Spiritual Minimalist

Photo by  Aaron Burden  on  Unsplash

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

I love fall because of its invitation to let go of the things that are no longer serving us. It’s a time to take inventory of our lives and to ask ourselves “what is working in our lives and what isn't working?” then adjust accordingly. It’s an opportunity for us to connect to nature and embody its example of practices that can benefit us on a deep level. It's nature's approach to minimalism.

The idea of minimalism fascinates me. Minimalism is a growing movement that invites people to find freedom from overconsumption and their material “things”. I visited the website of some well-known pioneers in the movement The Minimalists and they describe the phenomenon as when we “…give too much meaning to our things, often forsaking our health, our relationships, our passions, our personal growth, and our desire to contribute beyond ourselves.” The movement undoubtedly offers an incredible opportunity to reclaim your life from consumerism that would benefit any modern person in our society. But to me, minimalism is much more complex than that. Minimalism can have a profound affect when applied to other areas of our lives, not just our consumer habits. We can apply it even to the things The Minimalists say we often sacrifice in their statement above. One thing I’ve noticed in my own practices personally as well as professionally is the affect minimalism has when applied to health and wellness.

When I first began venturing in to the world of exploring my inner self and healing myself naturally on a physical and emotional level, I tried it all and all at once. I spent literally shitloads of money on appointments with several different practitioners, supplements, books, oils, yoga, yoga supplies, yoga clothes, crystals, smudging tools, and more. At one time I was seeing 3-4 practitioners PER WEEK. I was confused and exhausted, I didn’t see a huge improvement on what I was working on, and my bank account had seen better days. That’s when I realized overconsumption can occur not just in regards to material “things”, or even food, drugs, and alcohol, but in any aspect of our complex lives; that spiritual overconsumption is real and that it is a form of escapism from what is really happening within us. I realized that even though I thought I was doing all of the right things and seeing all of the right people, I was ignoring the one thing that I had known all along that I needed: my intuition. I was putting all of my trust and searching for my answers in the external forces. The same void I was trying to heal with all of those spiritual “things” was actually just continuing to falsely be filled rather than getting to the root of why it was there in the first place. It was then I knew something needed to change.

I strongly believe that the body has an innate ability to heal itself and that if we take the space and time to go within ourselves and feel we can, over time, achieve true homeostasis, health, and wellness. At this point you might be asking “why is it so important to feel what is going on in our bodies?” Great question. Our bodies tell stories. The stories we’ve stored there are traumas, wounds, belief systems, and patterns that we’ve embodied throughout our lifetime based on our experience and environment. These stories have shaped who we are, how we show up in the world, even how are bodies exist and take up (or don’t take up) space. In order to make real lasting change in our lives, feeling in to the sensations, emotions, pain, or other chronic issues we’ve experienced will allow us to become aware of it. Once we become fully aware of it and discover the root, we can work toward shedding all of the things that limit who we are and our ability to trust ourselves, giving us the freedom to be our truest selves.

That’s not to say that we don’t need the help of a trusted practitioner or two throughout our process. In fact I recommend it. Many of our past hurts and patterning were birthed out of our closest relationships. Therefore working closely, sharing with and connecting to a trusted and skillfull practitioner is so important in retraining our brains and shedding those traumas from our bodies to then be able to show up for ourselves and the world as our truest and freest self. They can often offer insight in to our process and compassion for us as human beings. It is a relationship and collaboration that can be truly transformative and support us for however we show up and wherever we are in our life and process.

Just like The Minimalists talk about finding freedom from consumerism by practicing materialistic minimalism, I am embracing and advocating for something I am now calling spiritual minimalism. Remember, you don't need to work with 29 different practitioners, buy all the essential oils, take all the supplements, do all the yoga, meditate 24 hours a day, or use all the crystals. Those things aren’t enlightenment and won't miraculously heal your wounds and traumas. All of the things I listed above are great for supporting you in your journey, I use or have used them all myself. But the most important asset to your healing is yourself.

THE MOST IMPORTANT ASSET TO YOUR HEALING IS YOURSELF.

Forget all of the other 'stuff' when you're feeling overwhelmed. Just feel your body. Allow yourself to emote. Stop believing what we've been told all our lives that we're not good enough, that we can't trust ourselves or our intuition. Take your power back. You know what's best for you better than anyone. You just have to feel.