You Don’t Seem Simple To Me

“I don’t understand this blog thing, you guys don’t seem simple to me.”

That, my friends, was my mother’s response when I invited her to checkout our recently redesigned website.

“Mom, why do you say that?”

“Well, it’s because you guys have stuff.  You have computers, you have cars.  You have a nice house.”

Ah, there is it is.

Last week I was on my way to a minimalist meet up.  On my way there I met a friend for a cup of coffee and I was telling her about the meet up.  She said to me, “I am really interested in a minimalist lifestyle, but I’m an artist and I don’t think artists can ever be a minimalist.  We have too much stuff to make our art.  We live pretty simply besides that.”

Ah, but I disagree my friend.  I think many artists fill the spirit of the minimalist movement more than anyone.  Carrie is also an artist.  She has a lot of stuff that she uses to make her art.  The process that she endures to put a piece together is heavy and burdensome and it’s a struggle for her.

The point of minimalism is to only have those things in your life that are important to you.

Carrie’s art is part of her.  She is a part of her art.  The stuff that she uses to produce this definitely adds value to her life.

I tried to find a definition of minimalism to offer to my mother.  I couldn’t find an authoritative source so I offered her this, which I borrowed from

Minimalism is Living Life on Purpose

“So, Mom, you think we aren’t pursuing a simpler life because we have computers?  What if I told you that we use our computers to help organize and declutter our lives?”

“How’s that?”, she asks.

“Well, all of our music is on our computer.  All of our photos are on it.  Our books are there too.  Since we cut our cable, we use it for entertainment as well.  If we didn’t do that we would probably still have stacks of CDs, DVDs, and bookshelves of stuff.  Sure, you could say that we need to get rid of the electronic stuff too, but we enjoy these things.  They make us happy.”

“Oh, I see”, she says.  “So you are saying that it’s ok to have stuff.”

“Of course it is.  The point is to only add these things that add value to your life.  And it’s not just ‘stuff’.  It’s what you do as well.  It’s only putting energy into those tasks that help you achieve your goals in life.  Deliberately working only on those things that add value and help you achieve your goals.  It’s okay to say no to things that aren’t important to you.”

“So, for example, on Wednesday I have a bible study group.  But it’s really just turned into a get together where we talk about other stuff.  Instead of going to that I want to take my grandson to a workshop at the science center.  I shouldn’t feel guilty about that?  The church group will be disappointed if I don’t come.”

“Is spending time with your grandson more important than the bible study to you?”

“Yes, it definitely is.”

“Then no, you shouldn’t feel guilty for doing what’s important to you.  It’s your life, not theirs.  Go live it.”

Me, Mom, and the grandson in question

Me, Mom, and the grandson in question