We fill our lives with material objects that we want in order to hide the lack of intangible things we really need. Have a deep think about this for a moment. Does it apply to your own life or can you recognize it in someone else that you care about?
Many people shop as a means of escape, others hoard for reasons hardly known to them and on average most people actually do like going to the store “just looking” for entertainment. Hours spent browsing and buying is hours spent doing something… or so the story goes.
When we find contentment in our everyday lives, when we realize that we already have enough, there is a chance for enlightenment. We have the chance to discover that there is a minimalist in each and every one of us.
Hopefully we are born with everything we need for survival – our relative health, good caretakers, shelter and enough food. Of course we don’t all start out the same way, there is always the issue of being born into more or less, but from Day 1 (or before then, depending on baby showers, hand-me-downs, etc.) we are given the necessities and extras of life. As babies we are given colorful toys to occupy our minutes, we are given shirts upon pants upon ten pairs of socks just in case we get too dirty, we are gifted with sweets to cheer us up when we are having a bad day.
Our Western culture is fixated on material goods. They are cheap, accessible and easy to come by. And we are willing to pay with our often hard-earned money, even with credit, for items we believe we must have. Flowers, chocolates, movies, dining out – often much more than the basics to live a simple life.
And we live and buy that way because we are taught from a young age that that is what people do. It is how we live, how we survive and most importantly how we keep the economy going.
But what if we have learned it all wrong?
What if it is more important that one (or both) parents stay/work at home, perhaps with less pay, to take care of their children?
What if stories, activities, nature walks and time to play and explore are more important then hours spent in a classroom?
What if eating and nourishment was so important that local and organic ingredients mattered more than convenience foods?
What if your handmade sweater lasted a decade and you chose not to replace it in all that time?
What if conversations mattered more than television?
What if nature mattered just as much as technology?
What if getting back to our roots got us closer to ourselves?
Would we be scared if we dared to think outside the status quo?
There are questions we should all ask ourselves. Deep down what we all need is not a new car or brand name clothes. What we need is each other – a cooperative support system of sorts that involves individuals rather than masses and that treats the self accordingly.
Minimalism teaches us respect for every living thing, for objects too. It takes into account the way objects were created and what will happen to them as they age and die whether they be destined for a landfill, incinerator or the backyard compost pile.
When we relearn to respect the Earth we will remember like waking from a dream that there is indeed a minimalist in every one of us. We are here for each other, yet we are only here because of Her.
Ecological minimalism is the sustainable future.
How is your life shaping our future world? Let us know in the comments below.
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