If ever there was a movement whose name was a misnomer, it is the movement for ‘minimal living’. Because, at its heart, the move away from a consumerist, high speed, and ‘stressed out’ life, to one based on those fundamentals of life that make for true happiness, is really maximal living. It is a move towards making the most of all those parts of our lives which truly enrich us, and the family and friends around us.
Of course, the ‘minimalism’ of the minimal living movement is used in recognition of the need to tread more lightly, on a world we have abused for so long. It means the pulling in of superfluous wants, back to just our primal needs, giving the planet room to breathe, and ourselves the space to flower.
The minimal living movement is as old as man himself, as minimalism was a necessity of existence when humans were part of the planet’s rich tapestry. But the return to such values has been heralded for as long as the industrial society brutally uprooted us from simpler ways of life.
Simple living has been held up as in ideal by figures as diverse as Epicurus, Francis of Assisi, and Gandhi- but in it’s more modern form has developed from concerns about the environment, and the extreme poverty and unhappiness that global capitalism has left in its wake. Today’s minimal living proponents are also looking to simplify their lives, and for a greater freedom in their day to day livelihoods.
The motives for those seeking to adopt a minimalist lifestyle might stem from worries about how our current society is creating misery in many parts of the world, or even risking our children’s very future, but the result of living minimally is to enrich your life.
Minimal living can involve a move to work from home, to grow your own vegetables, or to stop taking part in excessive consumerism. It might mean stopping to talk to your neighbors, to enjoy the pleasures of daylight draining away as the sun set, or to relish your children’s laughter, and recognize it as your own. In short, it is to be happy – and to make every simple moment count.