An excerpt from “Moving Away From Comparison to Personal Development.”
An excerpt from “Unconsciously“
An excerpt from “Will.”
An excerpt from “Depressed? Please Seek Help.”
I have so many things around that I am not using, that I carry from place to place, that have sentimental value, that I need. Why am I not using these things? Why am I carrying them around? Why do these things have sentimental value? Why do I need them?
Let use books for example. I have over 60 books that I plan to sell/donate over the next 3 weeks. Some of these books I’ve had since high school. Yeah, high school. Over 10 years. Parents have stored them for me. I’ve had friends help me move them from apartment to apartment. I stress over how to display so many books. I worry that I haven’t read all of these books and if someone asks me about one of them, I won’t have anything to say. I think about making a list of which books I want to re-read but there’s so many it’s hard to decide. Some of these books have sentimental value. “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley is my favorite book.
I’m tempted to say I love this thing but that’s not appropriate.
I don’t love things.
I love people and experiences.
I love the experience of reading this book for the first time in high school and being blown away by the world Huxley created, the anti-establishment ideals it embodied, and how foreshadowing his concepts were and still are. That’s the sentiment. I have that whether I possess his book or not. This is a book that I will keep. I am keeping about 15-20 books. Some are literary. Some are informational. I feel all of them will serve me. Even out of those 15-20, if I had to get rid of them, if they got destroyed in a fire, I would not cry. I would not worry. They are just books. I can find them online if I need them later. If anything, I’d be relieved that I didn’t have to occupy myself with storing/organizing them. I won’t keep these last 15-20 books because I think I need them. I don’t need them. I want them so that I can learn from them, escape through them, and further enrich my writing practice at this moment. Once they have served me and have no other purpose, I will get rid of them.
I don’t own these things.
I am simply borrowing them.
They are temporary, as am I.
This mindset really puts “things” in perspective. I’m more mindful when I need to buy a thing, when I am gifted a thing, when things find their way into my home. This translates well to emotions too. For me, this is a lot harder than just getting rid of stuff. When someone does something that causes me to feel something, it’s really hard to not let that emotion take over but I can stop myself from acting on it impulsively.
When I find a safe space, I take that emotion to my journal and figure out where it came from and what I want to do with it.
Sometimes, I decide I will act on it. Sometimes, it’s an “old feeling” that does not serve me anymore, so I try to let it go through more writing.
I don’t have space for everything. I only have space for me and the things that serve me at this moment. I’m making more space for me and my passions and cutting out the distractions — material and immaterial. My passion is writing. Most of my “physical” writing is secure on the “cloud.” Things like journals are not, but if these were to be destroyed I would be sad, but I would also move on. You have to. Minimalism isn’t just about de-cluttering or living out of a suitcase.
For me, it’s a deeply reflective practice in defining who I am, not through the things I own, but through my passions and behavior.
I strongly recommend the work of The Minimalists. I didn’t fully commit to minimalism until I discovered their podcast. They have a documentary that is definitely worth watching. I rented it on Amazon Prime. They also have books.
If it pleases you, please tell me what role minimalism has in your life? When did you discover it? How has it improved your life? What are your struggles?
Have you ever had something bothering you…on your mind but when you sit down to write for 5, 10, 15 minutes you don’t feel any better? You feel like it accomplished nothing? Like there is something that you are still clawing at or that is clawing at you and you still have something that needs to be fleshed out?
I used to feel like this. I’d wake up feeling some sort of general anxiety. I couldn’t put my finger on it exactly but felt like it had something to do with “apples”. So, I’d took out my journal and started writing about apples but then my mind wandered off and I started writing about celery and grocery shopping. You get the point. At the end, I was still thinking about apples as if I had more to say but that was more distant. I still felt that pesky general anxiety about apples.
About two or three months ago, I decided to try something new and created a title for my journal entry. Lets call it “work”. I was only going to write about work and I was going to write every single thought and feeling I could think of about work in that session. I brain-dumped on the page(s) and once I was done, I had nothing else to say about work. My mind was unburdened. I released all of the anxieties about work out on the page and I felt so much better.
Then I did it again, with other things, like people in my life, goals, other interests, and most important other anxieties. What this did for me was turn down the dial on my anxieties and depression. I could convert more energy to the present instead of on the past or the unpredictability of the future.
I became happier, more focused, and self-aware.
Through this practice, I’ve found that there are feelings that we hide from ourselves—our subconscious’s defense mechanism. When we write without editing or filtering or judging, we allow our subconscious to release some of those feelings in a safe space so we can do something with them. What we do with them is individual to each person. What we have now is more information about what’s going on in our head, and less in our head to manage. We can free ourselves through this constraint.
If it pleases you, leave a comment below if this is something you do or have tried because of this post.
This morning, I finally decided to confront my change in behavior. What changed? For the past week or so, I hadn’t done my morning journalling or written anything creative. I wasn’t doing my morning meditation or oil massage. These are things that serve me, ground me, inspire me, and make me feel my best each day.
But I’d discovered something new. Mobile Living. This excites me and I’ve spent hours this week reading articles, watching videos, and window-shopping this lifestyle. Its something I’m going to make happen. When? At least 3-5 years down the road. The thing is, I have more immediate goals like getting accepted to grad school when is a 1-2 year goal. I wasn’t focused on that this past week.
When I find something new, I’m like a whale.
I dive deep forgetting to come up to breathe and about the stuff I left bobbing at the surface.
I hadn’t given myself time to process this new interest, by writing about it, and setting aside time to explore it without cutting into my self-care time/daily routine.
Putting time towards this new interest will not help me in the long-run if I can’t even accomplish my now-goals. I journalled this morning and realized that my priorities were out of order. It happens sometimes. Now I can re-focus on my more immediate goals which makes those long-term goals more of a reality.
Now things are back to normal.
Why don’t I want to see her?
Why does she make me uncomfortable?
She’s awesome. So herself. Unafraid. Or afraid and courageous. So much of what I don’t have…yet. She makes me want to jump and move and scream and laugh but depression says no. That’s not you. You will never experience passion or lightness like that. Remember all of that pain? That sticky nettle pain. It’s already hardened around you. Sugar crystals. Crustacean in amber. Face locked in a choked cry. Preserved. Forever. Look at how beautiful that is. See that right there is you. Stay. Sit. Simmer. Don’t change.
Depression gets too excited. I see it now. Feel it hugging me into the warm dark. Womb. Regression. Fear. Pain. I have a fire inside me. Hear it. A roaring freezing wind sticking against your cheek like a snowflake.
I don’t know what depression wants from me. I know what I want of myself. When you see someone who is so themselves, it can make you feel like you’re not good enough, like what’s the point, like you’re going to fail. You can’t fail at you. Whatever isn’t grown when you plant the seed, is not meant to produce in your life. Plant the seed, say the words, do the things, think Big thoughts, and you must do this often.
Plant the seed when you’re scared, when you’re tired, when it hurts, when other’s say it won’t grow.
What new hobby have you been telling yourself you’re not skilled enough to do? What person have you been too nervous to introduce yourself to? What position have you been telling yourself you’re not qualified enough for? The only one who can grow your garden is you but you have to give yourself a chance. If you never plant anything, how can you expect to have a vibrant, fruitful life. We have to work on ourselves. No one cares as much as we do.
Don’t look at your neighbor’s garden and get discouraged. Be happy for them. Take in the energy of their colors, smells, and shapes and start working on you and do what you want to do. There is no wrong or right way to produce. Cultivating our own technique is how we create a diverse healthy community of beautiful individuals.
The point of will is to get you there (to the writing desk, the yoga mat, the stage). Once you get there the purpose is to let go.
No, don’t do that. I don’t want that. What if something goes wrong. I might be disappointed. I might disappoint someone else.
They’re lying to me. They didn’t do this, so they must not love me. If I don’t do this, I’m worthless. Don’t do this, because if I fail, I’ll be proving everyone right. No one cares about what I have to say. No one loves me.
This not you. This is not me. Listen to what depression says to you, so you can be in control.