Minimalism: emptiness, austerity, meaninglessness, plainness. Minimizing is the act of reducing or eliminating. So, it is reasonable to interpret that minimalism is the equivalent of bland. Wrong! A life of voluntary simplicity can offer much more than nothing! Indeed, by eliminating the emotional, physical and psychological clutter in our lives, we free up space for more of life itself.
It is the route of someone who has given up on life that is the path of emptiness and meaninglessness. A true minimalist does not give up on life: he embraces it.
I currently work on a project that helps those who otherwise could not afford it to buy their own homes, and to live with a measure of dignity even while living in poverty. Ironically, living in poverty and austerity seems to be how many people view minimalism. My project does not require me to own, but it does require me to give. I give of my energy and knowledge, yet it does not deplete me in any way. That is the essence of the cliché about “giving a smile.” The more you give, the more you have.
In prior articles, I described how minimalism is like being an art gallery director. By clearing away the junk and debris, and featuring a sculpture or painting, isolated on a pedestal or wall, you actually draw attention to and enhance the pleasure of that work of creativity. Similarly, when one gives up the junk in his or her life, more room is created for more valuable pursuits.
I have found that, when I cleanse my body through short-term dieting, I find sources of energy inside of which I doubted the existence. In the same manner, when I began the process of cleansing my accumulation of worthless stuff, my involvement with this frivolous fluff decreased concurrently. That meant more free time to enjoy the activities that I liked. But dieters who deprive themselves of eating, or who gorge on exercise, have replaced one weakness with another, and neither offers the intrinsic pleasure that a life of casual, regular and responsible living and eating provides.
The great benefit, for me, of a life of voluntary simplicity is that I have become more enthused about other pursuits. Those pursuits, such as charitable ventures, are the ones that drive me. However, you may find more time for family, or participating in events, in learning, and so on. By owning less, you receive more.
But, with less baggage, you also are free to enthusiastically embrace life, and become enthusiastic about the world around you. Do not sit back, and waste the freedom you receive by carrying less material, less responsibility and more stress. Grab the world, and give it a figurative hug! Enthusiasm and excitement are not “things.” While they are simple, both are free, take up no space and yet will fill the newly discovered free spaces in your life.