For a few years now I’ve considered myself a ‘minimalist’ because of the way I’ve paired back and simplified the number of things I own. Moving from a house in Australia to a small apartment in Switzerland was the first of many moments of realisation.
The realisation that I didn’t need all of the stuff I’d accumulated to be happy. That I didn’t need to update my throw cushions every season to feel enlivened. And finally that I didn’t need a closet overflowing with outfits to feel good about what I was wearing.
In fact as we settled into our new life in Switzerland I slowly began to uncover a new truth for myself. Happiness does not come from constantly upgrading (my outfits, home, job), energy does not come from acquiring something new and feeling good in my own skin does not come from adding another outfit to my wardrobe.
This idea of joy I had been constantly chasing for years wasn’t in the places I’d been looking. But it was right in front of my eyes the whole time. Happiness was in feeling grateful for everything I already had, energy came from stopping to notice the life that was already buzzing around me and feeling good in my own skin came from sharing, collaborating and creating.
But the thing that has always felt a jarring to me, is that I was finding joy in the abundance around me. How could I be a minimalist but be focused on abundance. The two ideas seemed to clash. I love a bright, white and spacious kitchen but I love it even more with a big overflowing bunch of flowers on the bench. I love a curated, minimal wardrobe but I love it even more if it has pops of texture, pattern and colour. I love the vast white sands and turquoise seas of the beach but I’m drawn in to the frangipani tree dripping with flowers.
So why do I feel so connected to these two seemingly contrasting ideas? What I had failed to realise is that the beauty of minimalism doesn’t lie in the practicality of having less, but instead it gives us the space we need to create and see abundance more clearly. Abundance is not about over stimulating ourselves with an accumulation of things. It’s about surrounding ourselves with a rich palette of textures, shapes and colours that bring us joy simply from observing them. Minimalism gives us a blank canvas to then mindfully create joyful spaces. I share more about the aesthetic of abundance in this Instagram post.
If my kitchen was overflowing with stuff I wouldn’t notice the bunch of flowers, if my wardrobe was stuffed with clothes the textures, patterns and colours I love most would be lost and if the beach was cluttered with people, umbrellas and towels I wouldn’t see the frangipani tree. Minimalism allows us to focus in on the aesthetics that give us that little sparkle of joy when we look at them. Being minimal is not about creating stark, empty spaces, it’s about dusting away the clutter that weighs us down to reveal the abundance that lights us up.
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