My Journey with Minimalism – The Mindset Change

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Photo by Kirill Zakharov on Unsplash
I’ve always been cheap and haven’t been too materialistic…  or so I thought until my journey with minimalism. 🙂
Back about 4 years ago, I started to really get into reading. (Shocking, I know! Nobody would ever think that about me, but it’s true. I could probably count on two hands the number of books I’d read before then.) Being a lifelong cheapass until then (ha!), the reading material I was drawn to were those about living a great life but not needing to spend a lot of money. I’ve always loved finance and accounting also. I read and read and read. A common theme I started to see was that which cores to minimalism. So, I started reading about minimalism! I got rid of a lot of things (and yes it’s still a journey – always will be) after reading about minimalism. Then, after the things went away…. I realized my mindset was still focused around materialism even though I wasn’t buying many things. This is where things became deep… real deep. Below I share some tips from my journey with minimalism. I hope to inspire you to think beyond ownership of things when comes to your minimalism journey… A mindset of materialism vs. minimalism is pretty huge I think in this journey also.
Tips for the Journey of a Minimalistic life you may not always hear (because some of them are brutally hard to hear but soo true.) –

Even if you are not purchasing physical items…. ask yourself then are you still spending your time fantasizing about physical possessions?

  • My example: I would spend literally hours on the internet looking at clothing sites awing the beautiful clothes there. While I didn’t think this was a materialistic mindset and life, it was. Even if you aren’t physically purchasing items, the mindset of materialism is still there if you’re daydreaming about material things to an excessive amount.
  • Lesson: Be intentional about when you truly NEED something and only do your browsing and looking then. Be focused and intentional about what you need and also what you want. This will help your time management and also help you with your focus and mindset. I didn’t need to spend a significant amount of my time looking at clothes online for fun. There were other ways to spend that time that are so much more meaningful.

Are the activities you do centered around materialism even though you aren’t purchasing things? 

  • My example: Before my journey with minimalism I would spend literally at least a half a day or more every week browsing through thrift stores (Or Big Lots! No joke!) for fun. And I always thought…. I’m not materialistic – I hardly buy anything; I just like to look! 🙂 Ohhhh was I wrong. Mindset, mindset, mindset…. how are you choosing to spend your time and where is your focus?
  • Lesson: You don’t have to buy or have things to be constantly thinking from a materialistic mindset. Where is your mind at and the joys in your life coming from?…. Are you still bubbling and getting excited over a Big Lots store? haha. 🙂 Not saying that’s wrong at all though! We all choose how we want to live our lives and spend our time and what we get excited over is nobody else’s business. (I cannot say what is right or wrong for everyone. That makes no sense to me.) BUT, if you’re wanting to focus your mindset and life around a journey of minimalism then this is one subset of mindset and activities in your life to look at possibly examining.

Are the goals you have in your future wrapped around materialism? 

  • Do you daydream about having a hugeeeeee house with a ton of things in it even though you say you’re not materialistic?… Even if its JUST A DREAM and you’d actually be perfectly happy with way less. How about what you think about what you have in your life materialistically now vs. in the future? Is that centered in your thinking more than it should be? My example: I would dream about a garage or a having a dishwasher and having a washer/dryer when I was living in my apartments that didn’t have these. Ok, so it’s something to look forward to for sure!
  • Lesson: There are certain things that enhance and make our lives better (some we think would, but honestly they don’t!). Those enhanced material possessions shouldn’t be something that kills the simplicity mindset of where you are NOW and what you find of beauty. It’s OK if you don’t have a dishwasher right now. It’s OK if you don’t have a washer or dryer in your apartment right now. Constantly thinking about wanting material possessions and daydreaming about a big huge life filled with things isn’t too minimalist centered. In all honesty, it destroys the simplicity of the life you live now. It’s ok to have some materialistic goals, but don’t allow that to destroy the simplicity and beauty in what you do have now. Don’t let it become something you constantly think about either. Let it be… write it down and say “Yes, that would be nice one day. However, until I get there this is perfectly fine and ok. Life is not a race.”

Focus and You Shall Succeed… Summer I Shall Return.

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Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash
I’ve been trying to do too much lately. It’s tough to start a blog, put it on social media and other public outlets, and think of myself as worthy enough to continue this hobby in the public light that I’ve been doing lately. I wanted this to be easy and simply me sharing my heart and creativity, but in all honesty, it hasn’t been that easy for me ever since I started my blog website and have been posting my articles to social media, etc.
Don’t get me wrong, I love writing and creating! What’s hard is starting my blog’s Facebook page and only having 14 people (Thank you so much to my 14 followers!!) like my page. 14 likes, and I have over 175 Facebook friends… I personally invited every one of my friends but 14 is what I get so far! I guess I shouldn’t feel bad about this, but I do. Asking my social media friends and family, who I like to think are some of my biggest fans in life, only to get 14 people after personally inviting seems like a smooth kick in the behind! It really does. Makes me wonder who is honestly caring? Or perhaps it’s because I have the word “beautiful” in my blog title and hence that keeps some people away because maybe it’s too flouncy and bouncy!?!? Boy, the mind can surely go everywhere, can’t it? 🙂
And that’s just it… my mind literally has gone everywhere. 🙂 It’s time to focus. Right now, I have a personal goal that I’m working on that is a mountain of a goal (I’m sorry, I cannot share what that goal is.). I need focus. I need clarity. And I need the discipline to reach this goal.
I’ve given a lot of thought, and what I would like to do for the time being while I work on my goal is to let my blog have a break. I already have as I haven’t posted since the new year, but I wanted to officially share my plans. I will be back with more articles this Summer. I may write on my own, non-publically during my hiatus, and then share these pieces with you in the Summer. We will see!
Thank you for all of your support again. Good luck to all of you in your goals as well. Focus and you shall succeed.
Sincerely,
Aleesa

Paint Your Mona Lisa Dream

(Photo by Eric TERRADE on Unsplash)
It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” – Leonardo da Vinci
 
Paint a vivid picture and implant yourself in your Dream. What does it look like? 
What’s your Mona Lisa Dream? 

 

One of the first steps to dreams is to go beyond simply saying you will do something or be something at the surface level. It needs to run deep and truly be something you can visualize yourself doing and being. You want to paint a picture in your mind that’s as detailed as you can possibly imagine. Make your dreams a reality in your mind. Envision yourself living your dream. Imagine everything about yourself and also note who and what you are around. What’s different than your current life and what’s the same? Dream this as well. You want the Mona Lisa painting of your dream! What will this dream of mine look like in the most detail I can ever imagine? Paint a vivid picture (your Mona Lisa Dream) and implant yourself in it. Now look around, imagine, and create in the most intricate detail you can.
Some people do this by writing, talking, creative outlets such as vision boards, or a combination of these three or countless others. The key is to do whatever you need to do in order to paint the picture of your dream in your mind. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Everyone is different and that’s what makes us unique and in turn our dreams unique.
Now, when you paint your dream… please do not implant in your dream people who are criticizing you in your dream including yourself! This limits the detail and beauty you can create the first thing and you may not even get past the dream stage. Remove these barriers. Paint your dream (your Mona Lisa Dream) in detail without negativity.
Many people always say that you can get ahead of yourself with thinking too much. I certainly do not think this is the case in the beginning. There’s a fine line later on, but in the beginning… think with all your might, paint the Mona Lisa version of your dream and implant yourself in it. It’s later on that thinking will get the best of you. Start by creating your Mona Lisa Dream in vivid detail.
 
Create Lasting Inspiration, Confidence, and Enthusiasm while Sparking Creativity
 
Painting your Mona Lisa dream does a wonder on creating lasting inspiration, confidence, and enthusiasm. If you don’t do this level of dreaming or cannot do so, you stand a chance of easily moving onto the next dream instead of making anything a reality, giving into poor criticism that just isn’t true or negativity by those around you or yourself, and you simply have nowhere to turn back to once you hit a wall or a hard spot with your dreams. This painting will also spark creativity. It does so by allowing your mind to not be bound by the present (where your life lives without making your dreams a reality) or by negativity. It allows you to think with a fresh sheet of paper for your mind. You’ve created this and it is truly beautiful. The sheet of paper was blank before you dreamed and now it’s so lush of reality and beauty. So much so that you are confident and passionate about your dream entirely more than ever before this.
You have it in you to create…Remember this, always.
Paint your Mona Lisa Dream.
Hold your Dream in the Corner of your Mind left Untouched and Put Away but Easily Accessible
 
Now that you have painted your dream (your Mona Lisa Dream) and implanted yourself in it, you need to hold that dream in the corner of your mind left untouched and put away but easily accessible! This is the point where if you continue to think and think and think about your dream, you will hurt yourself. You still must pull your picture out, but it has to have a time and a place. Pull your painted dream out of the corner of your mind when you need to. You should regularly pull it out, but not so much that it overwhelms your ability to take action and make progress. Every person and even dream might differ in how much they can go back to their painting and dream stage. The key here is that you want to be able to make your dream a reality by creating action yet you still want that painting to fall back to in order to remind yourself of your dream and to keep you mentally fresh and creative.
Act and Plan and Be Open to Change
 
“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” – Leonardo da Vinci
Now, you’re in the action phase. Start by making a plan, however, if you haven’t yet. Even if your plan is not all entirely fool-proof, you act. Then, perfect your plans, if needed. Be open to change. Take that picture you created (Your Mona Lisa Dream), and make it real, step by step.
Progress towards your dream.
 
There’s a reason the word act is before plan in the above. You must be open to change. Change involves taking action by tweaking your painting as you make your dreams become a reality. Please never lose sight of or throw away your original Mona Lisa. You pull it out when needed.
You enhance it, perfect it, and let its beauty shine through even more. Continue to work on your Mona Lisa Dream.
You can do it!
(Photo by Jared Erondu on Unsplash)

Embracing our Moments in Life

This week I had a work-related conference to attend to Baltimore, Maryland. Even though the conference was on Thursday and Friday this week, I came into Baltimore early on Wednesday and plan to leave late Sunday afternoon. I really want to take the time to enjoy the experience of being away from home and in a unique city.
Today I was reminded of just how much this embracing of the work-travel experience is different than some do. My colleagues all left Baltimore immediately after the conference. They had no particular reason to get home immediately. It seemed as if they merely only cared about the conference and that was it. In a rush to get back to their lives back home, it seemed.
Embracing the time we are given away from our natural surroundings can give us a different perspective on life. Embrace an experience beyond that required, and give yourself ample time to just enjoy the new experience. Feel the energy difference, people watch, enjoy good food, walk around the new city without a plan, and let life unfold, unbound by self-imposed time-constraints or expectations. I certainly feel that my colleagues are missing out, but I will not let this bother me. I share to show different perspectives on work-travel.
I met a 20-year old man on the light-rail into Baltimore this week. All this started by asking him if this was the right way to get into downtown Baltimore from the airport. A mere second of choosing to ask for help and kindly giving others a chance to interact with you can lead to a totally different outcome. We started talking from then on about Baltimore and simple information about ourselves. We found so much in common, and it was quite ironic. Somehow I wonder if we were meant to meet? Life is full of wonders, huh? Hmm…
He did clinical trial human subject participation as a living and made a huge amount of money doing so. Very unique and interesting work. It so happens that I administer grants and know about clinical trial work as well. We had such a great time talking. Our stop off the light-rail was at the same place too. We got off the light rail and decided to walk around Baltimore together. It was quite great! Normally, I might revert to my turtle, groundhog traits (haha!) and never, ever do something like this. However, again, I found that embracing the moment can lead to such different outcomes than had I stayed in my shell or put a time-constraint on my experience.
Have you embraced the moment like this before and the outcome came out totally different than expected? Life, I think, can be changed by our ability to allow these small moments to not be bound by time, expectations, and other limitations we set for ourselves.
I wonder… how would my time be here in Baltimore had I not taken 2 seconds to ask a stranger for help and what if I left immediately after the conference like my colleagues did?…
I stand positive that embracing the moment here led to an experience in my life that was much more interesting and will leave a memory for years to come. So, I think in life if we embrace the moment and not give ourselves such restricted time-constraints or expectations, we can alter the state of our experiences and life-memories for the better.
Inner Harbor – Baltimore, Maryland

Life’s Simple Pleasures

LIFE’S SIMPLE PLEASURES❤

Sometimes we can forget the simple things we like and are passionate about in life. This can even be as detailed as the smells, sights, and foods among many other simple and sometimes overlooked details in our life that evoke happiness and joy. Inspired by an exercise in a book I read (see details at the bottom of this post), I put together an evolving list of my life simple pleasures. I encourage you to do the same sometime. It doesn’t take too long, and it’s a nice refresher of your inner self-passions and often-times overlooked details that add value to your life. Hope you enjoy. ❤

My Life’s Simple Pleasures

  • Hearing the birds and other animals chirp in the morning with the smell of freshness and life. 🙂
  • Walking around barefoot even outdoors in the grass and dirt.
  • Sipping tea or coffee
  • Reading blogs and other short articles from news or other reputable sources
  • Reading about other people’s lives to get ideas
  • Pondering things. Especially life, human nature, morality, and personal growth.
  • Going to the salon to get my hair, nails, and other things done to make myself feel even more beautiful and trendy.
  • Travel
  • Driving in my car listening to music and singing with it just awfully but not caring at all. Lol
  • Being around old people. Especially older couples still completely in love and older couples & groups of elders having dinner conversations about life and current events. I want to do that when I’m old! I’m inspired!
  • Taking a walk in my community
  • Taking a walk in nature and usually observing the animals.
  • Going to museums and art galleries
  • Going to instrumental musical performances
  • Eating a really healthy, full of different veggies salad, raw veggies, and mixed fruit.
  • Having moments of reminiscing back to great memories of the past. This might involve traveling on occasion to my once favorite go-to restaurant or city where I used to live for a small moment of history but delight of what I love and have loved.
  • Spending time with my family doing very special things with them like going to a restaurant, eating, a concert, a play, a movie, or other events. I also enjoy simple things like talking with them and spending time with their loving pets.
  • Having time to just sit and have no obligations before me so that I can do whatever I want to do.
  • Keeping my apartment decluttered and clean.
  • Spending time with animals.
  • Buying new or used clothes, shoes, and accessories that show off my style.
  • Eating chocolate or other desserts and reallyyyyy enjoying them.
  • Reading books that I find interesting like the Simply Luxurious Life, Thirty Chic Days, The Leadership Contract, Minimalism Books, Zen and other Buddhism lifestyle books.
  • The smell of freshly cleaned clothes and blankets.
  • Being a part of a group that is working together to make something better. I like feeling apart of something and enjoy being around those that inspire and motivate me to be my best self and in turn, I can do the same for them also.
  • Going to a coffee or tea shop and just sitting and doing homework or reading or playing on the internet.
  • Listening to live music at coffee shops or sophisticated bars
  • Occasionally going to see a movie out while eating my kids sized popcorn combo. Lol
  • Laughing and finding humor in the little things.
  • Trying new things to see if I like them… getting out of my shell a little at times to do something different.
  • Talking to people about their hopes, dreams, and goals. I want to really know what motivates people and what their pleasures are. Who and what they care about and love. What they’re passionate about.
  • Running, playing tennis, playing softball.
  • Understanding what’s going on in the world and in my community. I like information.
  • Observing artists in action and/or seeing them with their pieces of art and/or craft so that I leave so happy and satisfied that these people are doing something special and following their passions in life.
  • Writing. Especially my goals in life.
  • Waking up warm and cozy and never wanting to get out of bed because it feels soooo good. Lol
The inspiration for this writing and brainstorm of my life simple pleasures came from the writing exercise found in Shannon Ables book, “Choosing The Simply Luxurious Life: A Modern Woman’s Guide”. You can read more about her and her blog here: www.thesimplyluxuriouslife.com
(Originally written on 08/26/2017)