“The more you have, the more you are occupied. The less you have, the more free you are.” – Mother Teresa
Minimalism. Intentional living. Simplicity. These few words are my mantra, lately. For some time, years now, a tide has been turning inside of me that spoke of desire and intent to finally do something about the chaos swirling all around me. Clutter. Things. Stuff. I had had enough.
As it is with most pivotal moments and new choices, obstacles were to be met and threatened the positive change I was seeking. The biggest of those obstacles was the unsettled question, “How am I to dramatically simplify, de-clutter, and minimize my family life and home without upsetting or hindering my children in the process?”
To make these monumental changes I was hoping for, to live the simpler life I was craving, I wanted everyone on board—husband, children, all of us. (My husband is, by nature, a minimalist and lives rather simply. So, he needed no prompting or cajoling!) Yet, I knew this personal crusade was my own internal calling—not the expressed desires of my precious little ones. This was going to be a tough sell, and I knew it.
Naturally, life with children growing at multiple stages of development can be chaotic in and of itself with all the toys, books, clothing, shoes, and necessities required to keep them all appropriately dressed, nurtured, and happy. The effect I was seeking for myself, my family, our home, and lifestyle was an undertaking that promised to be a struggle and quite the challenge. I knew this. Yet, I craved the change and I felt this passion inside me would not let up. No longer could I ignore the call. We, my family together, would strive toward minimalism, and I would lead the charge.
The start of this journey would be about changing myself only. Instead of focusing on the excess within my family, making all of us spend our Saturdays together collecting, piling, and donating, I made the conscious choice to make the initial change all about me and only me. My things. My clothes. My books. My collections. My consumption. My choices. My wastefulness. My consumerism.
Convicted to forging this path of simplified living, I made a promise that I wouldn’t allow myself to become a martyr to minimalism in the process. And I wouldn’t lecture my family members. Nor would I nag at them to follow suit. Instead, I hoped and prayed that my personal conviction to be striving toward minimalism would inspire my family to join my quest to live a better way.
Would they care that I was now habitually donating my personal excess to people and organizations in need? Would they notice that I was making a stern and conscious effort to no longer shop out of boredom nor justified wants? Would they allow my small, changeable actions to speak louder than my typical wordiness? Would they benefit from my newfound freedom, lightness, and joy that has stemmed from letting go of all the things cluttering my space, time, mind, and soul? Would my example gently teach and inspire my loves to follow suit?
Guess what? Actions truly do speak louder than words. And I can’t wait to share more with you about my journey toward living a simpler life and the positive impact it is having on me and those I love most.
Are you a minimalist or “striving toward minimalism,” too? Why or why not? What are your thoughts on minimalism, intentional living, and simplified ways? Thanks for sharing!