Is BIGGER really better?
The other night I had trouble getting to sleep because the air was thick with an oppressive warmth I was not used to. Out here in Redding, Ca., we don’t get much of a Spring. It goes from cold and rainy to 80 degrees real quick. I like to think of myself as a seasoned individual, wise enough to know that when I can’t fall asleep as quickly as I would like to, it’s time to get out of bed and get busy doing something. It’s far better than lying there in bed worrying about things that most likely will never happen. Don’t do it to yourself!
So, I transitioned into reading about a topic I‘ve been interested in for quite some time—minimalism. Now I’m not talking about the painting and sculpture trend that came about in the 1950’s, or the music that was characterized by short simple phrases. I’m talking about the movement that is making it’s way across the nation and around the world, too. I’m talking about the movement that is helping so many people find more freedom within their lives.
“Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.”
If you haven’t seen Minimalism on Netflix, I want to encourage you to do so. We don’t have to be a minimalist to be able to pick up what Joshua and Ryan are putting down. The documentary opened my eyes to something I was already feeling for a long time, but like most of us who live busy lives, I put it on the back burner.
I recently had a conversation with my girls about how I grew up with a generation who thought life is better when it’s bigger. I mentioned to them that I thought that having the big house, nice cars, fresh threads, expensive shoes and top notch stereo systems meant that we were successful. I was brutally honest in letting them know that Daddy was sold a dream that wasn’t really his, and shared that I would like them to be smarter and more conscious than I was.
I also mentioned to them that though it was nice to have the fly things in life, none of that “stuff” brought me happiness and if it did, it was always short lived, and I felt like I needed to go out and get more, so I could feel that feeling again.
Is bigger really better?
I encouraged them to spend their money on experiences rather than stuff. Stuff can lose value over time, but experience is ours to keep…forever. I am very much aware that lectures and words can only go so far with my kids, and that it does not always equal out to them practicing what I preach. So, I took it upon myself to begin to practice what I had been preaching.
That same night I was reading about minimalism, I began to rid our household of things that no longer served our family, or maybe it did, but it just cluttered our lives. I’ve always believed in the idea of the phrase, “cluttered house, cluttered minds.”
So there I was into the wee hours of the night, pulling pictures off the wall and organizing our main living spaces—the kitchen and living room. The next day I moved into my room and closet. It’s been a few days and I’ve gotten rid of so many things that no longer serve a purpose in our lives.
I took most of the “stuff” to Goodwill and boy were they happy. You know who else was happy? ME. I honestly can’t express to you how much freedom, happiness and relief I feel in just a few days. Made me think that we don’t always have to wait to spring-clean our lives; we can do this as often as we want.
It also made me think of the thoughts and grudges we entertain, too; from time to time we should do a spring-cleaning of the mind as well.
Now I’m no full blown minimalist, but I most definitely like the idea of letting go, so we can enjoy the simple and most important things in our lives. Maybe ask yourself if bigger is really better. This is a great place to start.
If this sounds like something you might be interested in, go ahead and read up on the Minimalists and watch the movie I mentioned earlier. If you want to implement these practices into your life then start with one room at a time, so you don’t experience too much overwhelm.
I took the liberty of providing the trailer of the movie below. Enjoy!
Keep thinking, feeling and living better.