The Biggest Reason Minimalists Fail | 2♢

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On this 2♢ day I am going to talk a little bit about minimalism. The 2♢ represents us connecting with the material resources that we need. Connecting with things of value and bringing into question that connection is at the core of minimalism. I really love minimalism. In fact, I am kind of an “accidental” minimalist.
My own minimalist journey started when I first moved to Montreal in 2013 with only one suitcase! In fact, it was my intention to make an entire album of new songs in Montreal and I didn’t even bring a single piece of music making gear with me. I then moved out of my Montreal room into various bedrooms in Brooklyn NY, this time I had two suitcases worth of things, much of which got destroyed by bed bug infestations and thieves. My physical belongings were few.
I wanted to expand my material world after a certain point, but by then I was living in an 8 x 8 square foot room, with no closet. Everything that I owned had no where to go, if it didn’t fit into my 3 drawer shelf it had to be out in the open. What ended up happening is that I got really creative with my space. I slept on a thick cotton Japanese futon that I rolled up in the morning so that I could do yoga. I worked with a carpenter to cut my full size desk down to a miniature sized desk and a friend of mine handcrafted custom shelves to hold any new items I might buy. The thing was that I didn’t really end up buying much. However, everything I did buy was something that was profoundly beautiful, useful or special. Many of these objects ended up being a part of a 300+ drawing series I created called “Mystic Objects.”
While I did move out of NY with way more than two suitcases of stuff, I learned how to live with the absolute minimum. After that period I moved into an apartment in Minnesota with the entire contents of a storage unit that I had left behind. All of that stuff is in a storage shed again and now I am back to living out of two suitcases in Costa Rica.

 

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I feel that you really have to fall into 1 of 2 camps in order to be truly succeed in minimalism. You either need to be wealthy or have a strong tie to a community that supports you. You might also find yourself in a third camp of minimalists which would I would call an extreme minimalist- a person that is minimal not only with material things, but also with their hobbies, relationships and experiences, but I wouldn’t necessarily call these minimalists successful, which I will explain later.
In the age that we live in it takes a lot of “stuff” to maintain our world. We live in a culture of holidays, we’ve inhabited areas of the world that have “seasons,” we are obsessed with fast fashion and so our children don’t wear “hand-me-downs” and we wouldn’t dare wear an outdated sweater or last year’s popular eye shadow palette. There are so many expectations that society places on us though. We need to look beautiful according to right now’s standard of beauty, we need to be able to bake the perfect cake for our husband’s birthday, we have to have the perfect Christmas decor. These are the beliefs that sustain our culture, all of these things require stuff and sometimes, a lot of it.
When I was in Montreal I was so incredibly lucky to be a part of something I had never really been a true part of before- a community. Never in my entire life and honestly never since, have I felt such a deep connection and affinity for others. I felt accepted, loved, appreciated and nurtured. I also felt such love, appreciation, accepting and nurturing towards my community. When I got to Montreal, with my one suitcase, I started to talk about my dreams and visions with people in my neighborhood and within days, literally days, people offered me the use of music studios, midi keyboards, drum machines, bass guitars, etc. I was even assisted in the creation of the artwork for my album by my friend Danica. I didn’t have to purchase music gear, art materials or furniture for my studio- my community assisted me and I assisted them as best I could with my resources.
In NYC it was a totally different story. I had 5 roommates so I didn’t necessarily have to buy kitchen supplies or cleaning tools and I was able to maintain my hobbies and daily life with the things I brought from Montreal. However, I had to restrict my life quite a bit and be very creative in order to work within the confines of my imposed minimalism. Overall, I don’t feel like my quality of life being minimal in NY was that great. I found myself to be very uncomfortable, often unable to create what I needed to because I didn’t have the necessary tools available to me. Life felt restricted. I relate these struggles largely with the fact that I lacked a strong community in NY. It was also really expensive to be a “minimalist” in NY. One of my favorite ways to save money is to buy large quantities of items I use often when they are on sale. I typically got around on foot in NYC and so hauling huge bags of olive oil or toilet paper around the city was uncomfortable and at times impossible. Additionally, if I ever reached a moment while producing music where I needed a certain piece of gear I would often have to buy it- making my gear collection grow, my savings dwindle and my tiny “minimalist” room feel more and more claustrophobic.
Minimalism is such a wonderful ideal. Even now, I am living out of two suitcases and really enjoying the freedom that that brings, but it does come at a price. I am not always able to create in the way that I want to. My minimalism meant leaving behind a professional studio set up- with its dozens of bells and whistles. If I want to record videos to the quality that I was recording them before I either need to fly to the USA (wasting precious fossil fuels) or buy an entirely new set up- which, is not cheap! When I first got here I also left my playing cards behind, meaning I had to buy new cards in order to do my job. My life requires tools and living without them at times has made fulfilling my purpose impossible.
And we need tools. Not only for our careers, but to bring us and others joy. If you want to bake that wonderful cake for your husband’s birthday you’re going to need equipment to do so. If you want your house to look cozy for Christmas you will have to store Christmas decorations in your home year-round. Many minimalists end up donating these types of things after using them, but it can become an endless cycle of buying things again and again- new when you need them, because you don’t have them anymore because you donated them. This costs money, but also the resources needed to package these products.
So, the point I am trying to make is that the key to really living a full and eco-conscious life as a true minimalist is- community. It is thanks to the music community in Montreal that I was able to make an album within three months of living there and even here in my new town in Costa Rica I see that the only reason I am able to thrive and truly enjoy life is because of the generosity and openness of others that I have been so lucky to meet.
However, we are losing community. As a species we are becoming more and more isolated. We spend so much time alone- working, on our phones or on our laptops far away from our loved ones.
♢☽♢
The moon card of the 2♢ birth card spread is the 8♧. The Moon card in the birth card spread represents not only our resources but also who it is that we are on an emotional level and what will most deeply nourish us. The 8♧ is the card of networking, connection of community. Community is a key component to making our connections to the material world truly nourishing. Community allows us to be receptive to the resources that might help us on our path. The true resources we have are the connections that we share with others.
By joining together and helping one another we will make space in our lives for something far greater than the material. Part of that is deep peace as represented as a potential of the 8♤ Saturn card in the 2♢ spread and the other is self-love signified by the spread’s 2♡ Rahu card. We may even experience finally our own value as shown by the overlying card of the 2♢ – the Ace of ♢.
In this time where the natural world is being devastated because of the over production of cheaply made products, minimalism is a very wonderful path to walk on. If you are a minimalist or if you are considering minimalism, first ask yourself how willing you are to be a part of and contribute to a community. If you are not then this path might be isolating or expensive.
And, if you aren’t yet ready to become a minimalist, you might consider to simply focus on community building- sharing your resources with other and creating strong bonds with those around you. I know it can sometimes feel hard, but I think it is something that we could all benefit from. Real life one on one connections with others are at the core of living in a sustainable world that supports us and the environment.
Enjoy this 2♢ day! I hope that like me, you are reflecting on your connection to the material plane.
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