Minimalism is More
If You Ask, The Answers Will Come.
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” — Romans 12:10
A dear friend of mine brought a film to my attention, Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things. She’d thought I’d enjoy it because there’s a lot in this film that resonates with ideas that were ingrained in me as a child. She saw in the film similar principles to those I’d written about, which differ from today’s ideas about how to live. I believe that nothing is coincidental, that we’re all connected, and that when we hear a truth, we all hear it. Consequently, I enjoyed Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, and all the other voices involved in the film, which shows us other ways to live a meaningful, simple, happy life with less stress, less debt, and less clutter.
I was especially moved listening to Dan Harris, a correspondent for ABC News, anchor for Nightline and co-anchor for the weekend edition of Good Morning America, talk about his experiences of being a workaholic, along with the stress, pressures and demands that led to a panic attack on national television, which he now keeps under control through meditation and practicing mindfulness. Listening to a highly intelligent giant of a role model share his experience through practicing meditation reassured my heart. I could relate, having suffered panic attacks many years ago when trying to keep up with my hectic work schedule and the demands of supporting and raising a child alone. I sometimes still need to slow myself down and remind myself and others of the cycle of pressures and demands made on us that some continue to think is normal. But I really don’t believe it is.
The pressures and strains of our lives are taps on the shoulder, reminding us to find a healthier balance. The ideas in this film provide great insight for people who might be afraid to change their lifestyles, even for the sake of their own well-being and happiness, because they’re afraid they’ll fall behind. But believe me, you’re not! If you see yourself somewhere in these stories like I have, you’ll step back and take a good look at your life, and then ask yourself the purpose of all this? If you ask, the answers will come.
I still seek meaning through prayer and meditation, and find it useful to ask what is valuable, what the purpose is of the things that I buy, what my purpose is in the things that I do, why I am here, and why I write.
The film shows that minimalism makes us think before investing our precious time and money on things alone, and to live with the right intention that is of value for all of us and the world. The film’s explanations and research are backed by individual experiences and true findings from qualified observations of so many of us being over-programmed by excessive marketing and advertisements from our technology-driven world. I enjoyed listening to the subjects’ describing their own misperceptions of life and their subsequent passion for sharing their recipe for thriving in the world.
Sadly, it’s not the way our society dictates to us each day. We have been conditioned to believe that more is better–more of everything and anything! The truth is that I have discovered more happiness and inner peace with less, however harshly things have unfolded in my life or when things have been taken away. Often, in the truest sense, the end results were some of the best things that ever happened to me. I learned how to enjoy my own company and that of those around me more. However, this new way of life, one that’s not always easy, must be practiced every day for the rest of our lives to stay in balance. It helps to practice these ideas alongside like-minded people who support each other. I believe no one does it alone. We all need role models to remind us and keep us on the right path so we can avoid backsliding into the old ways.
There are many prayer and meditation practices that bring awareness and slow us down enough to see through what is real and most important. I balance myself through prayer, reading, and reflection to maintain peace. But I felt supported watching and listening to the noteworthy professionals in the film bringing forward the genuinely established principles of doing with less for the betterment of everyone and our environment. To me, all these principles exemplify the same truth Jesus espoused, that to love people more than things brings honor to us and to them. This simple philosophy of consciousness mysteriously takes away our fear and anxiety and keeps us on the right path.
The rewards of pray and meditation are balance and inner peace, no matter our profession. We can practice anytime and anywhere, with nothing more than the consciousness of the precious air that we breathe to bring us to a state of grace.
About Catherine Nagle: Catherine grew up in Philadelphia with 16 brothers and sisters, reared by loving, old-school Italian parents. Catherine's artist father's works graced churches and public buildings; her mother was a full-time homemaker. A professional hairdresser, Catherine worked in various salons while studying the Bible and pursuing spiritual growth through courses, seminars, lectures, the works of Marianne Williamson, and through conferences, including the National Theology of the Body Congress.
She is an Ambassador of the Society of Emotional Intelligence. The mother of two children, and now a grandmother, Catherine lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and son. She is the author of Imprinted Wisdom and a contributor to Anne Born’s These Winter Months: The Late Orphan Project Anthology.