~Harbhajan Singh Yogi
I can't remember how I first came across minimalism, in part because I've always been drawn to simplicity. I was often drawn to the simplest manifestations of a style. I was incredibly drawn to shabby chic style...and it was these images from Rachel Ashwell's first book that I connected with the most. My favorite was the image of that couch with the simplest of lines (no loose cushions) + the simple white denim slipcover. I tried this look out for myself, when I made similar slipcovers for two secondhand chairs we had at the time.
I was drawn to the lists minimalists made of things that they had + didn't have. I imagined not duplicating their lists, but what would be on my own list. And then, I had the ultimate chance to try it out, when we moved overseas. I let so many of the things I'd treasured go, and had the opportunity to observe how that made me feel.
After another overseas move, I decided to explore what having fewer clothes would feel like and dressed with less...one month at a time. Here again, I had the chance to observe the changes happening in my thinking. It was exciting.
I've been reminded lately that it is possible to just read about philosophies and ideas...to discuss them...and even to teach them...without ever experiencing them for ourselves. The most learned scholar has not yet opened all doors to knowledge, if he has not yet put his studied philosophy into action. Just a little nudge to experiment...to experience.
I like to write about expanding our views of what we can influence and be a part of...the flourishing of farmers, garment workers, our planet...grand reimaginings...new discoveries...transformation...hope. But also...all of us have stories and pain and loss and longing and uncertainty. I'm just sitting here with mine for a while...and I'm feeling...how can we do the work of zero-waste, sustainability, the fairdare, environmental activism, standing in solidarity with our fellow human without having a sustainable self?
I don't have any real answers in this or any other category really. I only ever want to organize my thoughts + offer them up to anyone else who might find a kernel of value that might spark or play with their own thoughts.
Something I've noticed recently is that self-talk is so important. There is a voice inside my head and I need to be aware of what it is saying...to talk back to it...to train it. Cultivating my inner world is of great importance. What we consider over and over and over again...it matters (for better or worse). It may not save us, but it just might sink us.
Self-talk guides the way we "see". I'm reading through my journal from the past year + I recognize thoughts that I've been having...ways of thinking that are now part of me. The situations I find myself in sit inside the world view I've intentionally cultivated. My worldview has deep roots in love, compassion, hope + doing hard things. It values feeling my feelings, whatever they are + knowing there is time for them to change + change again. It knows that there is beauty in me + in the world...even still.
A few things I've been noticing + trying to keep in mind:
My desire is for your health + thriving. As always, these are just my thoughts + not a substitute for professional mental health care. Please be kind to yourself + ask for help, if you think it might be helpful.
Much love to you, my friends, wherever you find yourself today,
You are worthy. You are important. You matter.
It often happens that I don't really think about our garden until it is too late to plant a spring garden or to start tomato or peppers from seed. I'm ok with it. We happily support local farmers' efforts + enjoy all the spring goodness anyway. I don't put too much pressure on myself to do all the things or to get anything perfect. But...this year I did happen to think of my garden in February...and I did something about it.
I didn't spend a whole lot of time considering the best way to do things, but I did trust the knowledge that I've gained over the years (which gives me the courage to try new things too). Instead I made quick decisions + bought seeds. I also bought a calendar book that I'm dedicating solely to the garden...in order to implement a system...in order to make next time less daunting + to have something to rely on. I chose the simplest book that I could record everything I need into...one month per spread. I thought that seeing the whole month at once would be helpful. The less information I record, the easier it will be to reuse..and the more likely I will be to reuse it.
I'm not really concerned that next year the first will be on a Tuesday instead of a Monday. The first week of April will be the same no matter the date.
Similar to my menu system, I want to minimize the start-up effort that induces dread when considering a task. My notebook will have rough dates for when to buy seeds...how + when to start them (including what supplies I need)...when to plant various things...and what extra things to think about when (including compost application, bed repair and rain barrel installation). Since all of this depends on our region, it is helpful work to have done + recorded.
The key will be to look at this calendar each month. I wrote into my regular planner to look at the garden calendar on the first of each month + to fill in key tasks + considerations.
I added a pocket in the back for empty seed packets. These have lots of information on them (like when the seeds should emerge) and remind me exactly what I bought.
Again, flexibility is key in the garden. One week of rain turned into two right when I should have been planting my spring seeds. The ground was soggy + waterlogged for days after that, so we were a little late in planting. Oh, well. We'll see what happens + appreciate the hard work we did to try. I'll keep watering our little tomato and pepper plants. We'll see what thrives and what doesn't. It's ok. We all tried our best.
It feels good to have committed to planting some possibility...to tend it...to have hope in the future. We planted bok choy, radishes, spinach and beets. We weeded the beds and cleaned leaves + debris from the strawberry plants. Pollinator + butterfly seed mixes were planted for the birds, bees and butterflies we hope to see again soon. Possibility looms + we wait with humble expectation. It feels good to hope.
on a journey toward zero-waste, simplicity, + compassion :: daring to choose fair one choice at a time