by Tracey Rich 

Let me begin by saying, I have not arrived at being a minimalist.  Let me continue by saying, I believe minimalism is a way of consciousness and a high art form.  It may be the greatest secret to happiness and possibly the hidden treasure of true luxury most have yet to attain.  This rare way of living has my attention, hopefully to be followed by the largest garage sale yet to be seen.

Where our attention lies is where our energy goes.  Most of us go shopping or hopping on the latest acquisition.  Our bucket list of to haves grows longer rather than leaner.  Unconscious consumption is a conditioning we have grown accustomed to.  

The definition of minimalism is a style or technique that is characterized by extreme sparseness or simplicity.  While I am not typically a fan of extreme anything, I am a huge fan of simplicity. Sparseness, I have come to learn, leaves space.  Space to be explored and appreciated whether in a conversation, visual contemplation, or within the experience of a yoga pose.  Space can be empty or full.  It has a great deal to teach us.   A Zen garden captures our imagination in part because of the empty space which allows our mind to slow down and become peaceful or to become fertile with creativity.  Both ways of being are good for the mind.

As I observe minimalism in its myriad expressions, I see the aspects I am drawn to.  Living in a small, shared space that encompasses both work and sanctuary has helped me to understand what it takes to keep it clear and flowing. I understand the less is more principle even though I have yet to master it.  I see what choices I make, what I enjoy, and what time is left when I am busy taking care of things and working to keep order.  I see how I am using my energy and the time lost.  I am more aware of how I approach the art of balance sometimes sorely missing from all of our lives.  And, I find that I am more and more drawn towards simplicity, to the oft elusive high art and state of consciousness shared within the secret society of minimalists.