this point all I had really managed to find were very generic umbrella type definitions (remember the dangers of being too general).
Armed with the decision that my focus was to be my family, my relationship and my personal spirituality, I was able to gain a small foothold of understanding and My personal definition of Minimalism began to take shape. The word "Minimise" obviously provided me with some insight. Its very general but basically I understood that it meant the reduction of something, downsizing, simplification, decluttering or basically "to make smaller and less complex". At this point I was still a long way off implementing any changes in my life, however I was now able to focus my thoughts a little more on ways to integrate the concept of Minimalism into my every day routine. The generic definition under which I would operate and use to create a more specific list of "life Rules", finally presented it's self to me via the Internet:
The definition (artistic focus):
"Minimalism is an artistic movement which sets out to expose the essence, essentials or identity of a subject through eliminating all non-essential forms, features or concepts"
The definition that I finally settled on came about after looking at dictionary definitions associated with minimalism and then doing a billion trillion hours of research to try and determine the true essence of Minimalism. Through examining the concept from a more holistic/spiritual stand point my definition, more worldly less artistic than the original, came into being. When doing this I tried to keep in mind that the end goal should not only be to only make my life better but MORE importantly to positively impact those close to me. Notice my focus is Family, relationships and lastly "spirituality" (more "self" orientated and thus third on my list).
Minimalism is a life style choice which sets out to enhance family life, relationships and personal spirituality by revealing the essence and essentials of daily life through eliminating all non-essential forms, features, concepts, actions, views or possessions.
Great, now that I had a definition I could begin to read more about Minimalism, subscribe to blogs, chat with like minded people and join online communities to further work out what Minimalism means to me. From there I could formulate my "life rules", checked and balanced against my definition. My definition became my sounding board so to speak. I like to call my version "Essential Minimalism" as I believe it reflects the most pure form of Minimalism because my goals are focused on others not myself. It was only because I now had a working definition that I could begin to look at my life critically with a view to change.
"A mind can't know the light without having experienced darkness". I have lived a life of excess, confusion, complexity, self indulgence and sometimes total anarchy. Minimalism became my light and my previous mindset/life the darkness. As my definition came to light so I moved out of a life of darkness... I was no longer seeing things through selfish eyes, I was not going to be one of the "little boxes on a hill side (quoted from the song little boxes) anymore.
WOW, "I'm a Minimalist", I can remember thinking..... NOT.... With hindsight I can see I still had a long way to go. I did however have a new weapon in my arsenal, MY definition of essential minimalism. So where was I.... I knew I needed to minimise the non-essential in order simplify my life, but where the hell do I begin and what do I need to change. To make matters even more daunting I was still unsure if doing this would really achieve anything or make things better... Maybe it will make my life worse !!
In my next post I will elaborate a little more on the processes I went through to develop my "life Rules" and many of the ideas, concepts and people I needed to consider when doing so.