A question I’ve been asking myself since deciding recently to proactively evoke change in my life is this:
What five things are the most important things in my life?
I’d been suspecting that part of why life seemed more complicated these past few years (ever since deciding to return to college and obtain a degree late in life, to be honest) was due in large part because I had lost my vision and purpose as I allowed myself to be distracted from the important things in life. In a more “carefree time”, I was actually in debt up to my eyeballs, feeling like I was largely wasting my life away performing menial jobs with little or no higher thought required. But, when you have nothing to lose you feel free to take risks — what did it matter if I added another couple of hundred dollars to my credit card? I already owed a debt in the teen thousand range, a few more hundred wouldn’t make any difference the way I saw it. I could stay out all night — it wasn’t like my jobs required any heavy lifting with my brain. Few responsibilities, hell bent on financial suicide (“can’t get blood from stones”)…. it sure seemed like bliss until the creditors call, when you wake up to that dead feeling you get inside when you finally realize your pissing your life away, and you ask if there isn’t something more than meeting up at the local Irish pub for more than a few pints. Continue reading
The Whys and Wherefores
So what exactly am I doing with all this? Why post anything at all about Minimalism and Taoism if the best I can offer to readers is that I’m not an expert in either subject, and may never be able to offer meaningful advice? What’s my angle? Continue reading
My household is more an example of a house that would belong to a hoarder (and not a very organized one at that). Our family is anything but minimalist. As I sit here typing, the dining table alone is covered with mail delivered some time over the past week (or longer), super hero thank-you cards scattered on on corner that my eldest daughter brought in this evening, a mostly-empty water bottle the same daughter contributed, a wide-tooth comb, several infant toys that one or both infant twins played with sometimes since yesterday, some sunflower seed butter from a package intended to help families in need but is foisted on us by a teacher who probably doesn’t want kids in actual need in her class to feel bad because our daughter wasn’t originally accepting them, a gift card for a local big box store, a remote control helicopter (also belonging to my eldest), some finger-food crunchy things for our daughters to try, a started and forgotten feel-good card my eldest had the best of intentions with, an infant blanket thrown over the back of one of the chairs, someone’s clean socks…. And this is a “good” day in terms of clutter1. Continue reading
I’ve been “researching” Taoism since about 1994, when I was going through a tumultuous pivot point in my life. I was trying to get into someone’s head at the time to smooth over a series of pointed arguments we’d had, knew this person had been told to read “The Tao of Pooh” (but never confirmed it had indeed been read) and picked it up to see if anything could be ferreted out about the situation third hand.
Like most people, I’d heard of any number of “Tao of…” book titles popular at the time and I’d written Taoism off largely as New Age mumbo jumbo meant to benefit the pocketbooks of the authors more than the lives of their readers, so I approached Benjamin Hoff’s book with a healthy dose of skepticism.
Much to my surprise, in spite of being fairly light-weight and easy to consume, I actually dug what I was reading. I probably read the borrowed book three or four times before returning it to its owner and when it didn’t help me to understand the situation I was going through any better… promptly forgot about it.