Minimalism. Hard Work. Big Rewards.

Work is love made visible. – Kahlil Gibran

Though my outside circumstances are pretty rough, I’m in a great place internally. A big part of that is because I’m working very hard at being a better person. I honestly flinch to write that. Work hard? At being kind and caring and honest and sincere? Aren’t we supposed to just “be” those things naturally? If we are, I’m screwed.

Enter minimalism. As I began the action of reducing my things, I learned early that it is not an easy process. It’s taking a long time because I don’t want to just throw it all away. I’m a curious person. I want to explore why I hold on to things and why I feel the need to let go. Minimalism has become much more about the internal work than the external process of eliminating stuff.

I feel like I’m finding important pieces of myself buried beneath my collection of clothes and old beliefs. Pieces I told myself that were worthless because I had to “work” to make them shine.

The process fascinates me. I examine an old toy. Then I examine the belief that rich people are all assholes. Odds and ends I’ve collected on my journey so far. A lot of it is a bunch of crap. There are days when it’s not fun to decide what to do with a box of baby clothes or my scraps of religion.

But it is worth it. For the first time in my life, I’m learning to like myself. What a treasure to find on my quest for simplicity.

A few days ago, I remembered an interview with Kris Carr I’d seen years ago. She is a fabulous woman. Please check out her documentary titled Crazy Sexy Cancer. She is a survivor and an inspiration to many. She said something that stayed with me and as I grow into my new identity as a person with less baggage, I’m ready to embrace those words. Please watch the video below to hear her response when asked how she stays so positive (the answer is within the first twenty seconds of this clip).

I’m ready to work hard at being a better person. I’m ready to let go of my belief that the good stuff in life comes easy and without effort. So far, all the good stuff in my life has come because I’ve worked for it. All the miles under my feet. All the love in my life. All the joy in my heart. All the light in my soul. Yes, they are gifts but if I don’t nurture them and work to make them grow, then they are as worthless as I once believed I was…

Thank you dear reader. Whoever you are. Wherever you are. As you read these words, know that I wish great things for you, my fellow traveler along my simplicity quest. I’m honored that you would walk with me.

Shine on,

G

Advertisements

9 comments

  1. Wow. I have read through this 3 times now, and I suspect I will a few more. This post hit me like a sucker punch; it knocked the wind out of me.

    “Work hard? At being kind and caring and honest and sincere? Aren’t we supposed to just “be” those things naturally? If we are, I’m screwed.”

    I recently (well, a couple of months ago) had a run-in with someone. She had read my blog and come across a post where I talked about working towards being a better person. And she threw your quote above back in my face. “Some of us don’t HAVE to WORK at being a good person, Nancy, we just are!”, she spit out with venom. The tears burned in my eyes as I reflected on that, having to work hard at it.

    With the benefit of time and space I realize that it’s okay to have to work at it. It’s the willingness and desire to work at it that makes it special. It’s what makes us special.

    I’ve got a ways to go, but I’m willing to put in the work.

    And, like you G, I find myself at the utter dichotomy of having my outward circumstances be turning to complete shit at an alarming speed, while inside, I’m just about the happiest I’ve ever been. Talk about confusing the hell out of my mind, body and soul. A happy medium would be pretty nice.

    But I’m willing to put in the work. And I know you are too.

    Thanks, once again, from the bottom of my heart. You seem to share the exact perfect thing at the exact perfect time. And it is a true gift.

    xoxo nancy

    1. Thank you for this response. You are usually so kind and encouraging in your comments and I feel like your timing is perfect.

      It’s so ironic (and reveals more than she knows) that the “nice” lady had to be rude to you about being nice. I consider myself a G.R.U.B. (Gratefully Recovering Ungrateful Bitch). We should start a club. Like anyone trying to overcome a hurdle in my life, I know that my natural tendency is to be pretty much a bitch. I’m selfish and lazy at my core. I certainly have my moments. You are not alone in your efforts to be a better person. I suppose it won’t do to say things like “Fuck naturally nice people”. But I sure think it sometimes… 😛

      At this point, I’d like a happy medium too.

      With much gratitude and tequila,
      G

      1. Oh – I should have noted – this person is, in fact, not nice. She is a piece of work, with many, many faults (as we all have..). She spewed her hatred at me because of other ‘stuff’ between us.

        I never once believed a word she said about her ‘not having to work at being a better person’. But, even with that, the fact that she pointed out that I do have to work at it stung to the core.

        I know you are going through a tough time, G — and I wish there was something I could do, other than continue to send positive thoughts and energy your way.

        If you ever do start the G.R.U.B club, I will be the first to enroll.

        Missing your words – but supporting your decision to go take care of what you need to. The blog, and your supportive readers, will be here when you’re ready to come back.

  2. Thanks for an honest and thought provoking post. I think we have to wrok at it because we have to change our habits. We do so much on auto pilot. If we want to be more intentional- and minimalism must involve intention- then we have to make the effort to direct the mind the way we want it to go. I think for example we need to develop gratitude for what we have and not bemoan what we do not have. That takes practice: a dairy for example, or a dialy photo, or a saying we use to remind ourselves, or writing a blog…… tools to change habits.

    1. Hey there! Thanks so much for your comment! “and minimalism must involve intention” – so true. To even begin it, one must be intentional. Unless a there is a fire or other large disaster, minimalism is very intentional. Thanks again for stopping by. I really appreciate it. 🙂

  3. “I’m a curious person. I want to explore why I hold on to things and why I feel the need to let go.”

    This – exactly. That’s why I have never just dumped all my stuff (even though I have really wanted to). I’ve never been able to put into words why I had to go through each individual thing so painstakingly, but that is exactly it – it’s because I want to learn from each item, because by examining what we take away it helps to reveal to us what is actually left behind.

    And to think of working at a positive attitude, or at being kind, or honest… it is a revelation to me that others not only do this, but succeed. That alone gives me the motivation that change IS possible.

    You have such a wise voice in this endless ocean of the internet – I am just so glad I found your blog!

    1. Hi Rose! You are lovely to leave such a sweet comment.

      Though I do go through my stubborn moments, I love to learn. And until I feel like I have “achieved minimalism” I get to keep doing just that. I know that we have much in common but now we can add “love of learning” to the list. 🙂

      You rock and I’m completely humbled (and I little bit baffled) that you consider my voice wise. I’m grateful beyond words. I’m glad I found your blog too!

      Here’s to the learning journey,
      G

  4. I just came back to see how you are! Haven’t seen you around this week. Not sure how I missed commenting on this one.

    I do think there’re human instincts which runs deep and they’re not all bad but some of them are plain ugly. It takes hard work and a great deal of wisdom to recognise when our instincts are leading us astray and a a great deal more to engage the rational brain as and when necessary.

    Hope the break from blogging is just busy-ness!

    1. I think the WordPress Reader can be a little jinky sometimes. I often miss posts I thought I should have seen…

      I have been swamped in a bit of busy-ness actually. Getting things sorted to create time to write mostly. 🙂

      I agree that not all our instincts are ugly. I just feel like I got a bigger dose of the uglier bits. As you know, I love the idea that the brain is so malleable. Science gives me hope that I can be a better person if I work at it. Even the stuff that runs deep can at least be controlled if not changed altogether.

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Beautiful B. I always appreciate your comments.

      Here’s to the less ugly bits,
      G

Comments are closed.