Coming from running in sandals which is a very minimal, barefoot approach I have already been heavily influenced by a simple, efficient, and honest way of life. That is one of the many things that running has brought me, living the life that makes me truly happy without any distractions, inhibitors, or confusions. I love this lifestyle and have always found that when I bring my running down to the minimal, to what is bare and essential, it gives me the most reward, satisfaction, and performance. This pure love motivated me over the past few months as I cut the unnecessary out of my daily life and possessions.
Other than a desire to simplify I think this journey started due to a desire to clear space in my room and subsequently my mind. I think with an open, airy layout you create a clearer, more peaceful mind state. Due to this I recognized that my loft bed took up much to much space in my small room and so I began to vigorously research the benefits and drawbacks of sleeping on the floor. Over about a week of this research my opinion changed from skeptical to excited to test. And so I did. Starting off on a yoga mat with blankets folded on top I worked my way down each night, taking off the blankets until I only slept on the yoga mat. I immediately fell in love with this system. It brought a sense of freedom, peace, and tranquility to my night. After a few weeks with the yoga mat I bought a 3 inch thick roll up mat on Amazon not unlike a sleeping pad. Immediately falling in love even more with that I soon disassembled my bed and donated it. I have been sleeping on that mat ever since, around 4 months now. I have found that is has simplified some of the most important hours of your day, the sleeping ones. I have noticed no back problems, it has cleared my mind, given me a much better nights sleep than a bed ever did, and ironically I believe that the solid floor gives more support than a mattress. It is not uncomfortable and I would highly recommend a venture into this system, but remember to work your way down with blankets like I did. It works much better that way and is much less of a harsh transition. The best nights are the simply beautiful ones.
The Living Space:
After a transition to a more simple sleep and already running minimal, I still felt crowded, physically and mentally. So I researched, and researched, and researched. I read many blogs and watched many videos. I had already gotten rid of many things by that time, but I needed something more. One common procedure that I found was to pack everything in your house up, every single thing. Make your area plain and then live like that for a few weeks. Only taking out from the boxes what you need and only what you need. Need a T-Shirt, get one. Need a fork, get one. For me I decided I would only be doing this to my bedroom, because seeing how I still live with my family I can't force minimalism, it is a choice. Which is something to keep in mind, the other people in your household. But, I started I packed everything in my room up into boxes and bags and moved it all into my closet. Over the past 3 weeks I lived like that. Simply. Over the first week I was taking so much out of the boxes and bags that I wondered if it was worth it. But, by the second and third weeks I didn't really take out anything. That was when I knew it was working! Over the past two days I unpacked what I wanted to keep and got rid of an immense amount of material. Things that didn't fit, old decorations, everything that didn't make me happy. Which are some of the questions that you have to ask yourself when removing these things.
- Does this item make me happy?
- Does it fulfill me?
- Does it serve a purpose that I couldn't live without?
- Does the person that I truly want to be need this?
- How often do I use it? (If it's all the time and you answered positively to the other questions then keep it. But you have to be honest with yourself. Ultimately it is your decision and I can't tell you what to do, but make sure to remember the person that you want to be. Keep that in the forefront of your mind when working through this.)
A smaller subject, but one that is vital. To go minimal you also have to cut out activities and habits that are not redeeming to the real you. The alcohol, sugar, fat, money, and other poisons of our society don't express your life the way you want to live it. To me it is staying true to myself, the good people around me, and the gratitude for the privilege of being able to choose my path to truth.
So in conclusion, going minimal has aided me immensely, it has brought me more so to myself, and helped clear my mind for who I want to be. Focus on the benefits and that it will make you a better person and remember that your honest happiness doesn't come in fast cars, big expenses, sex, drugs, food (sugar or fat), or an egotistical focus on possession. Remember honesty.