The dust binds - The Existential Clarity in Minimalism

IMG_1894 - skovsti

🇩🇰 Originally published in Danish 🇬🇧

If we throw out all the superficial junk, it affects our existence. It´s not exactly surprising. We have heard it all before, even experienced it. It makes a difference to move house; to replace a tatty sofa with a new one feels right. Sometimes, you need to do is move the furniture around a little to feel a difference.

Change is happening at our place this month. We are throwing out a load of stuff, realizing what we actually need, and moving towards a feeling of freedom. We are enjoying the process, it makes sense, and it’s definitely interesting. Think about it; so much fills us inside, all the worldly goods.

As soon as it is out of the house, you don´t miss it for a second. Don´t even think about it. The only discovery is increased clarity, increased freedom, and increased focus. It’s sure interesting, and we’re not even 10% into it the journey.

It´s like waking up, a clearing mist.

The connection between the inner and outer.

It´s something I know so well. There’s an enormous connection between the things we surround ourselves with and how we feel, what we think, what can happen, and what does happen inside of us. I understand the most important thing for our personality is basically our relationships and our history in relationships, as well as our library of stories: both our own narratives, literacy, religious (especially), historical, and political stories we know and have hidden on our inner shelves. This is our universe, the limit for our journey of thoughts.

The center of who we are, what we can and dare to do, and how our life can unfold is, without a doubt, a connection to other people and our God. These relationships are absolutely crucial, and changes in these relationships are some of the most gripping in our lives. It´s here we should start if life begins to feel crooked.

My life doesn´t feel crooked. But there is always another road to take. I am currently experiencing the effect of changing the goods I am surrounded by. Even though I already knew it, it has enormous meaning for my self-esteem, my being, and my experience of time, presence, and priorities is overwhelming.

The effect our material surroundings has on our being

In the same way, we can draw a net of relations—our relationships with other people and even our relationship their relationships with each other. We can imagine a spiderweb of connections between ourselves and everything we own. Every single fork in the drawer, every piece of saved baby clothes, every book, souvenir, every plastic tub, notebook, jewelry, and Lego brick; we have a connection to them all, and this influences our being. On an unconscious level, we know very well what we have forgotten in the basement, and on the same unconscious level, we are affected by our physical surroundings: the push us around a little.

Actant model, feng shui & Karen Kingston

This jargon is, among other things, written as an actant model (which I don’t really think is comprehensive, I want to underline that it exists). Throwing out excess junk is praised in thousands of alternative literature publications (my favorite is Karen Kingston’s: Clean up your Mess. The modern version is The Minimalists, which can be found through the TED talks in the bottom of this post). We haven’t even begun to talk about feng shui yet. We did not even need to. We can be Western and follow our inner feelings. I often write about this, and that can in itself be a clear picture or sign of how much it really means. Personally, I have really missed documenting how you can make this journey as a family in cooperation with others.

The donation is organic and detoxing.

To pass on everything that no longer belongs in our lives is a loving and organic thought. There’s no reason for resources to stand at our place unused if they can create joy and meaningfulness with others. Everything we donate goes either to our local second-hand shop, recycling, or to family members (if it has sentimental value for them). We don’t really sell much of it. We feel it´s a healthy and good thing to give most of it to Ålholm church´s second-hand department. The money goes to the church’s social work in the parish. Thanks for that. A huge weight is lifted in passing it all on, both in the inner and outer life.

Organizing the trap

I would like to underline I am not an advocate for systematic order in a Pinterest way, where everything has smart solutions and is organized with small life hacks. There is a trend for a specific form of order, where t-shirts should be kept folded systematically and lie face up in the drawer so you can see everything and products in the bathroom are organized in color and size. It´s about being a custodian of the things you own to be stylish in your home; it is, in the end, obsessive (and a waste of time).

Mess is good.

I actually think that mess is a form of simple living. To be able to let things lie because something else is more important than cleaning right now. This is for sure, the easy life and the hack. If you don’t own so much, only the things which really bring joy and add meaning to your life; if the mess is not chaotic, draining, dirty, or problematic, then this mess can instead be an expression of a life lived well: full of the joy of happening things. Then you can clean up while singing one afternoon when there is enough time.

No, the fact is humility and the immediate clarification of what is needed now and in the future creates space in life for living, where the heart can beat, the eye can see, where reality can move forward, thoughts can be thought, and we can feel whole and present.

Tie loops – my Grandmother´s mantra on the subject.

My objective Grandmother, who was in truth, an extraordinary person with clarity and a lot of wisdom, always said:

“Tie loops, Cecilie! Finish all of your projects: the practical, the social, the emotional, the project-like, the creative. Finish on the inside and out and tie loops, mentally speaking as if it was a gift you had wrapped. It makes your life easy, your time clear, makes you focused and free.”

She was right. She often was, more than I, at that point, ever understood.

With love


Cecilie Conrad

Recommended videos on the subject of minimalism

A rich life with less stuff | The Minimalists | TEDxWhitefish

The Art of Letting Go | The Minimalists | TEDxFargo

🇩🇰 Originally published in Danish 🇬🇧

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