Sunday, August 4, 2013

An Old Cowboy's Understanding of Minimalism, At Least, How It Works for Him.

Sometimes, an attempt at explanation of my rants is in order. I've found that MY understanding of my words is sometimes a mite different than what others might see.

Some misunderstand my disdain for "Things". They see it as trying to have it both ways I suppose, and they question my talking against materialism... when they see me hawking "Affiliate Sponsors"... and think that there's a contradiction there.

I know they do, because I have to stop every once in a while myself, and make a self-check. I believe I have and am gaining a more finely tuned sense of "Things". I see no contradiction in promoting my sponsors. Everyone needs clothing. The requisite tools for camping, maintaining their "homes"... and even the small bits of art that touch the spirit on occasion. So, I share the best of those from what I see as a place of enlightened self interest. If you have a need for those things, I invite you to give those sponsors an opportunity at fulfilling your needs.

The thing is, it's not a choice between two rigid  options; being buried under a crushing mountain of possessions and living naked in the woods. Like in much of life, it's finding that proper "balance" between those two extremes.

Somewhere, hidden between those two extremes, either of which are as equally destructive, is that place of balance. The trick is to move along carefully, paying attention... so that you see that spot when you pass through it; That spot when you realize, this is what I require. Not too much, not too little. Just this.

I measure a thing by its use. Sometimes it comes pretty close to balancing and making the choice more difficult, but in the end, I believe little in this life, truly balances. It tips one way or the other. No one and no thing is all good, or all evil... well... except Motorcycles. Never was a bad one made! :)

I pursue those things that I need as tools to provide and do what I need for a fulfilled life in this world. Those things that nurture the body and the soul are treasured and defended in balance with their need. Those things that by their cost in life and labor enslave, are eschewed. 

Some mistake me as being a minimalist... uhhhh... not sure there. I want the minimal amount necessary to be comfortable. I'm lazy. I don't want the work of carrying and worrying about what I don't need. Or the work of producing what I don't need in the first place. I want to be cool when it's hot, and warm when it's cold. I want to be fulfilled when I'm bored and eased when I'm overloaded...

I want wide open spaces that let my spirit expand, miles of two lane to unleash my scooter, a cool beer in the evening as I listen to the breeze in the tree tops. A working Ipod with my favorite tunes, a new shirt on occasion and clean jeans. A jacket for when it's cold. Shelter from the wind and rain... one of my "devices" so that I can stay close to far flung friends... Other than that, my needs are few.

Minimalism doesn't mean suffering and doing without. It means knowing when you have everything you need, and not wasting precious life and energy, pursuing what you don't. Minimalism is learning that place where everything has a place, everything fits with purpose, and the energy that was once expended on needless things can be invested in LIFE.

Perfecting My Own Balancing Act


Anonymous said...

Your idea of minimalism is a lot like mine. I am a simple guy..with simple needs. Wife says too simple?!
I just want LESS of what I don't really need or use.

Whatsnewell said...

Brian, nicely stated. I would think the fact that "we" choose to live in a couple hundred square feet, or less speaks volumes. Our "footprint" on the environment is minimal....certainly less than living in a sticks and bricks home. We use less water, less electricity, and no more fuel than most, and less than a lot.

When I lived in my sticks and bricks home and worked full time I drove about 2,000 miles per month....just me....then add in m wife's mileage and combined we drove close to 5,000 miles per month...a lot of fuel consumption. Now we average less than 1,000 miles per month in the motorhome, and a few hundred in the car.

We don't collect a lot of stuff, because where would we put it? If something comes in, something must go out.

Anyway.....dittos to everything you wrote!

Don said...

I sure wish some of our politicians were more like you! Needs are needs but outlandish wants are just outlandish; they don't seem to understand that!