There’s this incredibly popular Chinese lifestyle system that has recently begun to, and continues to sweep itself over Western society -- engaging spaces in bookstores, causing creations of lifestyle blog sites, and providing an insight into gaining personal ‘wealth’ through means of living with less. In order to balance your ‘chi’ with the natural world, guidelines are given to emphasise ways in which a room can be organised, the objects can be placed, and what objects provide a ‘wealth cure’ (an item that has a strong connection to you).
I came across Feng Shui when I was beginning 7th grade in Australia. I watched a snippet on the television of this 40-year old mum clearing out her closet, and giving her handy tips to the camera about how her process of elimination worked. She held an item in her hand, feeling it’s textures, seeing it’s colour, and noticing her emotional connection to the object. The simple act of noticing whether she felt happy in that moment, possessing that object. If not, the object had no purpose in her life, and it was eliminated from her collection of possessions. Still to this day, I think about what could be possible if I eliminated everything that was not essential or fulfilling to my life.
One thing struck me by surprise, however, when researching for this article. The idea of ‘wealth’ arose many times when referring to the ideals of Feng Shui; cash flow, overall wealth, and the excessive need for gold objects. But is this sort of wealth the singular way of achieving happiness? Isn’t this idea of wealth gain already limiting enough to people with less money, unable to reach the epitome of Feng Shui-ing because of their financial status?
I realised only several months ago that the definition of wealth can be considered as, and I consider as the space allowed in your life to make room for non-superficial things; family, friends, love, passions, and individuality. Feng Shui does entail the concept of clearing space, with the idea of achieving wealth to do so. However, when studying other definitions of minimalism earlier this year I found that ‘The Minimalists’ focus on wealth that I believe to be the most important to me: keeping only value objects and uncovering a more meaningful life.
Joshua and Ryan, ‘The Minimalists’, pursued the minimalist lifestyle in 2010, and since then have been travelling the world helping people achieve a more meaningful life through talks, podcasts and published essays. Their documentary, Minimalism highlights the importance of eliminating extra junk from your life -- deciphering what is a want vs. need. A need being a thing that adds value to your life, and is essential for living, versus a want, being a thing that adds no value and is a wasteful possession. Both individuals live with one brief case each with ALL of their belongings -- a few shirts, pants, a jacket, and the usual everyday items and meaningful treasures -- but kept to the bare minimum. I admired their passion for minimalism, and the amount of freedom they had with little attachment to objects. They were happy, free and both lived very fulfilling lives.
The documentary sparked a light of empowerment inside of me -- I wanted to do the same and become a minimalist. I decided to start my own year long journey of minimalism and zero-waste, keeping in mind that I wanted to transform my passion for the environment and disagreement with consumerist attitudes into a lifestyle model that others could also become inspired from. By limiting my consumption of ‘stuff’ drastically, and only using products that are natural, recyclable and organic, my aim is to tread lightly as an individual, with little negative effect on the natural and world.
‘LessRubies’ is my blog site, a place where my year-long journey of simple living will be documented and shared with the world. Over the course of a week, I will be recording my progress -- what I have gained in terms of waste, what I have decided to remove, and any thoughts in the process. Blog posts will document my research, philosophies and sustainability aspects of minimalism and zero-waste. As my journey progresses, my blog content will cover the changes in myself, the world around me, as well as provide insight to the significance of minimalism in humanity.
Capitalist and consumerist attitudes, well being , and connection to nature -- my question is this… can these aspects of sustainability be understood and corrected through the implementation of minimalism in humanity? If minimalism is a solution to humanity’s sustainability problems, I hope to prove that by living with these ideals trialling as a ‘guinea pig’ for the lifestyle model that could change the world.
I welcome all to join me on this journey, as we venture to uncover and extract minimalism on our quest to rebuild humanity. You with me?
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