I’ll keep this short and sweet. Minimal. (At least I’ll attempt to be. It’s a complicated subject.)
Since the last Write By Midnight, I have slowly been embracing what it means to live a slow, simple and minimalist lifestyle. I mean to truly live it for my own personal health (be it physical or mental), for the sake of my family and for the sake of my writing.
The terms minimalism, slow living and simplicity have gotten watered down; they have become buzz words. In some cases, they have been used to sell pretention. Just read most pop-culture blogs filled with comsummer-washed posts that have turned minimalism into an excuse to sell “minimaliast” products! (Nobody needs a new “minimalist” teapot when the one they have already works! Defeats the purpose me thinks!) Using these words to push product is just another way to clutter our minds and homes and to grow the landfill, but I’ll save that gripe for another post on another blog. That’s not what I’m after here.
My pursuit for living a simplier life stems from a parenting book actually. This is the moment where I name the book, but know by no means am I saying you must go out and buy it. Libraries rock; use them. But if you’re like me and like to highlight or don’t mind dropping 16 bucks on occasion, have at it. (I confess it’s 16 bucks well spent.)
Drum roll, please!
While the book is a guide for parents to help children sail the waves of what has become a stimulation-centric world, I found what they wrote about applied to me as well and that a change in lifestyle was essential to spending my time in more meaningful ways.
To begin, Payne (who has a Waldorf background) and Ross address why we should simplify and it’s simple: we have what they call a soul fever. In summary, we are doing too much, trying to be too much and living so fast we can’t see where we are going or where we have been, not to mention where we are presently. We do a lot, and most of the time we don’t do it very well. As a result, we are burnt out, frustrated and ineffective. Not a conducive environment for living, not a conducive environment for creating either.
I found as I tried to work on my day off or during my scheduled writing time, that I was unable to focus because I was always thinking about the week’s busy schedule, or how untidy my house was becoming or how everything just always felt chaotic. For me, the first step began with acknowledging that not only did my kids have a “soul fever”, but that I did too.
How to fix that, again, it’s simple: simplify. My goal has been to have more time to write, to be more focused when I do and to not feel like I’m neglecting anything or anybody else in my pursuit to finish my book. The book advises simplifying four areas: the environment (home, etc.), rhythm ( daily routine), schedules, and filtering out the adult world (for us, as adults, that means being more mindful of the information we consume while still being aware of what’s happening in the world). Over my next four posts, I’d like to examine these four areas and share how learning to live slower, simpler and more minimally is changing how I work.
I believe in these “buzz” words, because they are more than buzz; they are a code for living a more satifiying life. A code that can give us the time to pursue our creative endeavors. No brand new teapot required.