A Minimalist Reveals 15 Life Lessons (part 1)

These are the most important life lessons I’ve learned so far.

1. Trust is the real gold

The beauty of having at least one person we can absolutely, completely trust is priceless.

2. Visualize & Meditate daily

Visualization and meditation are key to creating the life we want. These practices help us to FOCUS on clarifying our purpose so we can accomplish our goals and lead a satisfying life.

3. Eat less & Move more

Another thing that sounds so easy – and it is. There are lots of ways to complicate stuff, but it’s simple. Just eat less and move more. Remember being a little kid and running for fun, playing tag and skipping all through the lunch hour? Be that kid having fun and feeling easy. Being healthy is the foundation of all abundance in life. Money is completely useless without health.

4. Do not deign to complain

Complaining is for people who are playing the victim role. Enlightened adults do not whine about the lives they are subjected to. They are not victims. We are all powerful creators of our lives. We take responsibility to change our course if the lives we are living are not meeting our needs.

5. Freedom is better than parenthood

That’s right, I said it. I am very glad I didn’t reproduce. I can say that, but if you have kids and said that you wish you didn’t, you’d be a horrible person. You have to say, “It’s the best thing I ever did”, even as you are sleep deprived for years, never stop worrying, feel stuck with your job, your neighbourhood, or your spouse, and completely forget that you had a life, or a purpose besides being a parent. Not everyone should reproduce. Being kid free has given me such joy and freedom, with a wealth of time and money, and the ability to keep my life fun, focused and spontaneous. If you don’t already have kids, consider your entire future very carefully before making a hasty decision that is irreversible.

Click here to continue reading the next 5 life lessons…

Gratitude Inspires Abundance

When do we allow ourselves to simply be happy with what we already have?

… Now.

As Eckhart Tolle said, “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.

– Epicurus

Gratitude inspires abundance

– Michelle Lauzon

Your life is already filled with wondrous treasures, if only you have the eyes to appreciate them.

Time to Enjoy Life: a story of remote living & simple abundance

Today I am remembering to be grateful for all of the free time my minimalist lifestyle has given me. Minimizing my needs and desires for material things has resulted in having a lot more time to enjoy life.

Last summer I got to spend many peaceful hours going on long walks and listening to several audio books. One of them was Walden, (or Life in the Woods), by Henry David Thoreau. His story reminded me how lucky I was to also have so much freedom and free time.

Really though, it wasn’t luck. I actively decided to pursue a more unusual path. Being self employed has allowed me to choose the jobs I wanted to take on, and to choose the hours, days, or months I wanted to work. This decision had the benefit of more free time to enjoy life.

Being minimalist in my desires and habits has allowed me to “work” for only about half of my adult life. (Much of my work is learning and creating, so it’s more like play… like writing, or designing websites, or creating advertising, or renovating/building houses) The rest of the time I was free to explore the world and focus on understanding myself and others better.

For example, ten years ago my partner and I bought a house on a few acres of land. It was very remote, on a tiny island in British Columbia.  We imagined we would become extremely self sufficient; grow food, get chickens and goats, the whole enchilada. We didn’t end up getting any farm animals or solar panels, but we did chop tons of firewood and had our own well. Instead of getting animals, we grew lots of veggies and became vegetarians.

For those three years we had no phone, internet, or TV. If we needed to contact someone we’d go to use the internet or phone elsewhere. If you’re like most people these days, you might think, “Holy cow, you guys must have been bored stiff!”  or “What the heck would you do with yourself with no entertainment?”

Well, actually, we were never bored. In fact, we did a lot MORE interesting stuff. We had so much more time to enjoy life. Rather than watching others do things, we made our own entertainment. One of the best things was getting together with friends to play music. Everyone brought an instrument and we sang, talked and laughed. It was magical. We even played on stage at the bar a couple of times.

I read many library books from cover to cover, with no interruptions. I wrote a lot. I also studied lucid dreaming and kept a dream journal.

I made art. I sketched and painted, made paper mache sculptures, designed wool rugs, knitted sweaters, mitts and socks. My partner turned hundreds of fantastic wooden bowls from a diverse range of local fallen timbers. We displayed our work in the art gallery and also sold things in a tiny craft shop and in art fairs.

We got together with friends to play volleyball and card games. We danced.

We hiked up mountains, through the lush temperate rainforest and along the beaches. We soaked in the sunsets on the Western beach and in winter we made huge snow sculptures.

We built a 50′ crop circle garden and diverted the grey water from the sink and tub into a greenhouse we made. The recycled water produced delicious watermelons, peppers and tomatoes. (Note: only non-toxic cleansers were used in our home, so it was safe for consumption)

We met some remarkable people. There were shamans, wiccans, artists, musicians, and people had unusual names like Oshun, Infinity, Fawn, Om, Spoon, Gamble, Shine, Garden and Lovena. It was a breathtakingly beautiful and immensely interesting place to live, full of imaginative and resourceful people.

I am making it sound like it was perfect, but I can assure you that it wasn’t. Coming from a city slicker background, it is remarkable how much less privacy and anonymity there is in such a small community. I didn’t realize how precious that was until it was missing. The work was sporadic, and grocery shopping was a two-ferry, all day long, monthly odyssey.

However, back to the point of this story. The point is that carving out a more minimalist life gives you more free time. It doesn’t have to be so extreme, but simplifying your needs and reducing your desires leads to freedom; like the kind of freedom of not knowing (or caring) what time of day, or day of the week it is. Freedom from time is divine.

Maybe when I’m really old, I might regret not having worked longer and harder to save up my millions… but I doubt it. I’ve enjoyed intense bursts of activity, followed by semi-retirement for my entire adult life. I have given myself space to breathe and time to enjoy life while I am young enough to take risks and healthy enough to revel in the experience.

On a trip  last autumn, I met a woman in her mid-sixties, whose husband had been a very successful professional football player. He had recently had one of his legs amputated and was understandably very depressed. Financially, they were very wealthy, but destitute due to poor health and a lack of time. They had waited too long to do all of the things they had dreamed of doing. She vehemently reminded me to, “LIVE YOUR LIFE NOW!!!”, don’t wait to do the things you have always wanted to do. We don’t know what the future holds, but we can take a firm grasp of today and live life to the fullest. Whatever is most important to you, get going on it!

Money comes and goes, but time only goes.

Creating a minimalist lifestyle has been instrumental in taking control of my time and my freedom. Find ways to reduce the demands for your attention and the desire for material things so you have time to enjoy life.

Make Money Decluttering

Recently, I decided to move to a new place, so I took a good look around and made a list of a the items that I wasn’t using anymore. Previously I had always simply given things away that I wasn’t using. But selling my unwanted items is an added bonus to winnowing down my stuff, (something that already makes me feel great).

You Can Make Money Decluttering!

It’s a win, win, win situation. Less clutter, means more space to breathe, plus bonus money to do new things. Amazing!

Some of the stuff I didn’t need anymore wasn’t worth enough money to bother selling. For example; I took another look through my clothes and reduced my wardrobe even more. Anything that didn’t fit perfectly, or didn’t make me feel absolutely amazing went to charity.

A good rule to guide decision making for items being kept “just in case”: If it costs less than $20. and could be replaced in under 20 minutes, let it go. Release it back into the world and set the abundance cycle in motion. I love to put things outside with a nice big “FREE” sign. It feels really good to spread some joy in the world while clearing up some space for myself.

However, a few things that I wasn’t using anymore were more valuable, so I took some photos and put them up for sale online. For example, I once had a sizeable bonsai collection. After moving from one coast to another a couple of times, I realized that healthy little trees don’t like moving as much as I do. They have a tendency to get sick and die. As a result, I had an small crate full of beautiful bonsai pots and tools that were collecting dust.

I confess that deciding to let those items go, initially gave a small pang of regret. I had invested quite a lot of time and effort into that hobby. However, in the end I felt better. I reminded myself that had learned a lot about bonsai and had met some nice people in the process. I had enjoyed that activity, but acknowledged that I was truly done with it. I accept that I haven’t used the items in ages, and have no serious plans to change that in the near future.

Now, instead of a pile of items that only made me sad to see, after about a week, my free ad had earned me $200.! Awesome!  The person who bought my stuff also looked very happy with the deal.

Maybe you have a treadmill or other exercise equipment collecting dust in your spare room or garage. If you aren’t using those items, they are probably making you feel guilty every time you see them. I’m not recommending that you give up on getting (or staying) healthy. I’m saying that you should do things that make you feel good in the process. Maybe try yoga, or pushups, running, or playing sports out in the fresh air. Perhaps you can let the bad feelings go with the unused equipment and make some money back in the process.

It’s great when our old stuff can make others happy, and even better if the items can be sold so we can make new choices to do something with the money that will benefit us more in this moment.

It’s fun to make money decluttering!

Choosing new hobbies that require minimal gear (or no equipment at all) is fun too. Check out some of these articles for inspiration: birdingpeople watching, volunteering, “reading” audio books.