Weird title, right? When I first started my down-sizing and decluttering, I went crazy. I got rid of everything. I even had just a plastic bag instead of my $300 MK bag. It was all so radical.
Extreme minimalism, I suppose? Upon reflection, I understand, that my decluttering obsession was just a coping mechanism that I used to try to “free” myself and feel “lighter” without all these things holding back. I was mad at myself for having wasted money on “stupid material” things, which never were enough. If I bought something, I was happy for a bit, but the happiness never lasted. I decided, that I didn’t need any material things, then! To hell with it all! I was never ever going to use material things to find happiness.
I didn’t let myself buy or bring anything new into my life. I also made myself develop non-consumerist hobbies.
So I kinda lived in this world of …nothing, I suppose? I would go to river bank and go biking, and I’d working on my youtube channel, and I’d work out. I worn the same clothes everyday, and only ate vegetables. Everything had to be “nature”-ey and simple and minimalistic.
Anything I wanted to buy, I crushed down those feelings of desire, because desire was bad. I was above it all with my minimalism. (Roll eyes) I thought, you couldn’t fool me twice!
So I kinda lived this in state of limbo. I bought nothing, ate little, did little, just a blur of the same days of, working out, cooking meal prep and watching youtube.
And I hated being in that limbo, that I refer to as the void. That void is scary. It’s the days when you stay at home on a Sunday and do nothing. People fill in that boredom with addictions. Drugs, exercise, work, food, sex. Whatever.
I couldn’t let myself have my “addictions”. No makeup, no sweet food, no clothes.
I lived in that void for 2 years. After 2 years, I thought, fuck this. And I returned to “desire”. It made me happy for a bit. And then it didn’t. As I already knew. The material world is temporary and it can only fill in the void for a while. That vanishing feelings sucked.
So I looked up, what could I do about it? There are three healthy ways to fill the void. Working out, being creative and working out. I already did 2 out of 3 but I felt wary of mediation. I didn’t want to go back to the void. Mediation just seemed like more of nothing.
However, Mediation is the really key point because it’s the only one that makes you comfortable in the void.
You are still, on purpose. It’s human nature, to want to move, to strive, to have goals, to chase dreams, to have hope. To be still on purpose takes ALOT of practice. Why do you think monks need to practise mediation for hours on end, for years? Because requires a TON of effort.
There’s only one time when we are naturally still. It’s during death. That’s what I realized the other day, why I hated being in the void, even though I constantly forced myself to live there, for the sake of my “minimalism” and “anti-consumerism.”
It’s uncomfortable to constantly confront the void, because it makes me aware of my own morality.
What is a good life, if not, the delicious food we can eat, the experiences we can have, the clothes we wear, the hobbies that keep us busy? Even work keeps us alive, because have you ever been unemployed and felt that unease, that idleness, the feeling of no hope?
That’s how my boyfriend described what he thought was the void. “No hope”. We can feel hope again when we resume the consumption of the material world. Experiencing life experiences, eating delicious food, enjoying material possessions. For the dead need not any of those things. It’s the privilege of the living.
What does this mean on a practical level for minimalists out there who might be experiencing this, after they strip away the excess or evening going into a deficient? For one, you can bring back the things that brought you joy. You could also embrace enjoying the void, for understanding your morality, allows you to truly cherish your life. I suppose the most important thing is to see the difference between using material things as a crutch to fill in the void, versus enjoying the material world and understanding that it’s pleasure is forever fleeting but that in that moment, it was wonderful.
So I hope this might help out some extreme minimalists or others experiencing similar things.
Let me know if you experienced anything similar.