Everything we encounter in our lives is an invitation to gain a fresh perspective. This is how we grow as people, develop intellectual viewpoints and cultivate a sense of culture. The minimalist movement originated in the visual arts scene of 1960's America and has since grown into a fashionable lifestyle choice for those who live by the code; less is more.
Minimalism tends to be associated with material belongings and conjures up images of sparse, Scandinavian inspired spaces that probably still cost a small fortune, even though they consist of mostly nothing. This is pure hipster porn and of course the movement is spearheaded by a certain demographic; think young, affluent and influential on social media. However, minimalism as a concept holds powerful potential for anyone wishing to gain a fresh perspective in their lives.
This is where the visual impact of minimalism can be appreciated and is a good place to start if you are striving to adopt a more minimalist approach. Clearing out clutter from your living spaces will also serve to kick start minimalist initiatives in other areas of your life.
Try moving objects from where they normally live and ask yourself, what purpose does this serve? Often, we get used to a space looking a certain way, even though the objects serve no actual purpose and are essentially a dead entity. Try to create as many clean and clear spaces as you can throughout your home.
Keep your mind clear when assessing your stuff and focus on how things make you feel instead. We often have an emotional attachment to material possessions which we respond to on a subconscious level. For example, a healthy cookbook our mum gave us, which we keep on the shelf because it was a gift, but have never actually used in the two years it's been there and truthfully the sight of it fills us with a slight sense of guilt. Make things that no longer serve you available for someone else to appreciate.
The idea of cleansing our homes and shedding clutter which no longer serves us is a visual representation of how we should treat our minds. Just as material possessions build up, collect dust and create negative energy; our minds too harbour toxic thoughts and belief systems that we've internalised over the years.
A minimalist approach encourages us to let go of our past, stop fixating on the future and bring our awareness to now. There is a beautiful simplicity in adhering to this, although it is by no means easy. Our thoughts are a big, tangled, sticky ball that can only exist within our imaginations; so it will fight to remain in the only place it can survive, feeding off your fears. That is, until it is physically ousted by the presence of awareness, which is its kryptonite. This takes practice; a mindfulness practice that becomes a daily habit.