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Thread: Lucas' journal: a minimalist mission

  1. #1
    Senior Member lucas's Avatar
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    Lucas' journal: a minimalist mission

    Hello friends!

    I've decided to follow fidgiegirl's good example by starting a journal. I think it will be a good way for me to keep track of my progress in simplifying my affairs and to share the lessons I learn along the way. I've really only started experimenting with minimalism recently, in the last few months, and already I'm seeing how much it can improve my life. Indeed just by making the habit of preparing my own food, rather than ordering in or eating out, I've saved a small fortune already! I've started to realise how wasteful I've been in my life up until now, as I've spent all my time in a state of 'constant consumption', forever grasping for more and wasting all my life energy (and money!) in the process...

    More significantly, I've come to see that saving money is not even the most important aspect of embracing a more simple life. By constantly consuming I kept myself in a state of constant distraction, and as a result I was never really connected to the here and now, never really paying attention to what I was feeling or focussing on what was really important - like my loved-ones... This all probably sounds a bit 'well, duh!' to the more experienced members of this forum, but it's come as quite a shock to this little shopaholic!

    Anyway, I sure am glad I found this community. I'm going to keep a record here of what I'm doing, and how I'm faring, in minimising my consumption and simpifying my life. I hope it won't be too boring!

    Al the best,
    Lucas


    minimalism and simplicity

  2. #2
    Senior Member Gardenarian's Avatar
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    Hi Lucas - looking forward to reading your accounts!

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    Sounds like you know what direction you are headed in!

  4. #4
    Senior Member fidgiegirl's Avatar
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    Lucas, I very much look forward to reading more!
    Kelli

    My gluten free blog: Twin Cities Gluten Free
    Our house remodel blog: Our Fair Abode

  5. #5
    Senior Member lucas's Avatar
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    Howdy folks!

    As I'm making my way into a more minamilist approach to life, I'm becoming more and more aware of just how much of a consumer I've been in the past... When you're caught up in the day-to-day grind of rushing to work and getting things done, it's all too easy to be completely unaware of just how much you are consuming - whether it be Thai take-out, new trainers or the latest 'chemically-enhancedŽdetergent.. Because I never really thought of myself as a consumer, I never paid attention to just how much of everything I using and accumulating... now that I'm starting to become more conscious - well - it's something of a rude awakening!... I realise that I really have been a 'constant consumer' for my entire adult life (I'm 38 now)...

    One of the main things that steered me towards minimalism, and discovering this forum, was my interest in meditation. I got into mediation some years ago and, while I'm far from a 'master', I really enjoy the stillness that comes to my mind when I take time out to just be silent and focus on the moment... A few months ago I started to realise that 30 minutes of 'internal stillness' really didnt mean too much if the other 23-and-a-half hours of each day were a riotous frenzy of noise and greed, however, and so I began to take a look at my other lifestyle habits...

    I'm still an 'absolute beginner' when it comes to minamilism and simplicity, but already I'm seeing that i was on autopilot for a long long time... now that I've started to take a few small steps, like not eating so much junk and getting rid of the most noticeably useless clutter around my home, I'm becoming aware of the insatiable craving that was driving all that consumption... when I choose not to eat that slice of pizza, or not to buy that gadget, I can feel that sense of craving that I used to alwas give in to without pause... in fact, acting on a whim to consume was so automatic for me that I didnt even realise there was a craving underneath it...

    I think practising stillness, and being self-aware, is probably an important tool for someone who has been a 'spender-eater-waster' like me! Already I see how much more satisfying it is just stop and be conscious of what's going on inside me, rather than consuming more... it's still very new to me, and I expect I'll probably have some consumption-relapses along the way, but (if this doesn't sound too melodramatic), I really feel like my eyes are being opened to something really significant... I'm excited!!

    Thanks for reading today's inane ramble!

  6. #6
    Senior Member fidgiegirl's Avatar
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    A few months ago I started to realise that 30 minutes of 'internal stillness' really didnt mean too much if the other 23-and-a-half hours of each day were a riotous frenzy of noise and greed, however, and so I began to take a look at my other lifestyle habits...
    This really stood out for me. It's interesting how each step is a baby step . . . . you will be surprised on looking back at this journal in a few months or years where you were at.
    Kelli

    My gluten free blog: Twin Cities Gluten Free
    Our house remodel blog: Our Fair Abode

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    lucas- I'm glad you are journaling here. I am an experienced minimalist, but I find the journey of awakening and mindfulness an exciting story every single time I encounter it. I look forward to your future entries.
    author of A Holy Errand

  8. #8
    Senior Member KayLR's Avatar
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    I really like what you said here:

    Quote Originally Posted by lucas View Post
    By constantly consuming I kept myself in a state of constant distraction, and as a result I was never really connected to the here and now, never really paying attention to what I was feeling or focussing on what was really important - like my loved-ones...
    My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished two bags of M&Ms and a chocolate cake. I feel better already!

  9. #9
    Senior Member lucas's Avatar
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    Hello my minimalist friends,

    Thanks to everyone for your kind comments! It's really helpful to hear from people who have been walking the minimalist/simplicty path for a while, and to be reminded that this is a journey, not a destination. I have the kind of personality that is inclined to attempt to 'do everything immediately', but I know maintaining a long-term commitment means taking things one step at a time. I've started decluttering my apartment, but I think learning the habits of minimal consumption is the real key (in my case at least). There's no point throwing out everything I own if I'm only going to clutter up my home again immediately afterwards..

    So I went out to an Indian restaurant last night, and had a nice meal with some old friends. It was cheap and tasty - which is always good - and I felt good about the expenditure afterwards. These last few weeks I've been avoiding eating out, and it's been exciting for me to see how much money I have saved as a result. Up until quite recently I was the typical example of a profligate male professional who orders take-out for almost every meal. While I'd generally ordered healthy food, I was haemorrhaging money, and studiously avoiding taking a proper look at my finances. I've also been taking a look at some of the other areas where I have wasteful habits, and it hasn't been too difficult to identify a few:

    1. Printing - I'm going to do my best to minimise the amount of printing I do. The toner cartridges cost a fortune, and as I work in acadaemia I have the bad habit of often printing long documents at home. In future I should avoid printing any long documents - indeed, I might even go 'paperless'
    2. Amazon - oh amazon, you are an evil temptress!! I shudder to think how much money I've wasted there, often on impulse buys that I never even used ... Time for us to say farewell methinks...
    3. iTunes - maybe I'm the only person left who actually pays for music?.... hmmmm....

    In the past, probably the biggest single focus of my 'shopaholism', however, was clothes... I've wasted a ton of money over the years on the insatiable pursuit of 'looking good'. It's a little embarrassing to admit, but I figure that if you're going to change your ways you've got to be straight about what it is you're trying to change... The really ironic thing about this area of spending, for me, is that an awful lot of the clothes I bought I'd never wear anyway... I think a lot of people have a certain number of items in their wardrobe that they really like and feel comfortable in, and these are the items they generally wear, while the rest of their wardrobe just sits there gathering dust... for this reason alone, it seems like my wardrobe is an obvious place to apply some minimalism and get rid of the unused clutter... hmmm.... Also, I think compulivesly buying clothes really reflects an unhealthy psychology - wasting money in order to 'look good' is somehow even sicker that wasting money in order to say, have an 'ideal home' or a 'great library'... it flows from a preoccupation, to some extent at least, with how you're perceived by others, and in that sense probably runs contrary to being authentic and true to yourself. In any case, I think the goal for me is to just have a limited wardrobe of a few good-quality, functional items that look ok and I feel comfortable in... Tomorrow I'm going to block off an hour or so to go through my wardrobe and ask myself what I 'need' and what I dont.. (I know I don't really 'need' most of it)... let's see how my insecurity/vanity copes with letting go of a few sacks of clothes!

    Thanks for being here guys - I'm so so glad I found this forum!

    All the best,
    Lucas

  10. #10
    Senior Member EarthSky's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum, Lucas! It is a great group of supportive people, at all places on the minimalism journey. If you're focusing on minimizing clothes, here's a site for thought: http://theproject333.com/getting-started/
    Good luck!

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