Reblog: Let Go of Guilt and Find Contentment

The following post is not my writing, but I absolutely LOVE the content and wanted to share these thoughts with my own readers. Some of you may have seen this on my Facebook page, but for those who I am not connected to (or who are not on Facebook), I hope you enjoy this article by Rachel (originally posted September 26, 2014). Hop on over to her webpage NourishingMinimalism.com to read more of her content.

Let go of guilt and find contentment

What do you think of, when you think of “minimalism”?

Do you think of stark white walls, no pictures and very little furniture?

Well, you may be right to an extent. But minimalism is much more than a design style or appearance of one’s home.

Minimalism is as much about pitching unnecessary possessions out of your home as it is about pitching unnecessary hurts, obligations and expectations out of your heart. It’s an all encompassing philosophy that works it’s magic in every fiber of life, for those who embrace it.

Minimalism is letting go of overcommitted schedules and being able to enjoy life, not just surviving it.

It means saying “no” to working overtime, “no” to a multitude of obligations, that you would be really good at, but obligations that would rob you of what really matters. It means putting the phone down, walking away from the computer and being present in the moment.

Minimalism is letting go of the guilt and anxiety that these things kept in our lives.

When we reduce the amount of possessions that we have, we reduce the amount of guilt that is attached to them. Be it books you were requiring yourself to read, kitchen gadgets that are supposed to make fancy dishes a breeze or craft projects that have been sitting only partially completed for months or years. It means that when you get clothes from your closet, you know they will fit and you’ll feel attractive in them.

When we have less stuff to care for, it means housecleaning goes faster and success is achievable, not a far-off dream. It means less dishes to wash, less clothes to fold, less toys to pick up off the floor.

It means your home isn’t full of guilt-ridden items (we should keep this because Grandma owned it/gave it/told us to), but rather items the have purpose and give you joy.

Minimalism is relief. Relief to your senses, relief to your mental and emotional health.

When we have removed everything that we hide behind, we come face to face with ourselves. Just us. No more hiding, no more pretending to be something we’re not. Remove the mask of stuff and learn who you really are.

It means letting go of the items that we collected so people would view us in a certain light. Understanding that no amount of fancy dinnerware or party decor is going to magically turn us into Martha Stewart prodigy.

It means being real, accepting who we are [and] what our talents are, and [letting] go of the excess.

Rachel, the original author, says her goal in writing her blog is to help people clear the clutter, invite calmness into their homes, and enjoy the time they spend together. She also has a Facebook page; if you’d like to check it out and keep up with her posts, click here. I hope you enjoyed her words as much as I did.

Day 16: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Today, Bonnie Gray used her blog post to write about the first step to soul intimacy (something deep that happens when we take time to feed our souls), and to share a story from one of the readers of her book Finding Spiritual Whitespace.

Reading Finding Spiritual Whitespace inspired stay-at-home mom Janine Crum to make time for art and open an online shop of original prints.

If you follow the link to Bonnie’s post above, you’ll find a free Whitespace Printable art piece (Find Rest for Your Soul) created by Janine that you can download. And you can read her beautiful story about what it meant for her to make room for spiritual whitespace in her life. It’s so amazing to hear about the different ways that Bonnie’s words have touched others and reawakened their heart’s desire.

Although I have been done with the book for a while now, I still open it up now and then to read some of the passages I highlighted. This is one I like that Janine also included in her post:

When we make room for spiritual whitespace, we step into the beautiful journey of letting go to discover what’s really worth holding onto.

Noah's Big Fish

One of the fish my stepson, Noah, caught while out with his Dad this summer.

These words remind me about the importance of letting go of stuff and holding onto people, relationships, nature, and activities that bring us joy.

Recently, I started following blogger Rachel Jones from Nourishing Minimalism. She says:

“I don’t believe minimalism is particularly about a small amount of belongings, I believe it’s about being content. That one can come to a place in their life where they don’t need ‘more’ and we can spend our time impacting the lives of those around us, rather than caring for ‘things.’ People are the true things that matter.”

I really relate to a lot of her ideas for simplifying. In fact, I created this simple graphic from information she shared in one of her newsletters.

Simplifying

Rachel describes the lifestyle many of us seem to live with these words:

Feel like you’re running in a million different directions?

Most of the time, I think Americans run their life from 3 feet above their head. We don’t take time to sit and be here. In the moment, in this room, on this chair. It’s a rather disjointed life.

Rachel is describing the life of someone who has not figured out the importance of spiritual whitespace or the need for rest, whether physical or mental. On a related note, too much stuff really does cause stress. And more stuff does not lead to contentment as many seem to believe. You can read more from Rachel on simplifying here.

Tranquil Waters

Even Pope Francis (in an interview published in part in the Argentine weekly “Viva” July 27 ) listed leisure time, or rest, as one of his Top 10 tips for bringing greater joy to one’s life. Another had to do with connecting or building relationships.

“Be giving of yourself to others.” People need to be open and generous toward others, he said, because “if you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid.”

“A healthy sense of leisure.” The pleasures of art, literature and playing together with children have been lost, he said.

“Consumerism has brought us anxiety” and stress, causing people to lose a “healthy culture of leisure.” Their time is “swallowed up” so people can’t share it with anyone.

Spending time with those we love is so much more important than working harder to climb the ladder of success or to acquire more things. Holley Gerth says it best in yesterday’s post:

Jesus didn’t climb ladders … He built bridges.

Instead of reaching up for success He reached out in love.

We can do the same.

21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace