Stop Thinking

“Stop thinking, and end your problems.” ~Lao Tzu

IMG_20150428_143905We live in a beautiful world.  Even the small segment that our senses can take in (smaller still what our minds can comprehend) is beyond what we can express with words.  There are infinite opportunities for joy, yet we use so much of our time fretting over the insignificant; the non-consequential.  We fill our days with worry and busyness, trying to get ahead.  We constantly occupy our minds with television and social media, afraid to sit in silence, and be alone with ourselves.  Trying to drown out and silence the voices of fear, regret, and uncertainty.

Stop worrying.  Stop thinking.  You are on the right path; the only path; your path.  Follow it to the end.  Take care with each step.  Feel each breath.  There is no need for fear.  You are a passenger, an observer.  Enjoy the ride.

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Are We Developing Information Indigestion?

Isn’t the internet wonderful?  Instant access to unlimited knowledge and entertainment.  It really makes me wonder what our ancestors did.  How did they remember their friends’ birthdays?  How did they decide which refrigerator to purchase?  How did they uncover the mysteries of the universe?  and, perhaps most importantly, where did they go to see cats? 

We may never know the answer to these questions.  However, I begin to wonder, –as I jump from video to video, and article to article, learning about biology, chemistry, psychology, sociology, and countless other topics– Are there any side affects to having anytime-access to the “All you can absorb” Internet Information Buffet?  Could we be over eating, and taking in more than our brains can properly digest? 

The clincher is that, none of these articles or videos really seem to satisfy.  We are left wanting more and more.  A question on a blog post leads to a YouTube video, which leads to a playlist, which leads further down the rabbit hole until we are nearly beyond hope of finding a way out.  And for all the trouble, is any of this information really helping us?  How much of it do we apply to our everyday lives, and how much will we even recall in a year’s time?

So, for now, I think I will take it easy on the blog posts, videos, and social media.  Maybe spend some time outside.  Or work on my to-do list. 

My Minimalist Journey

We live in a society where we are constantly bombarded by advertisements.  They show up in every place imaginable:  social media, search engines, billboards, television, radio, newspaper, magazines, apps, clothing, virtually everywhere.

The design and purpose of this advertising (and it is very effective) is to create false needs.  They start by making us feel inadequate (If we don’t feel that way already).  Then they lure us in with promises of a better life.  If you just had that one item, you would be happier, healthier, better looking, and more organized.  Then, with a sense of fulfillment, completeness, and joy, we take the item home, and add it to our collection.  But these feelings fade all too soon, and we are left with that familiar feeling of emptiness.

“Perfection is achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Minimalism is a philosophy that takes a much different approach, finding joy in simplicity, and discarding all but the truly necessary.  But you don’t have to be living in the woods wearing a loin cloth and drinking dew off of the leaves to be a minimalist.  It’s a journey.  It’s about moving from more to less, busy to quiet, and complicated to simple.  I still have a long way to go on my journey, and I will probably never reach minimalist perfection, but I am now living without many things that I once thought were essential for life.

Why Minimalism?

  • Buying less stuff means saving money
  • Less time spent shopping, cleaning stuff, and organizing stuff, means more time for you and your family
  • Less clutter means more space for living
  • Lower demand makes for fewer items being manufactured and shipped, which means cleaner air for everyone!

What have you given up so far?

Well, this isn’t a comprehensive list, but here are a few things that I am now living without

  • Deodorant (I use baking soda)
  • Microwave (Less radiation!)
  • Many of my books
  • about 2/3 of my wardrobe (Also, I have recently started washing my clothes in the sink when I take them off, and then hanging them to dry.  They are usually ready by the next day!)
  • A Smart Phone (Okay, I didn’t give this one up, because I never had one)
  • Soap and Shampoo (Its been over a year, and I haven’t gotten any complaints yet.  I just let my microbiome do all the work)
  • Extra shoes

Its not that difficult.  And, if you are worried you might regret your decision, try packing up a few things for 3 moths, 6 months, or a year.  If you still haven’t used them, you probably don’t need them, and it is safe to part with them.

Where are you on your minimalist journey?