The Power of Less
As you most likely well know, the idea and practice of Minimalism is growing rapidly. There are blogs about it everywhere. People are making careers out of it, like The Minimalists, designers and builders of tiny houses, books like “the life-changing magic of tidying up”, by Marie Kondo and “Essentialism”, by Greg McKeown. Joshua Becker points out on his blog that there are many reasons why it’s growing in popularity. I personally resonate with this thought: “As our world continues to grow in complexity, there is far greater personal demand for many of the benefits that minimalism offers. Minimalism offers a life with less stress, less distraction, more freedom, and more time. All things that people today are desperately searching for more than ever.”
I had my first experience with minimalism while visiting my grandmother’s house as a child. I loved MaMaw’s house. It was always clean and tidy. I used to think the house was way too big for just my grandparents, but looking back on it, it was only a one-story, 2-bedroom, 2-bath house. No garage, just a covered carport. But the house felt big. I clearly remember how much I loved looking in her closets and cabinets because they were so open. There were things stored in them, but there was lots of room, too. I didn’t know why I loved that then, but I now I see it was because of how it made me feel. There was a sense of calm and power, almost a reverence to everything. Having just a few towels in a cabinet made them feel more special. And in a way, I felt special taking one out and using it.
Her son—my dad—also leaned towards this way of living. According to him “there is a place for everything and everything in its place.” I didn’t take much to the concept then, but, now I see the freedom that living that way allowed. We always knew where the scissors or the rake was. We didn’t have to spend entire weekends cleaning up the garage or the attic or the basement.
I’m finding myself really drawn to this whole idea of minimalism. I’ve been in the process of looking at my life and finding where I’ve accumulated clutter and baggage. Physically, emotionally and spiritually, I am beginning to move things that just don’t matter and get in the way. And, I’ve recommitted to applying this to my painting process, too. Paring things down to just a few different things in a painting that I really like feels better to me. It brings clarity and that feels more potent to me. And, it can actually be easier. Finding balance with just 1-3 things is a whole lot easier than trying it with 8 or 9. And the more distractions I clear out of the way, the more time and focus I have to paint.
As The Minimalists say “...we focus on making room for more: more time, more passion, more experiences, more growth, more contribution, more contentment. More freedom. Clearing the clutter from life’s path helps us make that room.” And to that, I say “ahhhh”.
What experiences have you had with creating focus on what you really love?