Mindful Moments

Minimalism Life Weekly Edit

“Minimalism is the tool that creates the margin for the things you care most about.”

—The Minimalists

We’d like to invite you to subscribe to and support our Inside Minimalism series, which offers exclusive essays on living simply.

Embracing the Process of Craft

In defence of the amateur experimenters

By George Maguire

Think of the word craft and there seems to be a common association with forms of wildly expressed expertise. We conjure in our minds verifiable masters; possibly figures like Michelangelo, perched close to the ceiling in the Vatican, brush extended; or Rene Redzepi, the chef of the world’s greatest restaurant, NOMA. Maybe even a local venerated carpenter; 30 years into his practice; a master of the chisel and saw.

The word’s reputation goes even further. When we are crafty, we are perceived as evasive or sneaky; qualities not uncommon with magicians. Surely, those of not steeped in specific talents are surely too blunt, too obtuse, too distractible to master the mysterious subjects that craftsman work with. We affirm this with the habitual and somewhat damaging colloquialism ‘I can’t draw’.

I would argue that we come to such conclusions too swiftly. We ignore that standing firmly in reality; craft is simply a process, not a destination. It is a spectrum that includes all levels, not just the renowned and spotlight-bound. By trying something new and striving to learn, we are destined to learn something. Just how much… is up to you.

A recent set of experiences have reassured me on this line of thinking. I have taken up baking; sourdough bread to be specific, commercial yeasts wild and cantankerous relative. Set against a setting of esteemed sourdough bakeries all over the world, I certainly don’t plan to open a bakery and certainly won’t reach the quality of Bristol’s or London’s finest offerings. But that doesn’t matter. I have absorbed a great deal. I now know the difference between real and fake bread, how to knead dough and how to make it rise. As a result of all these things, I appreciate bread more. As is the way with anything we invest ourselves in.

Who knows what is next for me; perhaps craft beer, different forms of writing, growing plants, or even movement practices such as yoga. All of these are intriguing and they all have minimal entry thresholds, costing very little to get started. I know that they have depth I will never reach, but I am ok with that. The fundamentals are fun.

You don’t need to be a master to do something. You just need to do it. It’s all easy at the beginning. Start simply.

Safe Places

Using the philosophy of “You Only Live Once” to live a life of quality

By Rutvi Rossaendra M.

Working for a corporate company, a lot was expected of me—a lot of work, progress, money, luxury, promotions, work hours, socialising, and things I could no longer count. I was climbing a mandatory ladder leading to even more of these expectations. I was trapped.

I was also drained. I had short-term memory loss; I would forget events I had attended and people I had met within 48 hours. A lot was lost in the sea of Corporate. Despite great friends, a great career, and a life of dreams, I felt empty. I wasn’t living at all. I was insecure and afraid of losing things I never owned. I was overwhelmed by constant distractions and mental clutter!

The Real YOLO Moments

For nearly three years, I was a minimalist when it came to my possessions—but with my life, I was anything but. I was living according to a “You Only Live Once” philosophy where you do everything you possibly can because time is limited. Attend every event, set up three businesses in one go, take two professional qualifications and run three work projects, just because you can. I never realised that this “YOLO” philosophy was really about the quality—not quantity—of experience. One great project or business that you are passionate about is sufficient. Moments with loved ones are more valuable than the ones spent climbing a corporate ladder.

Intentional Observation

Our real quality moments are often the ones we overlook. So I made an effort to observe. Where in the day did I find my “Safe Places”? I define a Safe Place as a moment where I felt indescribable happiness and bliss, positivity and calm. It could also be a person with whom I could laugh my heart out, or a place where I could close my eyes for hours and wake up with joy. I feel safe in these moments.

My Safe Places

At a table by the window of the coffee shop down the road, having an oat latte with a warm croissant. Fresh air and mountain sunrises. Warm morning sun and the sound of waves. Going on adventures with only carry-on luggage. Writing postcards. Spending time to care for people in need. Kissing and hugging my partner. Laughing with him until my cheeks hurt. Playing cards with my parents. Working on my favourite business project. Cuddling with my year-old niece. Waking up early to exercise, practice yoga, and meditate. Spending time with my best friends. Writing 10 things I am grateful for each morning. Studying Spanish for 10 minutes a day. Reading every morning and listening to classical music. Spending time at a mountain cabin with a log fire inside and snow outside. Cooking simple yet delicious meals. These are my real YOLO moments.

What are your Safe Places? They are a part of your daily life, only waiting to be noticed.

Being Deliberate

I deliberately schedule more time at my Safe Places every day. It can be early mornings, lunch breaks, or late evenings. I have removed people, events and commitments that no longer serve me. I have cut down my business initiatives. I buy quality products and never more than I need. I eat clean and feel great in mind and body. I exercise and meditate every day. I have done less and yet achieved more in my career and in my personal life. Deliberately choosing my life has helped me focus and reinvest my time and energy to maximize the value returned. I feel balanced. 

Your Safe Places are closer than you think and I hope you find them and visit them every day.

A Little More of Less

A few other articles we think you might enjoy…

What My Mind Does When I Commit to Hard Things by Leo Babauta

The Stories We Tell Ourselves by Joshua Becker

The Powerful Practice of Living Without by Courtney Carver

Are any of your friends interested in minimalism or living simply?

If so, please invite them to subscribe.

Brought to You By

MinimalissimoThe Minimalists, and 5 STYLE

Mindful Moments

Minimalism Life Weekly Edit

“A willingness to let go is life’s most mature virtue.”

—The Minimalists

We’d like to invite you to subscribe to and support our Inside Minimalism series, which offers exclusive essays on living simply.

Better Questions

Asking better questions leads to better answers

By The Minimalists

What’s a closely held belief you haven’t questioned lately?
When’s the last time you changed your mind?
Why are you clinging to blind certainty?

Want to change something?
Change often starts with a question.

Holding onto a precious belief?
Question it.

Want a better answer?
Ask a better question.

Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?

Who is the person you want to become?
What is truly important?
When will you let go?
Where do you want to be?
Why do you give so much meaning to (blank)?
How will you define your own success?

Better questions lead to better answers, and those answers allow us to more confidently traverse the path we’re on, or change our minds and find a new path. Either way we win.

Finding Your Idaho

Cultivating a simple state of mind in your everyday life

By Madison Robertson

Growing up, long before I stumbled upon minimalism, we had a sign in my house that said “simplify” in big blue letters. It hung over our basement as a constant reminder to appreciate the simple things in life. Of all the decorations, it got the most compliments. It was a beacon of reason in a world filled with distraction. It was radically different than the messages most people saw everyday. A simple life always beckoned, but I didn’t really know what a simple life looked like.

When I was 11 years old, my family went on a road trip to a tiny town in Idaho just outside of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The town sits in the Teton Valley, surrounded by trees and the mountains. There’s a single main street with a single grocer. The homes are spread out and free from fences. People hand their ladders on the side of the house, trusting their community not to steal. It was quiet. Simple. Miles and miles of open space and mountains. It was the only place I've been to that was the embodiment of “the simple life”. Living there looked like living with such intention and contentment. My mom, one of the biggest inspirations on my minimalist journey, fell in love with this town. She vowed that one day, she would live there. She would have the simple life, far from the chaos she had come to know. She found her Idaho.

As I’ve grown and reflected since then, I have found that Idaho is just as much a place as it is a state of mind. Some people live by the “Empire State of Mind”, always on the go and chasing their ambitious dreams. Others have that “L.A. State of Mind”, going with the tides, but also following the trends set by those who have the means to set them. And then there is the “Idaho State of Mind”, the one that I strive to cultivate and live by. Idaho represents the peace and serenity that comes with taking the time to slow down in life. It’s finding true joy in the simplicity of life and being content being alone. It’s being so much more with so much less. It’s being willing to trust the world with both your ladder and your heart. Idaho is spending time in nature. Idaho is living with intention, even if you can’t leave your everyday life at the drop of a hat.

So how can you find your Idaho in your everyday life?

Where Is Idaho for You?

Ask yourself what Idaho looks like. What does it sound like? Who lives there? What goes through your head when you are here? What kinds of things do you (or don’t you) do when you are here? How does Idaho feel? It looks different for everyone, but the first step in going there is knowing where ‘there’ is.

What Things Bring You to That Idaho State of Mind?

Is it a cup of tea? A long drive listening to music? Meditation? Spending an evening around a fire with friends? Visualizing a picturesque landscape? What is it that brings you joy so profound it can make you tear up? For me, it looks like watching the sunrise and sunset in solitude. It looks like a drive in the Rocky Mountains while listening to folk music, singing along as loud as I can. For me, it looks like hiking so high I can see the entire valley below me. Idaho is independence. My Idaho comes in the moments when I can follow my wandering thoughts to the clarity that I search for so desperately. My Idaho is knowing my purpose for a moment.

Make Time To Go To Idaho

Once you know the ‘where’ and ‘what’ of your Idaho, the only thing left is to determine ‘when’ you are going to go. Idaho is your place, your stillness, your sanctuary. Ideally, we would all live in Idaho. We would always be in that state of peace and clarity. Make it a priority to go to Idaho everyday, even if that means only going just before bed or on your lunch break. Maybe you can make your weekends set aside for Idaho. However you get there, enjoy the ride there just as much as your time there. That Idaho happiness is not just a destination; it's a journey. Make a cup of tea and sit for 30 minutes in the morning to collect your thoughts. Go for that sunset run outside. Drive in the mountains and disconnect for a day. Go for a hike. Invite that friend over for dinner. Take the night off and just sit with your thoughts, letting your mind wander toward clarity. Make time to go to Idaho.

To all of you, I hope you find your Idaho, and I hope it’s simply wonderful.

A Little More of Less

A few other articles we think you might enjoy…

10 Brief Reminders to Help You Declutter Your Mind by Courtney Carver

How I Donated a House by Zoë Kim

Use Negative Emotions, Don’t Lose Them by Joshua Hook

Are any of your friends interested in minimalism or living simply?

If so, please invite them to subscribe.

Brought to You By

MinimalissimoThe Minimalists, and 5 STYLE

Mindful Moments

Minimalism Life Weekly Edit

“Our material clutter is a physical manifestation of our internal clutter: mental clutter, financial clutter, and spiritual clutter.”

—Joshua Fields Millburn

We’d like to invite you to subscribe to and support our Inside Minimalism series, which offers exclusive essays on living simply.

A Quiet Place

Carving out quietness in a world full of noise

By Joshua Fields Millburn

My mind often cries for serenity.

When I moved to a mountainside cabin in Montana for four months, my intention was to tap into a pseudo-Walden Pond experience, one in which I was closer to nature, closer to myself—my interior self—than ever before.

It worked. During those months, I committed myself to a great deal of self-exploration, a great deal of writing (I wrote a ton of short stories, including Echo Lake, and a plethora of activities that forced me to better examine my interior life: tending to a fire for warmth, dealing with the loneliness of remote living, living more intentionally out of necessity.

One of my recent experiences—living with two single guys in Missoula, Montana’s University District—more closely mimics Thoreau’s experience than the remote cabin.

Hard to believe, right? The reason is simpler than one might guess: amid the talking, the visitors, the socializing, the work, the meetings, the stuff-30-year-old-single-guys-do, I found a serene place, a place all my own, a place to which I could retreat when I needed absolute peace.

That place was my bedroom.

Back in the cabin, peace and quiet became the norm: I was surrounded by deafening silence. But at the Asym House, I was forced to seek quiet when I was in need. Thus, I established my bedroom as my quiet place. Much like Thoreau’s lakeside plot, my room contained only a few necessary items: a bed for sleeping, a desk for writing, a chair for sitting, and a lamp for reading. Occasionally, I burned a candle so my olfactory sense—our strongest sense—knew I was in my quiet place.

That’s it—there was nothing else. I left the walls blank, the wood floor bare. I didn’t want anything else in my quiet place. It needed to be not only quiet auditorily, but quiet visually.

I’m not opposed to artwork adorning my walls nor decorations festooning my shelves. Aesthetics are important: art and decorations often add a personal touch to a living space. But I can hang artwork and other personal embellishments anywhere in the home. My room, however, is intentionally void of these things: no clock, no paintings, no photos, no bookshelf, no nightstand, no noise. It’s completely quiet and distraction-free, and thus it’s anxiety- and stress-free, too.

How about you? Where is your quiet place?

Be on the Mountain

A way to let yourself be present in a place of total awareness

By Joshua Fields Millburn

Our friend, Rob Bell, tells a story in which God tells Moses to climb to the top of a mountain. Moses obliges, but when he finally reaches the summit, God commands him, “Be on the mountain.”

I imagine Moses responded, “I heard you the first time: ‘Go to the top of the mountain’! Here I am, just as you asked. Now what?”

And God likely responded, “Just be on the mountain”—in a stoic, but slightly annoyed, tone.

Then Moses, puzzled by the seeming redundancy of God’s request, might’ve furrowed his brow and scratched his noggin because he didn’t understand that God didn’t want him to just travel to the peak and then immediately contemplate his next move. God didn’t want him preoccupied, standing up there worrying about how he was going to get down, or what bills must be paid, or whether he turned off the lights before leaving the house.

God wanted Moses to be on the mountain: to enjoy the moment. Which is impossible when we’re stuck in a state of perpetual planning. Or perpetual worry. Or perpetual whatever.

I’m not particularly religious, but I appreciate this parable because it reminds me when we pause for a moment, we can appreciate the present: it takes a tremendous effort to reach the peak—we should enjoy it, even if only for a moment.

If we want to enjoy life, we must commit to being on the mountain. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t plan—but let’s enjoy the planning process more. And it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work hard, either—but we can enjoy the work when it is executed from a place of total awareness.

Don’t dwell on the past.
Don’t worry about the future.
Be on the mountain.
Just. Be.

A Little More of Less

A few other articles we think you might enjoy…

Project 333: Q & A to Help You Simplify Your Closet by Courtney Carver

Why We Never Have Enough Time & What to Do About It by Leo Babauta

The Importance of Taking Initiative by Joshua Hook

Are any of your friends interested in minimalism or living simply?

If so, please invite them to subscribe.

Brought to You By

MinimalissimoThe Minimalists, and 5 STYLE

Loading more posts…