Thursday, August 2, 2012

"If you are having trouble telling someone something, write a letter."

This was my father's advice to me many times as a kid, when I was struggling with something! I've taken his advice many times-- it works!! First, it lets you get your thoughts into black and white where you can acknowledge and organize them. It also can be the first steps in communicating with others when you are struggling and lend direction when you need it.

You may have noticed my absence! I have been grappling with something the past few months. It has many faces. For sake of simplicity, let's call it 'Balance'. So, after riding the pendulum swing that often accompanies the overwhelm of a lack of balance in one's life, I have arrived back here.

This is my letter, of sorts.  A common thread in the lives of minimalists I think is the fact that we do not live in a vacuum! Every day, multiple times a day, we must own the choices, big and small, that make up our life's path. In this busy materialistic society we live in there will always be something tempting us to complicate what we've taken great pains to keep simple. Whatever this is to us, be it our schedules, our jobs, our homes, our closets, our bills, etc. You name it. Minimalism is a choice you have to feel deeply and personally. It will most certainly look different to everyone! Maintaining these choices will also look different and will change overtime for each person.  Sometimes you  take a step in the opposite direction, and this isn't necessarily a bad thing.  But, it DOES call for re-evaluation.

For our family, we've made a big lifestyle change over the past few months that has thrown me off. The everyday challenges continue as the little two bedroom townhouse is NOT getting any bigger while the 4 kids and their accoutrements do indeed. Add this general stress to the fact that I am now trying to juggle our choice for me to take on some part-time work with my primary roles as a wife, mother, teacher, and homemaker and I at times feel like I have lost my sure footing.   The family and I have been greatly enriched by my new work and want to continue with it, but not everything has changed for the better.  To put it simply: I consciously took quite a few steps away from the kind of minimalism I had been cultivating for quite a while.  I am happy with the choice.  I am NOT, however, as satisfied with all the results.

So, how to keep it all sorted out and stay on task when your path continually feels like it is being tempted askew of dearly held ideals (or, for some, goals)? Well, I for one, plan to listen to my father's advice and write some things down. Will you join me? Wherever you are on your walk with minimalism, this will be a great exercise!

Today, just jot a 2 minute answer to the following questions.  Whatever comes to mind regarding these following statements, in whatever form they come to mind (narrative, list, short phrases, etc).  Do NOT censor. Do NOT edit. We will use an old exercise from writing class that is designed to get people with even the most reluctant pens writing.

In my life right now, it is most important to . . .

One day, I really hope I can:

I am frustrated most by:

Remember -- set a timer for 2 minutes on each question, no more.  Break it up and do 2 minutes over the course of your day, or a few days if you need to.  Uncensored - no worries for grammar or punctuation.  I promise you'll get a raw list from me.   See you in a bit!

It would be great to see some of your responses to this exercise in the comments!


  1. I love your blog! I struggle because I would love to be a minimalist and de-clutter the whole house and garge, but I struggle because my husband and children aren't on the same page!

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Thanks Tonya!

    My hubby wasn't on board at first either. Children are a bit more malleable, the younger ones especially. I turned it into a game with the kids and that really helped! With hubby I found that I just minimalized in all the areas of the house that were NOT his personal space. It will make YOU happy to get some things accomplished in areas that you spend most of your time in and will keep HIM happy that he doesn't feel you are somehow "encroaching" on his space or nagging at him to get on board. Just show him how nice it can be to live more minimally. Husbands will often come along of their own accord when they see positive change AND don't have it thurst upon them... noone likes to be backed into a corner!

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