Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Lent gifting day 14
At the end of the year last year I watched Minimalism: a Documentary about the Important Things on Netflix. I learned a lot from this documentary. I thought Minimalism was all about stark bare walls and only owning a few things, or even just being about buying stuff that looked a certain way (Minimalism as in furniture or interior design). From the movie I learned that Minimalism is not just about having "less stuff" but is also about living an Intentional life. The documentary asks what can you contribute to society? Being a kindness ambassador these ideas of intentionality and contributing, more than "having less stuff", struck a cord with me.
Living intentionally, and in my case doing kind deeds (contributing), resonated because I have been unintentionally doing kind deeds for ages. I've been doing kind deeds for my friends, family members and even the wider community but it has become so second nature to me that I've lost a lot of awareness of what I am actually doing. I have been hosting this Blog since 2011 which is One kindness a day for over 5 years. I do my kindnesses now without thinking. I feel like I've lost the intentionality of those kindnesses. Am I just going through the motions? In the beginning it was a struggle to figure out what I could do to be kind to someone else, the environment and even myself. I have created things like the Sustainable September Series to cover the environmental issues and I post kindnesses we can all do and inspiring videos and articles to Facebook regularly. But apart from that... I've kind of lost my mojo!
It's partly because of the documentary and wanting to be more intentional that I've gone back to writing my kindnesses in a book. Recording each kindness to learn what works and what doesn't. Just because I've watched the Minimalism documentary doesn't mean I am going to become a minimalist, but I love the idea of intentionality (particularly combined with contribution)! When I was younger I was told to "try out every piece of advice (or piece of information) and see if it fits, like you would try on a shoe. If it fits with your beliefs and values then keep it, if not then discard it". This is how I decide how to live, learn and share. So if something here resonates with you, keep it... if not discard it.
For me there were a lot of "shoes that fit" in the documentary. Particularly when it comes to consuming and using my purchasing power for good. If you saw my post on Sunday I noticed I "accidentally" bought a dress. So intentionality is becoming more and more important to me. I really want to change the way I relate to money and spend money. I want to be conscious of where I am spending my money and the companies and businesses I support. Simply put, I want to use my money to vote for the kind of future I want. A kind, environmentally friendly place where humans can come together and celebrate their differences and acknowledge their similarities and support each other through this sometimes hard thing called life.
Side note: if I had decided to spend money on "stuff" this month, buying a dress from an opshop fits with my values and would have been okay to me if i had done it intentionally. If i'd purchased the dress in spite of my decision, consciously, I would have been okay with it. It was completely unconscious and unconsidered and that is what interested me. I have turned spending into an unconscious action when I want my spending to be deliberate.
I've been listening to some interesting podacasts recently. I didn't really know much about podcasts last month when I discovered the app on my phone. I saw a recommendation for some on Pinterest that got me started. I have recently fallen in love with the podcasts: Optimal Living Daily; 10% Happier with Dan Harris; The Mindful Kind; Writer on the Road; TED Talks Audio; The Slow Home Podcast by Brooke McAlary; and my favourite at the moment is The Minimalists Podcast (by Josh and Ryan). I've been listening to The Minimalists back catalogue and they often speak of making a conscious choice to buy things and using our purchasing power to choose things to buy because we need them not because it is what is cool, hip, the "it thing" or cheap. I am aware that I buy things just because they are cheap not because I actually need them. Then I have this useless thing that I have to find a home for and I get overwhelmed with the stuff. I don't want to be overwhelmed. Life is hard enough without being overwhelmed too.
Today's kindness Lent Gifting items I bought many years ago because they were cheap. I had no idea of where they would go or go whom. As a result they have NEVER been used and have sat in my "gift box" (the box of stuff I have to give to people when a celebration comes around).
For years I have been hoping that the correct celebration would come around that I could give these trinkets to someone but nothing ever has.
When I bought them (almost a decade ago) I had a very close Young Adult Church Group. Most of us have since moved on to different opportunities in different places, cities and countries. Sadly we don't often see each other. Most of us are still friends. Because of this distance, I am less and less likely to give this kind of gift to someone. Particularly that now I have a more diverse collection of friendships from all walks of life with a range of beliefs, many that differ from my own greatly. Our values are the same though and so we are friends.
I am even re-evaluating my need for a "gift box". If I don't have to keep a huge pile of "Just In Case" items that's got to be good. I can keep the presents at the store until I need them. No more keeping things I may never use or give to anyone else. Now they can go to someone who will appreciate them. They can escape my "gift box".
I like that if I actually want to buy something for someone then it doesn't have to be cheap "stuff". I want the right thing for a person rather than giving them something they may not like or need. It also leaves me more money and time to give a person an experience rather than "a thing". I'm learning that experiences are far more valuable to me than any "thing" could be. The memories of those experiences are wonderful and take up lots less space.
It's funny how giving away one item a day for Lent has me so introspective. For my Christian friends though, they know that that is what Lent is all about. For anyone playing along at home... how is your Lent adventure going? Have you got rid of anything that has made you reevaluate what is important to you?
If you are just reading this for fun! Hi and welcome! I'm so grateful for you stopping here to read about my life and journey with living a kinder more intentional life. I don't expect you to live the life I live nor do I want you to do something that is against your values or beliefs. I want everyone to live lives they love and live them kindly. No matter what that looks like for you
I hope that my open conversations about my life and about how I have been living a kinder life might inspire someone to do more kind deeds for the people around them.
Have a wonderful day.