Idealism

I love to hear dreams.  I was not born a realist, but I was born to realists.  I never saw the problem with tweaking what needed adjustment.  It depends where you are.  The better your life gets, the more independence you have, the easier it is to stop dreaming.  Many people settle into responsibility or become disillusioned, and it’s hard to blame them.  No society is exactly looking to be told what could be improved.

On the Myers-Briggs, intuitives make up 25% of the population, and many of them get run over by the realities of life.  So I am making this post for those that have an optimistic orientation and for those who care about them.

Two Idealists:

There are two idealists in this world: the ones who are fueled by compassion and the ones that are not.  As a teenager, I had big dreams, but they weren’t grounded in any sort of reality.  Reality is important as a tool, useless to an idealist as a guide.  Without running your theories and dreams against reality, they morph into far-gone, warped, or impossible theories – up to and including murder or suicide.  As a teenager, this idealism only produced high expectations and a prison of my own choosing.  Idealism doesn’t have a point without reality.

Overthinking and hypersensitivity are a result of being pulled inward.  To break things down to their components to an extreme takes the wonder and magic out of everything.

Aim:

The TV will not go onto the wall straight once you’ve measured wrong.  Direction is far more important than the bulk of the work.  We focus on the effort in life because it takes more of our time, but our orientation matters far more.

Dreams:

Reality is essential, like idealism.  Who wants to live in an uninspired reality — a reality without beauty, vulnerability, or compassion?   Who wants to live in a world where everyone dreams continually and nothing ever gets done?  A wasting away.  Dreams descend into nightmares.  Extremes, either way, require a cost too high for society.

The way I used idealism as a teenager, I fueled it with angst, instead of focus.  My idealism became more frustration than inspiration.   Too much time spent internally produces great discontent and a suffering all its own, as humans are social.  There is a point of diminishing returns.  Too much of a good thing brings it down.  Because man is social, some semblance of an outward orientation – and by extension, some semblance of morality – are essential to well-being of societies and individuals.  Without any order, nothing results, only devolution.

We need measurable, small things to aim at.  We need things to agree upon.  Nihilism or chaos are not ideals.  Broad thinking is broad enough for even the details.

Chasing Safety:

Many idealists as they grow up guard their idealism by hiding, else they get torn apart by human nature and other frailties.  This idealism is fueled by fear.  Instead of using idealism as a means to get by, we should try to use it to change the world, even if it’s just our world.  The guarding of ourselves against reality is more sabotage, as dreams leave us with the guilt of having had them without the follow-through.  Without testing against reality, we cannot refine dreams to have utility for ourselves and others.  There are downsides to idealism – greater loneliness, discontent, criticism – and it is up to us to make the price worth it.

Be:

To take gifts and hide them away is to burn inside, but to give away is to truly be.  There is no fear in giving, there is no fear in accepting.  The seeker goes inside and cannot find what is missing, but those who let go of fear find what they’ve been missing and effect improvements in the world for realists and idealists alike.

Myers-Briggs

The Myers-Briggs is a test used by universities and corporations, to determine likely strengths and weaknesses and to aid in communication.  Keep in mind, there is no normal, only a more probable.  The MBTI and Enneagram cover the probable.

The Myers-Briggs is divided into four categories in a specific order: introverts and extroverts, sensors and intuitives, thinkers and feelers, judgers and perceivers.  The MBTI is one of the most popular psychology tests, and people give these traits credence because they rely on observation alone.  Once you become acquainted with them, they are easy to spot. MBTI is considerably easier to identify than Enneagram without a test.

Full disclosure, I am an INTJ: Introverted Intuitive Thinker Judger. 

These traits need to be layered on to the Enneagram for a more holistic view, but generally speaking:

Extroversion and Introversion

Extroverts use their energy externally and so have more energy to expend in the visible world, which is attractive:  Outward energy and a well-kept appearance add a youthful orientation.  Introverts expend their energy internally and spend time alone; they are more likely to have depression and anxiety, and most of the ideas come from introverts because of their inward orientation. 

Sensing and Intuition

Sensors live in the here and now, getting things done, and rely on the past for maximum efficiency.  Intuitives live in the future and live in a world of possibilities internally.  Thus, sensors are more competent day to day, as they are in the present physically and mentally, and the world is not open-ended nearly as much to a sensor, allowing them to focus.  Intuitives are considered visionaries because they live in the realm of possibilities, in the future; however, the ability to see the room for improvement applies to everything, including relationships and careers, which causes more discontent.  Intuitives live in the realm of possibilities, so live inside of themselves more than outside, which can hinder progress or awareness of the external world.

Thinking and Feeling

Feelers and thinkers communicate differently.  Thinkers care less about what people think of them, so they often are less attractive than feelers.  This is not due to not caring, but also due to a lack of awareness – a thinker’s focus is on efficiency.  Thinkers are more likely to be insensitive.  There is less warmth in a thinker’s presence.  What thinkers have is that they value objectivity more than a feeler, and they aren’t easily moved by emotion, which means more stability.  Feelings take a lot longer to sort through than thought, so thinkers are more efficient, like sensors.  Also, feelings are subjective, so they are not as settled as thought; so they are easy to go back to and over.  Therefore, feelers are more inward-oriented, like introverts and intuitives.

Perceivers and Judgers

Perceivers are open-ended like intuitives, which means they are less efficient and less likely to stick to things, whether relationships or deadlines.  Judgers generally get a lot more done because they enjoy things to be concluded, like sensors, and have higher standards to be happy for their environment.  Because judgers have a problem function without organization or lack of conclusion/categories, this gives them incentive to get things done – to go towards milestones.  Judgers get pleasure from getting things done.  Because of this, however, judgers often generalize and are more confident even if they’re less accurate – judgers will review a lot less information than a perceiver would, because efficiency and conclusion is more important to them.  In the same way that a sensor would not see as much information as an intuitive, a judger will not review as much as a perceiver, all things be equal, because productivity matters more.  However, perceivers are considerably less happy statistically because they are less likely to get to things they’d like to and they usually have to give up some autonomy for their open-ended orientation, as sensors and judgers usually are in charge of societies because both value efficiency.

What is the point of the MBTI?

To understand what we are likely to do, so that (1) we are aware of our biases, (2) so that we can be aware of our weaknesses, (3) so that we can develop our strengths, and (4) so that we can communicate better by seeing other people’s point of view.

Here is the most accurate free test for the MBTI.  However, be sure to verify the results by understanding the four categories and yourself.

Emotion

It has been said that vulnerability is strength; however, this sentiment is largely given by those who do well with emotion, so we see the conflict.   Being vulnerable is difficult, and no person knows this as much as those that aren’t emotional.  But everyone, emotional or not, biologically understands the reality surrounding emotion: In the animal kingdom, it signals weakness and invites destruction.

Objectively, vulnerability is not strength.  If this world were a fair place or an ideal place, perhaps we would be compensated for emotional intelligence and rewarded more than penalized for it, and we know a good portion of our work will be replaced by robots with less emotion than almost any businessperson.  We know emotion is not valued highly.  We move to: Can there be strength in vulnerability?

Childhood:

I have alluded to my childhood being a train wreck.  Specifically, unorthodox.  The hitting wouldn’t stop until the crying stopped.  Tears were a show of lack of control; we were proof our protector was in control and we were.

What resulted is I didn’t know how to cry. I also looked down on emotion heavily, and gravitated toward people that would bring back the familiarity of my childhood for nostalgia and comfort.  Feeling worthless or defective felt better than right, it felt good.  In my childhood, no matter what I did, it would still bring instability or rejection; that’s par for the course.  I also chose those who were battling out their own familial patterns, as there is a depth brought about by loneliness and pain that is hard to find.  But I did more than that, I also became the perpetrator, as we often play out our childhood in many ways.  So mindfulness is not just a nice idea, but the well-being of ourselves, others, and by extension, society, depend on our attention and adaptability.

Wanderers are people who have been chewed up and spat out in childhoods of deficiency.  They built dream worlds as children to escape – and take these habits into adulthood.  But what are dreams and well-thought out theories if we don’t regularly test and refine them against reality?  More liability than inspiration.   A part of intelligence is application.   A part of seeing broadly is seeing the point in detail.

Imbalance:

Introspection can easily devolve to hypersensitivity, and overthinking to crises.  Balance in all things. To swing from childhoods of rejection to complete acceptance, even of the unacceptable, from no emotion to unbridled emotion — extremism of any form requires a price no society or individual wants to afford.

If you have had a difficult childhood, it is on you to:

1. understand your parents’ childhood, and forgive if you can – it can be easier if you know personality typing

2. recognize where the patterns are playing out, namely by focusing on the childhood section of the Enneagram in a decent book

3. make sure your premises aren’t grounded in confirmation bias, based on your parents’ opinions or your anecdotal evidence

Anecdotal evidence is haphazard and is not a thorough way of filling in knowledge.  We’re often wrapped up in experiences we could learn the most from, that it is unlikely we’ll deduce accurately.  Experiment with sound theories, but perform the experiment, don’t be the experiment.  Test scientifically: methodically, putting aside bias, with relative control.

4. weed out loathing and guilt

5. don’t focus on the bad, but shift habits

6. find balance as best you can, for yourself – between action and thought, between observing and participating, between giving and taking

7. accept that you don’t have to prove your worth — reject emotion that makes you feel that you do

Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Intelligence:

To the original question, is there strength in vulnerability?  Interpersonal (reading others) and intrapersonal (understanding yourself) intelligence are important, though not valued by the majority of society.  What the majority of society focuses on is logical, linguistic, and existential forms.  But that is not to devalue the kinesthetic type (learning by doing) and the emotional types of intelligence, but rather to state that any intelligence by itself is imbalance.

Emotional intelligence in combination with other forms of intelligence provides more well-rounded experiences and insights; therefore, emotion strengthens an argument and living.  Balance is great in all arenas.

 

 

 

Minimalist Makeup Tip

One of my favorite practical hacks is to use a lip liner as a lipstick.  Here are the pros and cons.

Pros:

1. Last considerably longer than a lipstick. After it’s worn off, lips are still rosy.

2. Easier to store. The thin width makes a pencil very easy to store.

3. Shelf life is longer than a lipstick. Long after my lipsticks are dry, my liners are still going strong.

4. Multi-purpose. You can use it for many more things than just a liner: lipstick, eye, and cheeks.

5. Gives a nice matte look that is perfect for work. You always have confidence while wearing a liner as it does not accidentally get on your teeth or anything else. It stays put.

Cons:

1. More difficult to take and apply on the go.

 

Hope you will give it a try!

Happiness

It is a great day to kick off the series of ideas with one of the most popular concepts, happiness.

Lifestyle 1: Discipline and meaning are what matter; happiness is selfish.

Lifestyle 2:  There is no meaning to life; happiness is the ultimate goal.

Rebuttal:  The first side is closely tied to control, as the person that doesn’t care about happiness often exerts their pessimism and discipline on others – discipline rarely applies only to the host. Therefore, the world becomes a considerably more miserable place than it has to be.

For the second side, any good thing in excess is no longer a good thing.  Self-indulgence as a lifestyle has considerable ramifications: obesity, disease/unplanned pregnancy, loss of autonomy.  Extremism is counterproductive to well-being.

Balance:
Happiness is not something to try to grab onto; it is a side effect of health and an amalgamation of certain moments and feelings.

Growth is uncomfortable.  Happiness should not be a goal.  In the form of fleeting pleasures, happiness is not a sustainable state.  A lot of what we consider pleasure are the things we use to try to allay greater problems.

Health and understanding take the damage out of happiness.  Health isn’t in chasing or in controlling.

CGP Grey’s metaphor: Happiness is a bird that comes and lands on your boat from time to time.  You cannot force a bird to land.  All you can do is make improvements to your ship and sail to warmer waters.  You’re not trying to chase down a destination; rather, improve your boat and move toward the conditions that make happiness possible.

On reducing damage, we have to (1) examine childhood [What feels normal to you? Is it affecting others?  Is it sustainable?], (2) examine the habits you’ve kept in adulthood, and (3) understand your personality. What things do you do or think daily that impede focus and peace?

It is up to you to understand what is good for you and to choose what is sustainable and enjoyable.  It is up to you to delineate between fact and fiction, so as to not harm.  Everyone has to find his own way independently, and every man has to care about his own health for himself and his community.

Statistician’s side: 
In the Harvard Study of Adult Development, researchers found that happiness depends on our relationships with others, especially those we live with.  All other factors matter considerably less.

Philosopher’s side:
Krishnamurti has said, “We believe happiness is something to seek, because we seek everything else.  Happiness cannot be found.  It is a byproduct and occurs in the absence of fear.  Life is in the moments when we are lost in a task or feel part of the environment around us.  To chase happiness is to not be one with its source.

At its root, unhappiness comes from lack of love, or the distance between ourselves and others.  The distance is created by our judgements and criticisms.   The striver will say, love is just a dream, I must get on in the world.  But love is the most practical thing in the world.  Intelligence is in recognizing that ultimately love is the only thing that matters.”

Conclusion:

This philosophy coincides with the data: Our happiness lies in having healthy relationships with others.  So we must be healthy ourselves.   Health affects sustainability and reduces damage.   Happiness visits us most often when we are living in harmony with others and our interests.

 

 

Exciting Changes

I’m going through an evolution in my life, and I’ll be applying some exciting changes to The Simple Brief soon.  On the externality front in my life, I will be adding some highlights to my hair, traveling to Moscow, and I am considering a move to the city.

For the Simple Brief:

(1) Cleaner look.  I’m working on a redesign, with a focus on an easy-to-navigate table of contents and a crisp, clean, minimalist background.  Color will be in the logo and in photos at the top of blog posts.

(2) Regular posts.  I’m going to write a new post after I upload each video, one on Thursday evening and one on Sunday evening.  Every time there is a new video, there will be a new blog post.

(3)  One to save, one to implement.  One post each week will be on a concept that I think is valuable (hierarchy of needs, value neutrality) and the other post will be focused on external visual improvement: organization, minimalism, cleaning, and design.

(4) Minimalistic, balanced. I’m going to focus on minimalism in layout. I will present the most balanced view on each concept.

(5) In-depth.  Any personal or in-depth information, I will share on Patreon for my closest supporters.   I’m setting up a profile on Patreon, and the content I will be setting up will be in the form of short podcasts.

Other things I’m working on:

(1) Five-minute videos once a week on my steno channel on universal topics to help with motivation and clarity.

(2) A digital book covering the 10 most important aspects of a minimalist’s life.

(3) Watercolor painting so I can add more color to blog posts.

I want to follow passion, challenge myself, and see what works best.  I want to maximize the reading experience for you by being consistent, minimalistic, and informative.  Thank you for the support over the years.   I read every comment, and I continue to enjoy getting to know you over Facebook and YouTube.

Three Ideas to Save Decades

1. Change and understand.

Happiness is not the purpose of life.  Understanding and change grant all that we love.  Humans have the advantage because they developed intelligence faster than animals, and so animals are at the mercy of humans.  Whether or not that should be the case is irrelevant to the point:  The reality is that the ability to change and adapt grants resilience and advantage.   The top colleges take the best minds from each country, for instance.   So, in your life too, resistance to change will cost you over time in big and small ways.  For instance, a person who invests at 25 years old will have decades of interest accrued, so that the advantages, over time, are cumulative and effortless.

Stagnation is to die.  Krishnamurti said, in essence, “We tend to build pools of comfort in possessions, religion, politics, accepted thought, and in this pool, we stagnate and die.”  This is not living; this is existing.  There we find the Socratic unexamined life.

Change — questioning, listening — understanding, this is all that give humans life.  The only thing that guarantees happiness is complete ignorance, and to become either an animal or child, we would lose what we take for granted: autonomy, intelligence, capacity.  If you envy wealth, for instance, be honest with the sacrifices asked for: lack of emotion, imbalance with work, maintenance, and more opportunities for mistakes.  

A donkey does not envy me — living by duty and bound by instinct — it is content in this state, more content than I could ever be, and you should not envy what does not belong to you.  Be who you are, and own it.  Be the best of what you are:  improve and understand.

2. Organization is a part of sanity.  

Peterson put it, we walk around in society, and each of us keep each other in line without realizing it.  If a man becomes isolated either in a prison cell or in the forest, sanity comes in and out.  Society sets a standard, and all of us are aware of it without a word said.  This can make sanity effortless, or at least possible.  Loneliness is probably the lead cause to suicide and other mental breaks and great suffering.

So organization is keeping your goals, thoughts, and chores in line, in the same way that random citizens of society do for us without realizing.  People are not exerting themselves onto us with any intensity once we are adults, and yet their existence can encourage sanity naturally.  So let your organization of your time and thoughts follow the same: Do not let it be rigid.  It should be there, but not overbearing.

 If you do not write down thoughts as they come, if you do not keep track of goals or errands, you have forfeited the best part about being human:  The ability to act on life versus life acting upon you, as this privilege is not allowed to children and animals.  Your life can unravel or languish, as a man would in isolation. In an unnatural state, nothing is effortless; thoughts flood and sabotage. Too much of a good thing can no longer be a good thing.

Organization is a part of life: Every part of life has a system in operation, from the ant colony to the solar system.  We rely on the seasons, on youth and old age.   In some semblance of stability, sanity can exist.  When stability is shattered through disaster, humans throughout history have turned to leaders and ideology of all kinds, out of desperation.

As sanity unravels, Tom Hanks draws his face on the volleyball, and humans turn and increase the measure of anything, no matter how bizarre or self-destructive.  We see this currently, with our level of consumption and the opioid epidemic. Without organization at least in the form of a schedule, who knows what disorder, addiction, or setback awaits, as we are all biologically predisposed to certain maladies and behavior in an unhealthy state.

Especially for the artistic or sensitive, it is imperative that invest into some form of stability in life and be honest with emotions.  I don’t care if it is a time to go to bed or reliable people, but if you do not have some form of consistency, your mind is sure to allow you to descend into a hell of your own choosing.

3.  Self-sabotage is to ameliorate the symptoms of pain, not to fix problems. 

There are things we do every day to sabotage our own efforts.  Something small like not showering early enough to get to bed on time or other forms of procrastination or something greater like the premises or habits we’ve accepted to get by, we all have done it.  Some days, more than others, and the longer something persists, the more it becomes part of identity, and therefore, guarded even closer. We keep our old self safe through denial or justification, and yet we die a slow death in our stagnation.  How could there be change when we love our comforts so well?  We don’t do ourselves or others favors when we aren’t honest with ourselves: honesty about our limitations and our desires, but honesty most importantly, with our biases.

How do we know if a habit is detrimental?  If everyone in society were to do what we do, would society descend into some form of a hell?  Imagine if everyone enjoyed dysfunction — the only reason why society has any semblance of order and benefit is because there are enough people that care and enough people that refuse the worst parts of their nature.  We don’t just accept bad habits through justification, but our bias has greater audacity than even that:  We will go so far as to make our own proclivities into virtues, by clinging onto literature or famous people that validate whatever we are or want to be.  We are trying to force virtue and meaning where we already are: There really is no point.

Value-neutrality is keeping our emotions and biases in check when dealing with information and conclusions.  Confirmation bias matters a lot less on the mundane aspects of living, or even in relationships, but for information and advice, perhaps nothing is more important.  If information is given by someone who does not care to know about themselves, the application is limited, even dangerous.  Everything has been filtered through what cannot be broadly applied: subjectivity.  If we try to put aside subjectivity, we have a chance at honesty.

Weakness matters far more than strengths.  Nothing fails for its strengths, but for lack of understanding and continual pain caused by weakness.  Weakness is simply our coping mechanisms, which appear to the untrained eye as only selfishness, but it is what humans have used to get by, usually for many generations.  Many of the most significant weaknesses are as as much a biological — and by extension, environmental — proclivity, as a personality one.  We rely on the most detrimental parts of our nature.  The greater the weakness, the more important it is to us, usually.   But the identification is just as difficult as organization and action, and both phases are ongoing, because identification is easily exchanged for indifference.

Many wealthy people are unhappy because they haven’t dealt with their weaknesses, not because of a lack of strengths.  They usually have it all — beauty, skill, generosity, or money — and there is no guarantee of anything meaningful because their aim on what they need is continuously off, because they do not know themselves.  When you do not know what you need, you are left only then to instinct and emotion; life is acting upon you.

Dysfunction is drawn to dysfunction, even if the dysfunction is of a different brand; this is why childhood matters, because this is where familiarity starts.  

Humans are drawn to what feels familiar, and what is most familiar is you.  You live with yourself every day.  So it is worth all effort and all honesty to make sure that what is familiar to you is healthy.

To be human is to:

1. Examine.  

2. Be honest with yourself.  To love is to understand.  

3. Change.  Intelligence is adaptation to our new environment: the technological age, where brawn has diminished significantly in utility.  What separates us from animals is our ability to think broadly and to change, and autonomy is only for those to claim.

What to Take

Hurricane Irma is about to hit Florida, and it’s a good time to make a list of the things you would take and also to take a picture of your property and possessions for insurance purposes.

Pack in your car:

1. Pat in her kennel, with food and litter

2. necessities – most things on my Travel List, shoes, socks, jackets, blankets

3. first aid kit and some food/water/ice

4. anything irreplaceable – SD cards, hard drive, paperwork, art (photos, if you have them)

5. anything expensive and compact – laptops, cameras, steno machine, Vitamix, favorite clothes, some makeup

 

What not to take:

anything bulky – no furniture

any hobby/outdoor equipment

oddball things like light bulbs, paper clips

anything heavy – bottles of product, liquids that aren’t water, batteries (unless I had a flashlight)

 

Estimated losses for a minimalist:

If I had an hour to clear out and everything else were wiped out in a disaster – fire, hurricane, or earthquake –  this is the cost it would take to replace:
kitchenware – 1K
oddball household things – 1K
furniture – 5K

Most families own more things and also have more people in a house, but this is a rough estimate.  Most minimalists, I would guess, would lose 5K total, unless they owned their house. Some could pack everything in one suitcase if they’re nomadic and don’t own kitchenware or furniture.

This post covers ideas for preparation and also how much it would cost to furnish a house as a minimalist, in the interest of peace of mind.

The Time is Now: The Journey to Minimalism

I rarely talk about why I became a minimalist.  This is because details and specifics rarely interest me in comparison to ideas.  I like concepts, principles, the root cause — jumping between them — and art.  But details are important to many people, whether they’re important to me, and the details give clarity and closeness.  Explaining anything, even yourself, is never a bad idea, and I try to find better ways to.

My motto is to assume nothing; confirm.  What is apparent to me is not apparent to others, and vice-versa.  Small talk interests many people.  People want to hear about the day from their spouse.  Some intuitives will post a meme alluding, I never cared about the specifics, let’s talk about the big things.  But the specifics matter to a lot of people — in fact, to most of the population.  Consideration hold societies together.  So many sensors have put up with my trains of thought, and I can learn to enjoy nuts and bolts and emotion.

Hurricane Harvey:

Hurricane Harvey has swept through Houston.  My family moved to Houston after I graduated college so that my brother and sister could attend court reporting school after me. The damage Harvey has done to homes, possessions, and peace of mind/physical health is being calculated, but it is impossible.  We cannot fathom what is going on unless we’re on the ground where it’s taking place.

Sewage smell from the amalgamation of everything imaginable in Houston, the loss of life, and a what now?  The processing of the event happens slowly.   Water rises quickly.  Some were in their beds sleeping at night.  Some were on their way home from work and could not make it back to their neighborhood.  Everything is lost.

It is a lot of people’s nightmare also to have to depend on others, especially in Texas.  I put off getting my parents photos scanned in by a company for a long time.  I always recommend people to ask for help when decluttering: a spouse to run to Salvation’s Army or a company to scan in albums.  Harvey was a reminder again to do so, listening to people explain all their photos are under water, gone forever.

Disaster brings things into perspective, on what truly matters, kind of like Christmas.  We’ve heard it all many times: community, family.  We know this all the time, but shopping has given us something to do, to keep our mind off of our unhappiness.  The ice cream cone in the mall, the new possession we search for is a little bit of solace for all the work we put in for an unappreciative spouse or boss maybe, to take us away for just a moment from the overwhelm or emptiness.

Happiness:

Our unhappiness is for many reasons.  I don’t know if humans were ever meant to be happy.  I’ve accepted happiness as more or less something that comes and goes, and that the coming and going is a natural part of life.  You can’t hold on to your age or your hair, and you can’t hold on to happiness.  You can take better care of yourself so you could invite happiness around more, but you can’t control it.  Happiness is not even something to think about, really.  Health is a lot more important.  Our difficulties make us into who we are; they make us more whole internally as we age.

Passion is expensive, the passion we have for our careers and for our families.  Think of all the sacrifices you’ve made.  Few notice, you even barely do.  Passion does not equate with happiness because passion is costly, but it gives life meaning and it makes us feel.  We are drawn to passion.  There is a lot of suffering and sacrifice in passion.  You see it every day in court reporting school.  But difficulty is a part of life, just like happiness is.  It’s not something to hold on to, but something to let be.  To learn from.

The Time is Now:

I became a minimalist moving from Hawaii with two FedEx giant boxes.  I became a minimalist before entering college because I was afraid.  I don’t know as I had lived on my own prior, when I left home at 14.   But I was moving to the mainland alone, into a house with two people that I had never met.  I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to handle the tasks required. All I ever saw was people who didn’t have a retirement in my church; I grew up on welfare.  We had so many things, but we had so little time and money.

I never had that much energy growing up, and because I’ve always been invested in my work, not that much time either.  So I minimized my desires to try to find meaning and to guard energy and time.  I’m no philosopher, but I share with them their low energy and a joy for a mild sense of detachment.

I don’t think we get into most things for the right reasons. We have our own fears and selfishness.  But I stay for the right reasons.

I have been a minimalist now for seven years because I know that it is not limited to nomads and the outskirts of society; it is for all.  You can be a professional, you can be independent, and you can entertain people comfortably, even with few possessions.  Minimalism always has space for priorities and hobbies.

The time is now to examine priorities and to do the things that we have been putting off for some day.  Fear can keep us back from many things, but it also can propel us to the right areas.  Peace of mind comes with action and experience.

 

 

Boundaries

I’ve always struggled with boundaries, but I have been looking at it wrong.  Saying no is protecting who you are.  It’s where you end and someone else begins.  If you always say yes, there is no you.  You are whatever someone else wants.

When I look at saying no as guarding who I am, it is a lot easier to say it. In my childhood, I wasn’t allowed to have my own desires.  It wasn’t proper.  So as I got older, I had to find out what I actually wanted — what I was actually doing that helped me get by in my youth, and differentiate it from what I felt was truly me, what was truly good.  An intentional me.  I wasn’t a shadow in someone else’s dream, none of us are.  We have our own dreams.

There are some books and some parts of society that encourages us to obey or to live a life in service or detachment.  But this is imbalance.  We have to stand up for ourselves while looking out for others.  We have to stand up for our right to feel. I have said yes mainly to please those close to me, those that I cared about.  Now I know that when I say no, it is not because I do not love, but because I have to protect my own energy and dreams.  I help wherever I can be the best use, and I trust myself to know where that is.