Bringing you a short quote today that I read in Essentialism:
“If one’s life is simple, contentment has to come. Simplicity is extremely important for happiness.” —Dalai Lama (tweet that)
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reflect on what we have and to understand that we have enough. (tweet that)
Here’s a simple meditation exercise you can do today to celebrate gratitude.
Find a spot in your home to sit and just spend a few moments taking in all that’s around you. Look at your home. Look at what’s in it. Allow your mind to recall memories sparked by the different items. Equally allow your mind to recognize when items don’t bring up any feelings in particular, and could easily be removed from your space without any loss to you.
Enjoy the feeling of comfort that gratitude often brings, as we feel safe in our surroundings. This is your home. Whatever it is, you have made it yourself. Whether you brought in the items one by one, or whether you are living in a home that was furnished by someone else. It is your home.
Take note of how you feel as you sit in this part of the house. Are you calm? Stressed? Is your mind racing or at peace? What made you choose this spot in the first place?
Often we become so used to our home, we glaze over the items in it without ever really looking at them since the day we placed them on the shelf. Take this time of Thanksgiving to really look. Look at each item and feel gratitude for it.
If you find with some items that it’s difficult to feel genuine gratitude, take that as a sign you can live without it. Remove it from your home. This time before the holidays is a perfect time to donate items (especially in good condition) to second hand stores and charities.
By passing things on to someone who can better use them, we allow ourselves the chance to feel genuine gratitude toward the things we truly enjoy. Without the unnecessary clutter, we can really see those items which spark fond memories and loving thoughts. Aren’t those feelings what Thanksgiving is all about? Give yourself and your family the chance enjoy them. You might find it becomes one more thing you can be grateful for.
Happy Thanksgiving, my friends,
I started re-reading Essentialism this week. Essentialism is a book by Greg McKeown about simplifying your life in all areas and prioritizing “the vital few” over “the trivial many”. It’s been recommended by The Minimalists and many others, and was given to me by a close friend.
About a third of the way through is the Essentialist principle “Only a few things really matter.” When I read that again last night, I right away thought about something I’m currently going through. I’m debating keeping one of my multiple jobs, because it’s turned out to not be an ideal fit. My hesitancy to leave comes, I think, from the idea that quitting would be wrong or somehow taking the easy way out. I know the right choice is for me to leave so I can pursue something that’s a better fit, but I haven’t been listening to myself. Instead, I’ve been making it a big deal in my mind and going back and forth.
Reading that only a few things really matter, I instantly realized that neither this job nor the stress I’m feeling about leaving this job are things that really matter. I like to look at the big scheme of things and think, “a year from now, will this even matter?” Usually when I ask myself that, the answer is no. That makes my decision a lot easier. (tweet that)
What are you making into a big deal in your life that doesn’t really matter?
Fast fashion – a contemporary term used by fashion retailers to express that designs move from catwalk quickly to capture current fashion trends. Emphasis is on optimizing certain aspects of the supply chain for these trends to be designed and manufactured quickly and inexpensively to allow the mainstream consumer to buy current clothing styles at a lower price. (Wikipedia)
I only recently learned the term fast fashion, but now I have a term for the clothing in stores like Forever21 and its competitors. It’s ultra-trendy and current, and chances are you’ll love it for the first 3 months but then feel so outdated wearing it after that. But, at such a low price, you can (almost) afford to cycle through your clothes at a seasonal rate.
But just because these clothes don’t add up to much on your credit card statement, doesn’t mean they don’t add up in other areas.
Your closet, for one. You keep the “BAE” sweatshirt in your closet because you only just bought it. Yet you feel like you can now only wear it ironically. It gets shoved further and further into the depths of your closet.
Meanwhile, your closet gets fuller. It becomes more difficult to fit new things in there. You’re running out of space. It doesn’t look nearly as tidy as it did after your last round of KonMari-ing.
The messier your closet gets, the more clothes start creeping down onto the floor. And now you feel just a little stressed out every time you enter your bedroom.
Let’s look at a different approach to buying clothes:
Instead of buying the mega-popular fast fashion, you opt for more classic pieces. You keep a strict standard to only buy what is flattering on your figure and your skin tone. Now everything in your closet looks amazing on you, and you can wear it for years to come. You have a minimal, capsule wardrobe that is easy to maintain in a tidy space. You enter your room feeling light and you always find something to wear.
This is how I’ve been doing things for the last year or so. Before that, I was all about fast fashion. The two things that finally got through to me were 1) reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and 2) watching this video by Mimi Ikonn, where she explains that everyone has a set of hues they are best suited to wear, and she basically gives you a sure-fire method to always look radiant. Both of these resources were absolutely life-changing (not to mention style-changing) and now I can never go back.
There’s another way fast fashion adds up, and that’s on the impact on the environment. Fast fashion is mass produced and poorly done, using cheap materials and cheap labor. The quality is terrible, which almost doesn’t matter because you throw it out before it has a chance to really fall apart. This leads to an excess of materials and, ultimately, waste.
Whether your desire to drop fast fashion is due to ethics, minimalism, or simply wanting to look and feel your best, it’s something I’m really glad I’ve done, and I hope it brings you as much peace as it’s brought me.