This is NOT minimalism. This is magazine styled, copy selling, high fashion photography. In reality, your clothes are more colorful and not perfectly pressed. You don't have a Chanel bag sitting in your closet. You have more than two pairs of shoes and they are worn. If this is the minimalism that enticed you to find the movement, that's not a bad thing. However, be realistic in your journey. Owning less is not about being perfect or beautiful (by pop culture standards). If you aspire to this black and white, picture perfect style, you will never feel good enough. Release what does not serve you and respect what does. That is minimalism.
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
The Harry Potter series by J K Rowling
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
The Phantom Toll Booth by Norton Juster
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Most of us feel sad or annoyed or lacking in some way at one time or another. Our society continually shows us that we are too fat, don’t drive the right car, aren’t eating the right foods, don’t have the right house, job or wardrobe. There are also other forces that contribute to this. A loved one may be sick or loss of a job or family problems. We also have our own inner voice that tells us we need something more to be happy. The truth is, we are in complete control of our lives. We choose to pay attention to things that either make us happy or not. There are several ways to get out of this pattern.
Attachment: Buddha tells us attachment is the root of suffering. If we do not feel attached, then the loss of these things cannot make us unhappy. While this is true, it is difficult to practice. Perhaps learning to let go of things beyond our control is one way to be happier.
Gratitude: Take stock in what we do have. Look at how 80% of the world really lives. Having a roof over your head, non contaminated food, clean water, adequate clothing and just the basic necessities of life are a not available to so many. Count your blessings. Write a list of all the good things in your life. Really, sit down and get out a paper and pen and make this list. It can be humbling to look at what we really do have.
Take action: How many times have you heard yourself say “I can’t.” Remove this phrase from you vocabulary and start using positive words. This has more of a psychological effect that you may realize. Get out another piece of paper and start this project. Write down the goal you have set. Perhaps it is to get a better job or finish school or buy a house or just paint the garage. Write down the ultimate goal at the top of the page. Now, make a list of all the steps required to accomplish this goal. Using paint the garage as an example, your list might look like this: Paint the Garage – 1. Choose a color 2. buy paint. 3. buy brushes and rollers. 4. empty all the contents…..and so on. Now start each day by accomplishing one item on the list. If you run into a snag you can create a new list to accomplish the task. For instance, you may not have the money to buy the materials, but by skipping to number 4 you realize how much junk you have so hold a garage sale and get rid of some things you don’t need and use the money to buy the materials!
Whatever your roadblock is, just keep working toward your goal. Make sure to do something toward the goal every day, no matter how small. If one step is too much, break that down into smaller steps. Just keep moving forward.
Be confident: Fear will hold you back so surround yourself with positive people and those that support you and your dreams. It can make all the difference. But remember, in the end, you must do it for yourself.
We would love to hear some feedback. Let us know how you are able to overcome the hurdles in life.
There is a heated debate about food additives, genetically modified organisms (GMO) crops, high fructose corn syrup and other modifications to our foods. A generation ago, almost no one was gluten intolerant yet now we see all kinds of health issues related to wheat, nuts and other foods. Have you noticed and increase in many illnesses related to sugar substitutes like aspartame and other chemicals? How about the increase in diabetes, colon cancer and dental problems.
There is a big disconnect between our food sources and the grocery store shelves. Meat comes from factory farms and feed lots where the animals are locked in small pens or cages and given all kinds of growth hormones and antibiotics to speed up production and combat diseases that occur in close quarters. Factory farms are finding ways to speed up growth, picking and packing while creating produce that is actually devoid of the nutrients our bodies need. We, therefore put on weight because we eat calorie dense foods rather than lower calorie, nutrient dense foods.
Here in Southern California we have an abundance of locally grown, healthy produce. Whether it says organic or not, many of our farm stands don’t use chemicals or modified seeds in their fields and gardens. It is possible to eat a healthy, local and beneficial diet on a reasonable budget. While a plant based diet has been shown to provide the best health benefits, it is also possible to find locally raised, hormone free meat and poultry. Plant based diets are becoming more desirable for increasing health and energy and are a great way to lose unwanted weight. Avoiding processed food is a giant step towards maintaining good health. Processed foods like crackers, chips, and even foods that are labeled as healthy are still full of chemicals and lack the real nutrition our bodies need.
Shopping only in the produce and grain aisle will help provide an easy way to start a healthy diet and keep within a reasonable food budget. Start by researching on the internet for great recipes that use only plant based ingredients. There are many great recipe books for vegan recipes as well. If you are not interested in a plant based diet, at least use minimally processed organic meats and products. Then, start shopping for produce, dried beans and whole grains. If it comes in a box, you probably shouldn’t be eating it. Dried beans, lentils, brown rice, quinoa and millet are easy to make, very filling, very cheap to buy and will store for a long time. Don’t try to replace regular foods with fake versions, they still contain processes and chemicals we don’t need and tend to be expensive. (i.e. veggie butter or cheese or fake meats)
There are wonderful sites on the internet to help keep your incentive up. “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” is a great documentary as well as “Forks over Knives” and “PCRM” (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) contain science based information on eating a healthy diet.