As promised, following this past Monday’s post, ‘Lighten Your Load & Pack Less!’ I’d like to dive in deeper to the conversation around how the practice of minimizing the amount of possessions you have can help clear space within yourself; at the same time understanding that in order to master the art of minimalism you first need to clear up space internally. It will all happen in the same moment essentially. By sharing my story of why I started to minimize the ‘things’ in my life and how the journey and realizations lead me to where I am now, I hope you’ll be able to recognize how the art of minimalism really can be simple if you choose to start doing one very simple thing (I’ll share this near the end).
I won’t give you the answers because if I’m to be perfectly honest neither I nor anyone else can give you them, what I can do though is help you find them within yourself. If you’re someone who is or has been in the past, a person who feels their possessions have weighed them down, or created a false sense of temporary comfort and/or joy, then you’ll want to stick around until the end of this post. Mastering the art of minimalism has allowed me to find the comfort and safety internally rather than in the external; this is an incredibly beautiful thing and I wish for all of you to develop this within your own lives.
Personally I have gone through these stages, acquiring more ‘things’ during certain points in my life than throughout others. Luckily, my journey has taught me how to maintain the balance by making sure that every time I acquire something new, I get rid of one ‘thing’ I don’t use anymore. I was never much for material possessions anyways but when you leave your country only with a travel backpack and a suitcase, you not only experience downsizing on a mega level quite suddenly but you also develop a deep attachment to the ‘stuff’ you do still have. It’s literally your life on your back and you feel that without it, you really have nothing. I spent the first few years of my time abroad being very dependent on the life I carried around on my back, until I realized the weight it had wasn’t only something I physically felt but it was actually causing blockages within myself that prevented the growth and greater self development work I wanted to do.
Dumping My First Baggage Load
I love this story I’m about to tell, and I laugh back to myself every time I think about the ridiculousness of it…
I use to be very sentimental towards the few possessions I was able to take with me when I left Canada; they provided me a lot of comfort and strength to push on through any obstacles I faced, or at least I thought they helped, and for that point in my life they seemed to. It was in 2013 my boyfriend, at the time, and I were packing up our Scottish life and moving to Spain for a couple months. I clearly remember the night of packing. Yes, it was not done in advance, it was one of those ‘oh shit, it’s 8pm and we haven’t started packing and our flight is in the early am’ sort of things. As panic set in (on my end of course, I always use to stress right before a big move), at the lack of time we had, we still hadn’t even eaten dinner so we ordered takeaway from our favorite Greek restaurant, took a taxi there and back to pick it up as they didn’t deliver. We literally couldn’t waste another minute not putting our attention into packing. That was the first time I ever paid a taxi to go and pick up my take away ajaja. So the point is, as I was packing my things, I realized that it all wasn’t going to fit no matter the configuration I tried and believe me I tried all of the possibilities. In the end the only solution was to part with a few more possessions than I had originally wanted to.
I held up each item that didn’t fit in the bag, looked at it, and asked myself, ‘Do I really need this?’ If the answer was a definite no, it went into the rubbish pile, which later that night went into the rubbish bin outside our flat. Let’s just say that whomever visited the dumpster behind our flat must have thought Christmas came just a bit sooner. So with that said, the stubborn me threw out what I could more of less easily part with and the rest, I spent the entire night stuffing my ‘cannot part with items’ into my suitcase. If I only knew then what I know now, I would have parted with those items way before and saved myself the tears the next morning when we were rushing to repack my bag at the airport after Ryanair told me it was too large. In the end, I had to dump the last of those few possessions, I didn’t want to let go of the night before, in the airport bins as I literally ran to catch our flight. What a fiasco that was. I literally hung onto them until the very last moment.
What does this all have to do with minimizing in your day to day you may ask? Well, it’s simply an observation I made after this which was that often we don’t see the importance or don’t attempt to minimilise our posessions until we absolutely have to; until we’re in a situation that forces us to give them up. Much persuassion to let go of these items seems to be the only thing that will force us to part with them but it doesn’t have to be like that.
Letting go of possessions we attach a sentimental value to
doesn’t have to feel like a loss
Since that experience, and after realizing those ‘things’ were only providing me temporary comfort, I began to become less attached to even the few things I did have. I started traveling more with less, and with every trip I took, I also brought less with me. With each and every new adventure, I started to feel my experiences more deeply, I began to recognize that with less stuff I actually felt more free and not only that but I felt even more comfort. It’s definitely taken years to get to this point but I now know that I could literally leave everything I have, right now, and be ok. The ‘things’ we have don’t protect us from anything, they only create a block in our mind which makes us feel this sense of dependency on our possessions, tricking us into thinking we need them to surive and thrive. Well folks, let me say, everything you need is within and when you start opening up to trusting in all the strength and power you have inside, you’ll be able to more easily let go of the things you once thought you needed to provide you that feeling of comfort and security.
With that said, I challenge all of you to start minimizing not only by getting rid of things in your home and life that no longer serve you, that will only be an action that will fail to have the effect you desire, you must back your actions with intention; therefore, before doing this, I challenge you to start the journey by trusting in yourself first. When you learn to do this fully, the art of minimising becomes simple. Trusting in yourself will help you see that it isn’t the stuff you have that will protect you from anything but rather, it is the internal stability, balance, strength, and security that will support you through life.