This is a picture of my daughters on our evening stroll stopping to watch our friend Beth, a local artist.
Children always stop to have a look at what is going on.
I try to treat our evening strolls as a wind down exercise at the end of the day. On cooler days we usually walk to the lighthouse with our dogs, and on summer evenings we swim in the sea.
At this time of the day I try to be more like the girls; slowing down, observing, taking in the moments with my senses: the crashing waves, the salty smell of the kelp, the feel of the air on my skin.
In my readings over the years and in my practical application I have found there to be 2 major “rules” to Minimalism, or simple, intentional living:
- less is more – for objects and calendars, and
- quality over quantity – for things and experiences
I am letting these be the main guiding principles to an intentional life well-lived. They serve to simplify choices, days and habits.
Less is More
Our strolls tick both boxes – they are part of a daily rhythm, a repeated pattern, a calm window of being together.
Beyond our evening walk, we also choose less in our kitchen cupboards, in our furniture, our clothes, and our schedules. I have recently introduced a pause in my work day where I stop. In the intentionally created space I can choose either to play or to rest.
Quality over Quantity
And the experience of spending some time every evening in the elements, in natural beauty – is one of quality.
Although Rule 1 is about doing and having less, I have added some more habits to my day, namely a brief meditation/stretching practice, meditation, the pause, water drinking, and 2 pages of stream of consciousness writing.
These things however are for me adding quality to my days.
The yoga is to aid back flexibility and core strength as I spent much of 2019 battling a bad back.
The meditation is fundamentally and gradually changing my headspace.
The pause is a new habit I intend to add in – its purpose is to shift focus, pull me out of the details, look up, breathe, and regain some perspective. My hope is that it will lead to better decision making and more strategic life choices… eventually.
Water drinking is here because I am a poor hydrator! I am running and need water. I am drinking less alcohol. And I am feeling brighter.
The 2 pages of stream of consciousness writing (dropped from 3 pages) help me to get rid of things swirling in my mind, or to strengthen ideas, or to aid my creativity. It is something I have done in periods throughout my life in various forms; courses, creative writing, early morning writing, I even wrote a novel while pregnant during my long train commute to work.
Although I have never considered myself a writer, writing is for me one of the most useful tools when it comes to clearing mind clutter and boosting creative flow.
So – seeing as minimalism is about quality and less – I think 2 rules is enough. Even though each rule has a lot of depth.