Note: This is a guest post by Rachelle Crawford of Abundant Life With Less.
I’ve got to level with you. This simple living thing isn’t always so simple.
What began as a quest for less unlocked a world of wonder.
In one course-altering, divine, yet unlikely encounter, I awakened to the realization that minimalism was the solution to my chaotic and overwhelming daily life.
I’ve never looked back. It is a moment I will forever be grateful for.
I intensely and ruthlessly purged our belongings, and it did not take long to feel the impact of living with less. It was the unfamiliar feeling of relief.
I could breathe again.
This newfound peace soon began to migrate into the way I was spending my time. I found myself clearing my schedule with the same intensity I did my belongings. I figured that was it.
Then, well, one thing leads to another. I should have known. It always does. Here I am, a year and a half later, and a completely different person both inside and out.
You see, this minimalism is a tricky thing. She waltzes in dressed as simplicity, and the next thing you know she’s unraveled your soul.
There’s nothing simple about that.
While minimalism is about your stuff, I’ve found it has very little to do with your stuff.
As I journeyed toward a life of less, I was surprised to discover a world of complexity along the way. This not so simple life kept challenging my assumptions about myself. It pressed me to transform areas of my life that, for so long, I let operate on autopilot.
This not so simple side of less just may stir up parts of you that you’ve long given up on. Here are a handful of mine.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt the pull toward adventure.
As I grew up, the love of adventure was replaced with a fear of losing it all. I preferred predictability to chance in order to maintain this tight grip on all that I cherished.
This simple life has awakened my once dormant passion to dare greatly, get uncomfortable and take an alternate route. It has inspired me to loosen my grip in order to take big leaps.
While you won’t find me on the latest episode of The Discovery Channel’s Naked and Afraid anytime soon, I’ve discovered little ways to uncover adventure in my daily life. Because in the words of Moana,
“The call isn’t out there at all, it’s inside me.”
“You either walk into your story and you own it, or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.” – Brene Brown
I was hiding behind my clutter and busyness to avoid self-reflection for fear of what I’d find. If I kept myself busy enough, and my life packed full to the brim, I wouldn’t have time to be accountable for the state of my soul.
Well wouldn’t you know it, with less on my plate and more time on my hands, I had nothing left to do but dive inside. I wasn’t too pleased with what I found.
While once filled with curiosity, adventure, leadership and bravery I had grown into an unteachable, worry-prone, perfectionist, hiding from my skill set and attempting to prove my worth through the art of doing.
My worth was entwined in my ability to be perfect, and it left me lost in the “try hard” life.
Doing the hard work of diving inside allowed me to find the truth about who I am and the source of my worthiness. I’ve become delightful company.
“It’s a wild and wonderful thing to bump into someone and realize it’s you.” – Fil Anderson
I lost my desire to learn a long time ago. With my nursing degree came quite an educational hangover, which lingered for many years. From my faith to my parenting, I thought I had it all figured out. In turn, I became invested in eliminating variables and preventing change.
“Once you stop learning, you start dying.” – Albert Einstein
Becoming a minimalist was one of the biggest transitions I had yet to undertake. It led me to discover I could change and that a willingness to change is the first step toward growth.
I used to do hard things. I remember them well.
Somewhere along the way I became a worrier. I tried to pretend that my worry was actually responsible parenting or productive planning, but the long and short of it was, hard things terrified me.
Call it a need to control or self-preserve, but eventually worry turned into fear and fear became my go-to.
Nothing good grows from a place of fear, and this not so simple life helped me uncover my bravery again.
“Legacy is not leaving something for people, it’s leaving something in people.” – Peter Strople
This simple life has me looking at material possessions in a whole new light. I find myself valuing my time and resources not by what they can offer me, but how they can be used to bless others.
More than that, I want to be generous with my story in hopes of sharing exactly that, hope.
“Our story isn’t for us in the first place. It never was. It’s for others, and those others need you to own it and share it.” – Joy McMillan
Sure, simplifying will lead to less. Less to do, less to want, less to need. However, I found the place of less to be a decoy. If less is really all you’re after, then watch your step because the simple life is riddled with rabbit holes.
Don’t confuse simplicity with an easy life.
It’s simply where the adventure begins. It’s where we find purpose and in turn, the capacity to discover what makes us come alive.
Now that I know a bit more about myself I’ve been thinking, maybe the simple life was never what I was after anyway.
Rachelle Crawford blogs at Abundant Life With Less where she encourages others to ditch the excess in order to find freedom, joy and purpose in the everyday. For more inspiration, find her on Instagram.
This is one of the best written pieces I’ve read in a long time. This also explained my life path as if I’d written it myself. As I was reading it, my heart sped up because I could have been reading about the last 6 years of my life. I simplified my life and the truly discovered who I am and what I love. And, this is at 60 years old. I am now a certified life coach helping others on their journeys of self-discovery. Thank you.
Wendi Kuehn says
This article is what I have been trying to put in to words!
Joshua Becker, thank you for this article! I feel like the course has helped me so much but it is this stuff that I need more guidance/help with. I think it is up to me to figure it out. Glad I am not the only one.
Nikki T says
Beautifully written and spot on!! These words are the absolute truth and resonated deeply with me. After I quit my job, sold my house and began what is now going on a 4 year journey around the world, this is exactly what I have experienced. The inner journey was the most fascinating (and frustrating) part. Great writing Rachelle!
Bethany @ Happily Loco says
Oh wow, I could relate to so much of this! I, too, began my minimalist journey by just getting rid of stuff. Which then led to a journey of self-discovery during which I signed my house in Michigan over to the bank and moved my family across the country, to Houston, to live on a boat! Which has since become cluttered. My yoga teacher recently cautioned me, “If the external is chaotic, the internal can never be calm.” So here I am again, purging, decluttering, and simplifying. It is a lifelong journey!
Beautiful! You make me want more minimalism for greater life. Thank you Rachelle and Joshua for writing and sharing.
Been doing some MAJOR decluttering and it feels great! :)