I heard this phrase ‘soul minimalism’ a few days ago and it totally captured me. I’ve read and heard lots about leading a minimalist life but that always related to physical things we have. Minimalism, for me, is about the basic needs or pleasures, not having excess but enjoying the simplicity of less. In terms of physical things it’s decluttering surfaces, only having items we really need or enjoy and keeping spaces open.
But, this phrase ‘soul minimalism’ made me pause. If physical minimalism is doing things simply with open spaces, what does it look like to lead a ‘soul minimalist’ life? In a minimalist way of not overcomplicating things, I think soul minimalism may just mean: silence. Stopping. Pausing. Giving moments to breathe. Allowing our souls to rest just for a moment. Blocking out the never ending to-do list, worried thoughts of tomorrow or things we should have done, but haven’t. Just stopping in silence.
When we stop in silence we’re not waiting for something to happen. Instead, we’re becoming more aware of our emotions and appreciating what is happening in the now. We are being grounded in the moment.
Silence is really countercultural. We are constantly bombarded with a background hum of life -be it cars, aeroplanes, music or people. And it doesn’t stop there, our ‘brain noise’ is bigger than ever; our thought streams, our social media scrolls or our online browsing all creates noise in our brain. Taking ourselves out of both of those situations is countercultural. But, I’m starting to believe it’s crucial that we do.
Silence doesn’t come naturally – it’s not our norm. It’s actually really hard to stay still not doing anything (without making another to-do list!) And also not letting it be another ‘thing’ we have to find the time to do.
But, sometimes the things we really need to do are hard. I want to get good at being silent. And, if you do too I’m going to start by finding the already naturally occurring silent moments in my life. Things like my walk to the train station or to get lunch, the short moments I have after my husband has left the house or the brief trip to put the rubbish out. These are moments I currently fill with a podcast or some music but instead I am going to intentionally use them to be silent. I may try extending this time a little and then slowly build up to specific allocated time just spent in silence.
It seems so simple but being silent gives our souls the space and permission to rest and just ‘be’ in the present moment. And by fostering this ‘soul minimalist life’ we will open up new perspectives, unlock our emotions and fuel our creativity once again.