Instead of writing during the past week I have been reading and consuming information. There is so much on the internet. It has become overwhelming for me to realize it all with all its distractions, popups, notifications, messages, and advertisements–the whole online experience can become too much for me to handle. However, we need to use the internet to get things done. So now I’m trying something new to make it a easier for me to get work done. Rather than sitting in front of the computer aimlessly clicking around the social networks or checking my email, I’ve been walking and spending a lot of time with myself in nature. It is during these times of solitude when I can reflect and think about my life and what is important to me. Introspection has led me to a sense of quietness and mindful action. These thoughts float in my mind mainly due to the various blogs I’ve been reading on minimalism, focus, and what is important in life.
The first blogger that hooked me into this type of lifestyle and school of thought is Leo Babauta. He maintains several blogs including ZenHabits and mnmlist and really gets you questioning what components of your life are important, allowing you to put a flag the unnecessary. In his free e-book, Focus : a simplicity manifesto in the age of distraction, he discusses methods behind being more productive by working less. Recently, I have been trying out some of Babauta’s methods and it has been great. On my days off I jog, or walk, in nearby hiking trails for at least an hour. This helps me relieve stress; it clears my mind of unnecessary clutter and puts me into a moving meditation-enjoying the moment. Not only does it calm my mind and exercise my body, but it also prepares me mentally for getting work done and being around other people.
Some other good reads include Joshua Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus’ blog, TheMinimalists, where they talk about their journey toward reducing the amount of ‘stuff’ they have and accepting a minimalist lifestyle that works for them. This is a reason why I think a minimalist lifestyle is so attractive because it is completely unique to the individual’s needs and situation. I think about the questions they raise and I realize that I, too, may have too much ‘stuff.’ I have a closet and dresser full of clothes (50% of which I don’t wear), 2 or 3 storage containers worth of camping gear (more than I need, but it’s nice to have options), a box of books (which is oddly placed in the corner of my room), a car (which could use a vacuuming and some organizing), a laptop, some computer accessories, musical instruments, and numerous little trinkets and small items stowed away in drawers. OK, so I don’t think I have that much stuff, but I could use some more reducing.
I think to myself, “Could I be happy with a just backpack of possessions?” (65 Liter Pack) I think so. After backpacking 7 weeks, I think I have found the right amount of materials I need to survive and be happy. However, I am not at the stage in my life to go hoof it and leave everything behind to live the vagabond lifestyle which I find so appealing. No. Now is the time for me to build my financial foundation so that I can do the things I enjoy (being outdoors, traveling, living simply, and sharing it with good friends, good people).
I think many people want something meaningful in their lives and that something includes their direct involvement. I want to be involved in creating a positive and comforting atmosphere for those who do not get to see it every day. I want to put my energy toward contributing goodness, compassion, and good work. I find that in order to do these things effectively and whole-heartedly, you need time to yourself. Be gentle with yourself in what you do. Notice the habits you wish to change and do what feels right to you. We all see something in our lives that we are not happy with, but the time is now for us to take control of our experience and make it great by filling it with things that are important.
Here are some readings that inspire me to do things that are important to me:
- mnmlist: paring down
- Focus : a simplicity manifesto in the age of distraction
- 10 Life Changing Links
Other Minimalist Sites: