Note: This is a guest post from Brian Gardner, Creative Director and Operations at Becoming Minimalist.
“Sometimes you need to sit lonely on the floor in a quiet room in order to hear your own voice and not let it drown in the noise of others.” —Charlotte Eriksson
We live in a world where busyness is king. We’re so busy glorifying how busy we are, we miss out on experiencing the moments that matter. And while we’re so busy making a living, we forget to make life—which is quite tragic.
Here’s a sobering truth: Busyness crushes our soul, and we should focus more on reducing the number of things on our calendar than adding to it.
The key to removing busyness is simple—live intentionally, and identify areas in our life we can replace with quiet time. After all, the white space is where the magic happens. And who isn’t down for a little magic?
How Comparison is the Thief of Joy
“Envy is ever joined with the comparing of a man’s self; and where there is no comparison, no envy.” —Sir Francis Bacon
When we compare ourselves to others, we set ourselves up to add “more” into our life. More money, more cars, more houses, and more stuff. We fall victim to the old adage of “keeping up with the Joneses” which prevents us from living the life we really want to live.
The problem is that we typically compare our “worst” to their “best”, which really paints a bleak picture.
As Joshua Becker writes, “Too many people live their lives without intentionality or thought. They rarely find a quiet moment to sit in meditation or solitude and examine their life—who they are and who they are becoming.”
We should stop stop comparing our lives, and start living them.
The Importance of a Quiet Life
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” —Anne Lamott
I’m convicted of this… All. The. Time.
Many of us, including me, suffer from FOMO—the fear of missing out. We’re simply afraid if we don’t attend that event, don’t sign up for that committee, or don’t enroll our kids in that sport, we’ll miss out on something.
We think there is happiness to be had, joy to be experienced, and moments to be made. Yes, there might be some truth to this, but who’s to say the moments of solitude or quiet time won’t measure up—or even exceed those altogether?
In solitude, we see more clearly. Alone—in moments of prayer or meditation, or simply in stillness—we breathe more deeply, see more fully, hear more keenly. We notice more, and in the process, we return to what is sacred.
Do yourself a favor and reclaim margin in your life. It might make a world of difference and bring you happiness. Because you are worthy of it.
Why Minimalism is the Answer
“I am pursing minimalism. I know this to be true. I want less, and I want simplicity, and I want to spend my days connecting and caring, not consuming and completing.” —Erin Loechner
I don’t know about you, but that sounds appealing to me. Isn’t this the kind of life you want to live? It’s definitely the kind of life I want to live.
Minimalism doesn’t have to be about living in a tiny house with only a few shirts in your closet. Minimalism is about paring down and focusing on the things that are important—or as Marie Kondo says, the ones that bring us joy.
Here’s how Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus define minimalism, “Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.“
I believe we all want to incorporate some level of minimalism into our life, and experience the freedom that Joshua and Ryan talk about. And it’s important for us to know there isn’t a “right” or “wrong” way to do it.
Annie Dillard says, “How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.”
It starts with the decision to live more intentionally, and to make quiet time a priority. Each day is just as important as the next in creating the life we imagine.
Experience the Quiet Life
Here’s the bottom line: It is not selfish to want time for yourself.
There is a reason the next issue of Simplify Magazine takes a deep-dive into the topic of Self-Care.
It is not selfish to want moments where you can leave the world behind, and recapture the magic. I encourage you today to find one—just one—area in your life that you can make a change. Take one small step towards a quiet life.
So turn it off. Put it down. Do not open it. And do not answer it.
For once, put yourself first. Love yourself, and make yourself a priority. Even for just one day, you deserve everything. Every part of the life you are after.