Politics of semi-minimalism

January 28, 2017 § Leave a comment

I’ve been engrossed in politics since the election. I didn’t vote for the current president and I’m really at a loss to understand those who did based on the actions taken so far. (I understand their anger and frustration and disenfranchisement, but I’ll save that for a different discussion.)

The thing I’m so turned off by is the greed and self-centeredness of our new president and his complete unwillingness to consider the needs or opinions of anyone who disagrees with him.

I realize through this that my brand of minimalism is based on a do-no-harm foundation. While I thoroughly enjoy the aesthetic, financial and emotional benefits of living with less, (and that is often what I focus on to stay the course,) the original and primary motivation came from wanting to consume less and to use my dollars in a way that supports some of my other core values (human rights, fair trade, environmental sustainability).

Sadly my values are not shared by the dominant power today and I wonder how many people on the minimalist path were drawn to it for different reasons.

Welcome 2017!

January 2, 2017 § Leave a comment

befunky-collage2

Like most of my friends, I’m happy to see 2016 end because it reminded me of my own mortality (to have so many of the cultural icons of my lifetime lost in one year) and it crushed some of my natural optimism and faith in humanity.

That said, I like to start off as I plan to continue and I’m an optimistic person by nature, so I’ve been working to catalog a few of the things I loved about 2016 that I would like to expand on this year.

Black magic — I discovered some amazing authors and artists in the African American community in 2016 who inspired me to think more critically and justly and to celebrate the achievements of those who have often been overlooked and/or dismissed outright.  From the vision of Ava DuVernay’s work in film (to say “13th” is eye-opening is a huge understatment) to Luvvie Ajayi’s humor in print (“I’m Judging You” manages to chastise and inform while you’re busy laughing at your own foibles), it’s clear that I’ve missed some critical pieces of American culture and look forward to filling in more gaps this year.

Semi-minimalism — We downsized our home in 2016 and got rid of about two-thirds of our belongings, but now that we’ve been in our apartment for six months, I’m seeing a lot more that has outlived its usefulness or joy.  This year, we’ll continue to evaluate what comes into our home and where we spend our money so that we can reduce material consumption and focus our efforts on shared experiences.

Order — Once we got rid of most of our belongings, bringing order to our environment came much easier.  We now have a clearly defined home for about 80% of what we own.  This year will be refining another 10 percent.

Contribution — we were moved to support charitable organizations at a much higher level in 2016 than in previous years.  This year, we will increase our financial support for those organizations who fight for equality and access.

Education — I refreshed my risk management, business law, business ethics and writing skills/knowledge in 2016.  This year, I plan to learn some HTML coding skills and maybe even some podcasting (both for work).

Inspiration — I found dozens of new sources of inspiration (generally music and writing) in 2016 and will continue to expand on this area.  It’s too easy to fall into the Facebook spoon-feeding, but I find it to be a less-than-inspiring way to spend my computer time.  I’ll continue to move away from spending time on Facebook to more intentional sources that feed my soul, heart and mind.

How about you?  What went well for you in 2016 that you’ll be expanding this year?

Overcoming Childhood

January 1, 2017 § Leave a comment

One of my favorite twitter feeds is when people share their #sixwordstory.  When I thought about what mine would be, in all cases, there was a component of where I came from to get to where I am. Childhood lessons taught compassion and wholeheartedness.

I visualize these childhood/life lessons as starting in the fingertips of my left hand and working their way slowly up my left arm … research, noodling, journaling … until they settle around my heart.  That’s when they hurt most, but that’s where the healing begins.  Sometimes, they even settle into my lungs making it difficult to breathe.  As I process this pain, I feel like they start to move down my right arm until finally I shake them off my right fingertips or better yet, drop them fully like a loud, singular mic drop.

 

 

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