Minimalism and the Soul of a Human
Today I want to talk about minimalism so let's begin with this poem by Michele Linfante.
by Michele Linfante
That to have the eyes of an artist,
That can be enough,
The ear of a poet,
That can be enough.
The soul of a human
in the direction of the divine,
that can be more than enough.
I tell you this to remind myself.
Every gesture is an act of creation.
Even empty spaces and silence
can be the wings and voices of angels.
We had our usual stay-in New Year's Eve, sipping a bit of bubbly and turning in early. I'd spent a few days over the holidays doing my other usual - which is cleaning out closets and purging those things that sneak into one's home over the year. I'm not finished, but I've started, so there's that. Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things was on Netflix. I've read the blog by the two guys the film is about off and on over the years and have thought about the virtues of minimalism for some time, so the movie wasn't a revelation, but it was still enjoyable and timely. I liked how they said that what they're offering is a recipe with various ingredients, and you might find you like some of those ingredients. You don't have to give everything away and live with just 33 things. But it's good to be intentional with those items you do keep. And it's always good to ask, what meaning an object has, or article of clothing. Do you really need it? Or love it? Does the print you bought from Ikea give you joy? Do you actually wear all those shoes piled up in your closet?
You'd have to be a hermit if you haven't heard of Marie Kondo's book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I've looked through the book several times as it passes through the library where I work....but it's sort of one or two or three levels too intense for me, even though I admire a lot of it.
But here is a quotation from the book that I think is a good one:
So, I'm unlikely to give up the overflowing bookshelves in our house (though I did go through and weed, which felt good). And yes, owning books is how I want to live my life. The one weird thing I noticed in the movie is the lack of art (perhaps just not shown) in the houses that appeared. I realize that I'm fortunate to live with an artist and to always have some pretty great art on the walls. But I can tell you there's nothing more meaningful than to grow with a painting and see it deepen over the years.
In an article in the NY Times Magazine about Marie Kondo and her method, the author, regarding lost items from her childhood, says, "Some would bring joy and some would not, but I’m not someone who thinks that joy is the only valid emotion."
What happens though, when we make space? When we empty out a little? What do our gestures mean? And how to make room for the voices and wings of angels?