Minimalism — An Approach

In-keeping with the knotty journey of simplification here at The Menagerie Farm, ripe with vicissitude, peaks and troughs, pure joys and quiet moments, we’ve entered 2018 with a shift in mindset. Our ensuing path is that of minimalism. We’d like to enjoy all that we have and have created, more fully. There’s often a mantle of trepidation around that word—minimalism—as if it means sacrifice, asceticism, rigidness, or having less. Not so. It’s plainly manifest by a set of values. And, these values are within embrace.

In a limited framework, we could already be categorized as minimalist—we live in a tent, dis-attached from the grid, in the woods away far from the hubbub, use a composting toilet, delight in many simple pleasures from the land … and since our pipes are all frozen from the pond, we have no running water again! (and probably won’t for months considering the polar conditions here this winter). But, the basic physicality of our life at The Menagerie is a chosen circumstance, not minimalism. Our conscious and deliberate aim, here forward, is to fully embrace the worth of our selves and our time, over our material things and distractions.

In our years of living, and travel, and relationship, and building we have accumulated an abundance of things and distractions, objects and attachments, mini-histories, stories, and distortions …
It’s time to re-frame what has meaning and value and pertinence. Where is our truth? We need to reorient.

At the onset, what does such a reorientation look like? In our life it’s direct and no-nonsense tenets:

  1. De-clutter.
    Pare down the “stuff” around us and slow the flow of accumulation. Create room for breath and vitality. Living in a 700 sq. ft. yurt is lovely—until the encroachment of objects takes over the finite space we have to work. Much is useful, some we just like to look at, and a bit has only the value of emotional history. Our abode has gradually gone from cozy to stuffed; a setting that is both distracting and stifling. The more grateful I become, the less I seem to need. It’s time to prune the excess.
  2. Let Go.
    We’re looking to create more SPACE. Not merely spaciousness in our physical surroundings, but also in our emotional and spiritual environments. Intentional living provides room to breathe … to move nimbly … to re-focus our energy and time on those elements and heartfelt connections that bring us the upmost of joy. Clinging to stuff, harboring the past, floating in the future shrinks possibility. We are made up of what we do, think, and love. It’s time to slow down to the flow of now.
  3. Focus & Engage. Single-task. Curb media usage. Pursue a purpose-driven life. Find consistency and quality. Recognize our impact. For those of you that follow me on Instagram, you’ll see that one of my current meditations is carving tiny wooden bowls—seeking the emptiness in each vessel. It has spilled over, shaping the way I see fit to mold my living. It’s time to utterly connect with what we’re doing, whom we’re with, and where we’re at.

As always, it is my hope that when we strive for the greater good, it spreads outward. What if there could be a global shift in mindset? What if we could all pare down to the essentials that would open our lives to honest connection and experience?

Live simply, so that others may simply live.    – Mahatma Gandhi

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