Minimalism: 3 Summer Practices
Minimalism: 3 Summer Practices – minimalism is a philosophy that helps practitioners choose the best and simplest resources to achieve their goals and experience their life. Read on to learn about minimalism and 3 summer practices to help you get more from this season.
Minimalism and Seasonal Living
Why minimalism? What practices?
I think a lot of bloggers write for an audience to educate themselves. Blogging is a discipline of exploring our values and the thoughts around them, then taking on the regular practice of building a coherent voice and message around that theme. I value a lifestyle that is deeply motivated by natural rhythms. This decades-old personal practice continues to remove the static from my life and refine my experience of what it is to be an American woman in the 21st century of a certain age. I call this creating a seasonal life.
When I first began to turn away from the dominant, consumer society and toward nature to understand my life and humanity, the terms simplicity and simple living were popular. Books like Voluntary Simplicity by Duane Elgin and Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin were very popular. I hung out with and worked for the Quakers. I went the whole Birkenstock and granola route!
In the end, that was too insular and ‘religious’ for me.
Minimalism and Simplicity
Nowadays, there is a new term for the same lifestyle searching for meaning in a material world. It is minimalism. A term that has its roots in the artistic movements of the 20th century, minimalism seeks to strip away embellishments and complexities to allow the simple form to present its own form of complexity and meaning.
I prefer minimalism to simplicity. The simplicity I practiced in the 80s and 90s personally and in community had its roots in social justice, it was mostly an economic movement and had a certain impoverishment of experience inherent in its expression. Minimalism, on the other hand, with its roots in the arts, has an aesthetic at its core. A quest for beauty and meaning, perhaps meaning through beauty. It is about owning the things that you deem necessary to a meaningful and comfortable and intelligent life, but choosing them selectively based on the quality of craftsmanship and utility, and design. Making the same kind of decisions with your experiences as well.
There is no designed obsolescence in products created with the minimalist in mind.
Minimalism: 3 Summer Practices
So, with that brief introduction to minimalism, I want to approach the experience of summer with a minimalist mindset. I’m going to suggest 3 practices that will help you know summer directly, intimately, and affordably. Let me describe them below.
Minimalism Summer Practice: Find a Sit-Spot
A sit-spot is a contemplative practice that allows one to develop a deep an intimate relationship with a small space over an extended period of time. It is a simple practice, a minimalist practice, that only requires your time, your senses, and perhaps a way to record what you experience. A sit-spot is often in a natural environment. This can be in the wilderness, but can just as easily be in your yard or garden. It does require a solitary experience, so a sit-spot should not be in a heavily trafficked area. That would be weird.
My first sit spot was a patch of clover in my backyard in Baltimore. Every day, I would take 30-45 minutes and go sit at this spot of white clover and watch it grow, blossom, die back and then re-green once more. I drew it, wrote about it, smelled it, listened to the silence that surrounded it. I allowed the patch of clover to observe me as well. We came to have a pretty dynamic relationship.
This summer, commit 20 minutes of your day to getting intimate with a small patch of nature (or large patch if you are so lucky). Go every day, in all kinds of weather. Build an intimate relationship with your sit spot. Let it become a familiar and comforting friend. This sit spot may grow from a summer minimalist practice into a seasonal one. Who knows!?!
Minimalism Summer Practice: Travel to a Local Destination Repeatedly
Summer is for vacation, right? And, we can spend a fortune on vacations that run us so ragged we often need another vacation to recover. We can also spend ourselves broke on these whirlwind excursions that often take years to pay for. This summer, why not take a minimalist approach to travel and find one destination within an hour’s drive of your home and go there repeatedly?
Just like your sit-spot, you can develop an intimate relationship with a foreign space without spending yourself broke, all the while creating meaningful memories. If like me, you live in the Mid-Atlantic region, you are lucky. There are so many natural and historical destinations within one hour’s drive of any origin, making the choice of your local destination may be the hardest part of the experience. Over the years, I have taken this practice to ocean and mountain, city and small town. Every time I had a free day or afternoon, I would jump in the car and visit ‘My Destination’ with a new experience in mind. My favorites have been Chincoteague, VA (admittedly a longer drive than an hour, but very affordable), Gettysburg, PA (so much more than a Civil War attraction), and where I am now, Harpers Ferry, WV.
Read about your destination, write about it, collect stones from its streams and beer coasters from its pubs. Talk to strangers and spend time alone there. If you set a budget for each trip, you are sure to strip down the experience even more. That’s minimalism.
Minimalism Summer Practice: The Staycation
Many of us have put a great deal of effort and expense into our homes. Yet, with work and social obligations, we never quite take the time to actually enjoy our home and become rooted in it. This summer, why not plan a staycation, stay at home and enjoy your creation.
Now, you could turn this into work and decide to clean closets or build a deck. What I am suggesting, though, is truly enjoying the space you call home. Do only things that will help you relax into your space. For me, this would mean being in my kitchen with good ingredients, making meals and preserving foods for future meals. It will also mean reclaiming my gardens, doing what’s required to move them closer to my vision for them.
What would help you rest more fully in your home? Do that thing.
Minimalism and Your Summer Season
This summer, while creating your seasonal life, why not be curious about all the ways you could simplify and find it’s minimalist expression? These minimalist exercises and many others will help you get down to the work of self-discovery, self-expression, and pure experience. Then, you can take that out into the world, with all its tumults and aggressions, knowing what you value and being less fearful, more relaxed in the face of it all.
Of course, if you do any one of these things, please leave a reply below!
Be sure to visit the Seasonal LivingResource Library and download what you need to create your seasonal life!
That’s it for now…