The Trouble with excess in crisis (COVID-19)

A minimalist life is humble, simple, below our means. There is a security and dignity in that. We don’t have more than we need and it’s low maintenance. While we may have the means for a bigger life (more things and property), we choose not to live at the limit of our means. Because of this we are usually better prepared for tragic events to befall us.
Those that live bigger lifestyles often do so at the limit of their means. They have a drive, a desire to have something to show for their means, for their wealth/status as far as they can financially take it.
Unfortunately doing that is extremely bold as the lifestyle created stands on the pillars of the wealth that generated it in the first place. One must have a lot of faith that they will continue to have those means if they wish to continue to support that big lifestyle.
That kind of boldness is a bit prideful and pompous as it suggests one has complete control over their life.
Unfortunately nothing can be further from the truth. And now with COVID-19, many are learning this the hard way.
With businesses closing for this recovery period, many have to downsize, and some are even closing permanently. As a result there are people going without the same regular income, and many are being laid off.
It is bad enough that these folks are now out of a job, and need money just for survival. But even more daunting is the need they now have to make enough money to upkeep the lifestyle they’ve already built. They’ve got a large mortgage, and two car payments to make. Since they were at the limit of their means before they were laid off, they will need to make just as much money as they did before just to be able to keep making these payments. …….. or find themselves in an extremely desperate stressful situation.
All this occurring from an arrogant false security that “I will always be this well off”. Anything can and will happen. Control is an illusion. Anything we have, can be taken away in a blink of an eye. The lord giveth, and the lord taketh away.
It is positively arrogant and selfish to live at the limit of our present means. Truth be told we should be setting aside a savings plan and some funds for giving back (to the community ….. I don’t like the word charity).
There is no more responsible way to live than living without excess financial commitments.

Minimalist Habits in the New Eco-friendly World

Finally we have made the big step toward an Eco-friendly world right here in New York by banning plastic disposable shopping bags. This is long overdue. Hopefully this is just the first in many changes toward a better earth, to come.

This wonderful culture change goes hand in hand with a minimal existence. Less waste, less clutter, re-using, retaining only that which adds value. In the end “minimal” and “environmentally friendly” are the same thing.

But with that being said, I see as I go shopping that there are many people that still have a difficult time adjusting to this bag-less change.

I am at the self checkout at the local market and I see most people PAYING for a paper bag to load their groceries in. When I see this I just lower my head swinging it back and forth. This is just replacing one waste for another, and unfortunately stores are forced to supply these paper bags to make up for negligence and ignorance.

C’mon people, it’s time to build the habit of bringing your own reusable bags. Most grocery stores sell ones right there at the registers; pretty ones. These ones are fine and dandy, and very sturdy. Buuuuuut they are a bit bulky for my taste. I prefer something that I can store in an easy to “grab and go” place; something minimal (of course). It is for this reason that I use Timomo reusable grocery bags, or “pocket bags” as I like to call them. When not in use they fold up into a pouch the size of your palm and can be stored literally in your back pocket. These bags, and others like them can be found online, and at most variety retail stores (Target, Wal-Mart n such).

But whatever we prefer, go with it. This is hardly the difficult part of this whole change. The difficult part is building the habit of USING the bag.

For this reason, I wish to bestow some tips/tricks that will make establishing these habits smoother:

  1. Keep the shopping bag/s stored in the vehicle. It makes no sense to keep them in the home, as likelihood is we’ll only forget to grab them when it’s time to go out an shop. This brings me to tip number ….
  2. After we return home with our shopping goods (bagged of course), and have unloaded the bag/s, make a point to fold up the bag/s and put them with our “away supplies”. Ya know, the pile of stuff we keep close to the front door for when we leave the home. Stuff like our keys, coat, and hat. This way, the next time we leave the home we will have the bag/s to stash back in the vehicle. Either that, or just bring the bag/s back to the vehicle right away.
  3. In the event we DO forget to bring our bag/s in the market, and we find ourselves at the register when we realize this, please resist the temptation to buy a bag there (paper or otherwise) for the sake of time and saving a little bit of embarrassment. This actually hinders the process of building the good habit of remembering to bring the bag/s in next time…… and actually begins a NEW habit of just buying one every time. It takes two minutes to push our merch to the side, go to our vehicle, and get the shopping bag/s. PLUS, the time delay and embarrassment serve as an excellent reminder to get the bag/s next time; nothing sticks to the memory like a time lagging embarrassing moment. If we gotta get back on line and wait again at the checkout, so be it. The more of a hassle it is, the less likely we will make that mistake again.

No one said establishing good habits was easy, but as long as we establish a pattern, stick to it, and never let ourselves take the easy path,  we will get into the rhythm in no time.



Purifying the Mind

Without doubt the most difficult ongoing task in the journey of living a life of intention, is that of clearing the mind of negative thoughts and emotions. These things clutter the mind, robbing us of peace and focus. I myself frequently struggle with this, as this is has no destination, it’s just an ongoing journey. This is something we cannot  “beat ourselves up” over,  just because it is human nature to dwell on the negative.

    There are however some common practices we can implement in our lives to help us on this journey:

  1. Healthy body, healthy mind. – With regular exercise, and a healthy diet, we improve the mind in every way. We become more rational, understanding, and more joyful.
  2. becoming more Mindful – Through practices like Meditation and Yoga, one can improve their ability to be more aware of where they are and what they are doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around them.
  3. Apply the THINK method in all that we say – Everybody knows that our thoughts influence our actions, but what we often forget (or fail to realize) is that this concept works in reverse too. Improve our actions, and our thoughts and attitude will soon follow. It is for this reason I recommend the THINK method in all social interactions. That is, before we say something we should THINK about what we are going to say.

            Is what we have to say …

    • True
    • Helpful
    • Inspiring
    • Necessary
    • Kind

                Before a single conversation point is spoken, it must match this criteria.

I am always seeking new tools to assist in journey of mental stability/peace. I have found many. Most are too much of a time commitment for what they offer, and others haven’t worked to well at all (not for me anyway). These however have been invaluable, and the results are immediate.