Minimalism as Meditation
Since what I’m now calling my quarter life reboot, I’ve added my digital life to the minimalist practice I’ve been engaging with for the last 5 years. I refer to minimalism as a practice because for me it is a constant process of mindfulness, much like meditation.
The awesome veteran minimalist bloggers @TheMinimalists discuss meditation as crucial to their journey towards more intentional, happier lives. For me, meditation was the gateway drug that leads me to minimalism. It helped me to begin processing how multitasking was operating in my life and how closely linked my daily anxiety was to the physical clutter in my living space, work space and most recently, my digital space. This practice has particular significance for people of color.
Regardless of how I perform my own identity, the perceptions of others do impact the circles I feel welcome in, the money I have the potential of earning and the safety level afforded to my body and mind, essentially; systematic oppression is a bitch, trying to block me from living free and striving towards greatness in this world of ours. However, I refuse to make this the totality of my story.
Finding ways to subvert the internal and external talking heads is key to the larger practice of continual well-being. This struggle is described in detail by black minimalist guru Yolanda Vacree in her blog post What is a Black Minimalist. I would also like to through in, that minimalism…much like feminism, is for everyone. Still, as noted above, there are specific cultural, social and economic realities that impact people of color, specifically women of color, that are relevant to our lived experience and should be discussed.
Meditation has become crucial to my budget friendly self-care practice. It is an essential daily prescription I deliver knowing that even with these doses, shit will happen. How heavily these external plot twists press upon my psyche is within my control.
What was so interesting to me as I started this journey was how easing mental clutter helped me to sense more clearly how the physical clutter around me was adding to my dis-ease. As I began with 5 minutes of quiet time each day, I began to notice how LOUD the pile of paper on my coffee table was or how difficult it was to gain calm with the 4 or 5 random boxes of assorted items near my yoga space.
After running away from the mess by attempting to meditate in every corner of my apartment, I realized it wasn’t my brain that couldn’t focus, it was my environment putting a block between me and true peace.
It would be a little too tidy if I made some drastic change the moment this lightning bolt hit me. My minimalist lifestyle evolved and continues to evolve slowly. It started with simple steps like going through my closet and donating clothes I was saving for when I could fit them, or when my style magically changed to some futuristic version of myself I’d yet to meet.
Eventually, after many a relapse into clutter, my body and mind began to register the subtle shifts in a mood when my space was clear and when it wasn’t. When I meditated I could feel the cleared space, and it felt like a breath
I began to crave this feeling in every aspect of my life and so I started creating this feeling for myself. At my desk at work, at home, in my car and even in my relationships.
I’m still on this journey, trying to find ways to simplify and innovate area around myself that can support my growing confidence in my mental/physical minimalist practice without restricting or depriving myself of the technologies, products, and relationships that make being healthy and well worth while.