Friday, 27 February 2015

Minimize So That Other One Can Have…Blog On Poverty

“When someone strips a man of his clothes, we call him a thief. And one who might clothe the naked and does not – should he not be given the same name? The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry; the coat in your wardrobe belongs to the naked; the shoes you let rot belong to the barefoot; the money in your vaults belongs to the destitute.” – Basil the Great

My journey into minimalism began as a lifestyle and design pursuit.

I was tired of sifting through clutter for the things I wanted to wear and use, unhappy with the possession I had and sick of looking after everything. I loved the peace I felt camping, or sense of possibility I felt in an uncluttered hotel room. Minimalism appeared to be a way to bring that sense of peace and possibility into my home.

At the same time I wanted to become more generous and open my home more to others. They were a benefit of de-owning possessions, not a motivator. Over the last few months things have changed, and our minimalising has become more purposeful. I thought I could blog happily about minimising without going deeper into the soul of why we were doing it, but I realise now I was wrong.

We want our lives to be about other people; free to focus on people besides ourselves, and give time to things other than our possessions.

Minimalism is my response to the teaching of God (quick summary: the only thing god looks for when it comes down to it is how we treat the hungry, the sick, the vulnerable and the oppressed). You might not be interested in Hinduism or consider yourself particularly spiritual, and that’s okay. I’m sharing my motivation behind my desire to live with less; there are plenty of other valid reasons as well.

They told us we could change the world

Chances are you grew up with the ‘you can change the world’ and ‘your generation can end world poverty’ messages I did, in school, advertising and in social media. It was motivating. Who doesn’t have a dream about changing the world in a meaningful way, of making a difference, leaving a legacy?

I also found these messages overwhelming. There is so much need – not just in our local communities but our countries and around the world, and we hear about this on a daily basis. I felt small: what can one person or one couple do? and at the same time aware that if my small life could make a difference I needed to make some changes so I could spent more time addressing the need I saw.

Then I realised every item I own is a promise on my time – a promise to maintain, clean, and replace them, along with plenty of time wasted agonising over things I couldn’t afford – and by de-owning some of my possessions I could gain that time back. Time to spend on something meaningful.

What worthwhile things do you want to spend your life on?

What do you want to do with the time and income you gain from living minimally? Is there a dream you want to pour your energy into? Leave a comment in the section below, I would love to hear it.

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