The Gift of Life

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Nothing puts perspective into one’s self-awareness like life and death.  In a three-week span of time, my mother passed away and my third precious grand baby has been born.  Sophie Ann made her debut today at 8:47 pm.  My promise to her is that I will treasure her always and share with her all I know of the wonders of this world.  She will have my time and my attention and I will be present for her.  She will know she is loved not merely by toys or pretty outfits, but rather the time we spent having tea parties in the garden, climbing trees, making mud pies and chasing butterflies.  I will share with her the legacy my mother shared with me.

The Avarice…

The Grinch: That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? That’s what it’s always been *about*. Gifts, gifts… gifts, gifts, gifts, gifts, gifts! You wanna know what happens to your gifts? They all come to me. In your garbage. You see what I’m saying? In your *garbage*. I could hang myself with all the bad Christmas neckties I found at the dump. And the avarice…

[shouts]

The Grinch: The avarice never ends! “I want golf clubs. I want diamonds. I want a pony so I can ride it twice, get bored and sell it to make glue.”

   From How the Grinch Stole Christmas c 2000

I try to keep my post positive, and I started out today heading over to the local Goodwill donation center with my box of mins. game items when the sight that hit me.  The building was so stuffed with donations that they were spilling out onto the street.  The large truck that picks up the donations was packed full of the blue bins and the assistant said that it was the second pick-up of the day.  It literally looked like a trash dumpster, with garbage spilling out of it!  At first, my brain went to, “Oh, maybe Minimalism is really catching on!”, then I realized it was Monday and this was the post garage sale junk and spring cleaning frenzy.  A sad feeling fell over me.  I live in an affluent part of town where people substitute toys for time with their kids as they work ridiculous hours and there is always a huge line in the drive through of all the fast food establishments because they are too tired to fix dinner.  They have big toys, big mortgages, big divorces, and big debt.  They are a deeply unhappy people.  My hope is that Minimalism will continue to grow, and spread to communities like mine.  Money does not buy happiness, nor peace of mind.  Each day I feel lighter in my spirit as I declutter my life of everything that has held me down.  I am free to live the life that I was meant to live. 

For those of you who are not familiar with the Mins. Game it is where you get rid of one addition item each day (starting with one on the first day) for a 30 day period.  At the end of 30 days, you will have gotten rid of 465 items.  For the ease of keeping track, I started on the first of June.

Sharpened Focus…

This weekend has been so lovely.  Each day that passes as a Minimalist becomes sweeter and sweeter.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating that Minimalism results in a “Pollyannic” life where nothing goes wrong, life continues with its ups and downs.  What I am finding in my life is that my focus has been sharpened.  When my life was consumed with trying to manage an overwhelmingly cluttered life that was bombarded with overburdened schedules, managing too many possessions and excessive mind clutter I was unable to focus on anything.  As I minimize all aspects of my life my focus is being refined and directed to my passions and in alignment with my values.  This gives me great peace and joy in my heart.

donna

The More of Less…

Santa Monica Beach 6.3.17

Daniel and I have been on the journey of “minimalizing” our life for about seven months.  During this time we have taken several truckloads (yes I said truckloads) of items such as clothing, books, kitchenware, decorations, (you name it) to various charity locations.  The rest we have tried to recycle and as a last resort, we would toss in the trash everything we couldn’t find a home.  I purchased a paper shredder, it has become an essential tool, in clearing the paper clutter mountain in our home.  Those who may know me may be wondering “Why has Donna become a neat freak?” or “Oh, just another trend!”  Both of these responses put a smile on my face because, I hate housework and  I set trends, not follow them.  The beginning of this journey began last fall when I read two very enlightening books by Matteau Ricard Altruism and Happiness.  The books by Ricard emphasized that true happiness and joy comes from having a sense of meaning and purpose that goes beyond ourselves and our self-centered needs but focuses on the service of others.  As I meditated on the “how” of reaching my goal of finding the freedom to have the time and resources to serve others the tool of Minimalism fell into my lap.  In my faith, we call an unexpected provision an “I spy”. Minimalism has been a God-given tool to free time and finances to enable our family to serve others as well as spend more time to spend amazing time together like we did today, a “Minimalist” Day at the beach.  Instead of having to spend our Saturday cleaning the house, yard our garage, we had a relaxing lunch at the beach.  Less is definitely more in my book!

All Things Green

Over the past year I have pondered the massive amount of information (both good and bad) on global warming, living green, sustainable living, minimalism and the zero waste lifestyle.  The amount of information can make your head swim.  I have heard and read comments such as “I don’t have time for all of this” or “My life is in overload already, I can’t deal with one more thing.”  It is true that trying to live in a sustainable way can seem daunting.  The simple task of trying to avoid plastic seems almost impossible at times.  So what can we do  in the 21st Century to decrease our impact on the environment for ourselves and future generations? How can we carry out these personal, as well as collective goals, without our heads exploding from information overload? I would like to offer a few suggestions that have worked for me and may help you as well.  The number one item on the list has to be – SIMPLIFY your life.  This probably sounds odd considering the goal is to live a greener, gentler life in a very consumer driven and eco-unfriendly world.  I live on the less is more principle, which is: the less stuff the more time, the less stress the more peace, and fewer distractions, more creativity.  Less is definitely more in my book.  This is commonly called minimalism.   The bottom line, it’s okay to be picky!  I choose to have quality over quantity.  I would rather have five items that I love, than fifty that I do not.  This can be applied to anything.  My first thought goes to clothing, my drawers and closet used to be stuffed with who knows what!  Now I have thinned out to what I use and love.  I have shifted my purchasing power from inexpensive clothing items to well made, earth friendly items that I love to wear.  The same can be applied to any purchase, but it requires knowing yourself.  Anything we have a passion for can become an area where we becomes collectors of “stuff” and that makes life … busy.  Second, I am “picky” about how I spend my time.  I have given myself permission to say no to invitations that do not fit into my lifestyle and goals.  Less stress needs to be viewed holistically.  How we interpret and react to stressors makes all the difference in our mental and physical health.  Identify what causes you to feel “stressed out” and develop a strategy on how to cut, or drop the causes.  Stressors that cannot be changed need new coping mechanisms.  Developing strategies for managing life’s challenges can be as simple as getting enough sleep, exercise, eating well and meditation.  If life has become unmanageable reach out to others and seek professional help.   The third point is less distractions.  I LOVE to play video games, watch YouTube videos and search the internet for interesting information.  I also love the creative side of me that is competing for time with my other distractions.  I self limit my distractions so that I can allow my inner creativity to surface.  The result is an amazing feeling of accomplishment and well-being.  I love to express myself in my garden, sketching, and creative writing.  Playing Fallout or Mass Effect is amazing fun but it never satisfies my soul like creative expression.  At this point you may be asking yourself  “How does this relate to living green?”  I’m glad you asked!  Living green is living in a way that is gentle toward yourself, others and the earth.  Reducing excess creates that gentle lifestyle that makes room for a fuller life.  You may not be making your own toothpaste (yet) ;o) but you can decrease by eliminating overconsumption and excessive distractions that make living a greener life difficult.  Thank you for taking the time to read this post.

Peace & Love

donna

T w i t t e r
F a c e b o o k