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The Moon Times

a monthly digest released around the full moon
sharing thematic teachings & affirmations
to cultivate psycho-spiritual awareness + wellness
(to be referenced & revisited as much as you need)

this Moon Times is on:

abundance in minimalism

"Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.

That doesn’t mean there’s anything inherently wrong with owning material possessions. Today’s problem seems to be the meaning we assign to our stuff: we tend to give too much meaning to our things, often forsaking our health, our relationships, our passions, our personal growth, and our desire to contribute beyond ourselves."

(The Minimalists)

Dear reader,

I'm on this minimalism journey with you, figuring out what actually gives me joy and value (how it feels in my body) and what doesn't. Parsing apart what's actually important to us from what we've been conditioned to believe is important is a life-long reflection that requires intentionality and practice.

May this digest invite us to reflect more on our relationship to things in our lives, how we might be falsely identifying with those things and what we might be able to let go of to find the abundance that's in and around us all along.

In spaciousness,
Chetna

I discovered Christine on Instagram under the name @afrominimalist. Coming from a South Asian immigrant family, I know a little bit about how marginalized groups rarely prioritize minimalism over having a bunch of stuff for "security", "stability" and status.

So Christine drew me in with the strong minimalist messages she's both living and teaching. Read further for some inspiration via important and relatable points on bringing the freedom of minimalism to our lives.

 

“Minimalism: An Intentional Life”
by Christine Platt

 

“I wish I’d taken a picture of my closet two years ago.”

That’s what I tell folx when they reach out and ask, “How did you adopt a minimalist lifestyle?”

Slowly. Very slowly.

Like many first-generation college graduates and first-time six figure income earners, I used to spend my money on things—things I thought were nice, things I wanted but didn’t need, things that I felt I deserved. Which resulted in me having, you guessed it—a lot of things. It was only after reading The Minimalists by John Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus that I looked around our house and acknowledged that I was emotional spender. And I was completely overcome with sadness, guilt and regret.

I had more clothing than I would ever wear. Accessories with the tags still on them. Unlit candles. The list goes on and on. Which is why I started slowly. It was too overwhelming to tackle all the things in one weekend.

It’s taken me a little over two years to downsize from our almost 3,000 square foot house to a 630 square foot condo. And it’s also taken two years to acknowledge and change my spending habits, and to recognize my triggers. And most importantly, to forgive myself.

While the task is undoubtedly daunting at first, the more you let go, the better you start to feel. You will want to keep going. 

Taking control of your spending and being intentional about what you own is an empowering act of self-love. Disregarding what society says and thinks you need, and being mindful of what you need and what best serves you are key components of loving and honoring yourself. And once you start with your closet, it is impossible for intentionality not to trickle into every aspect of your life.

Being a mindful consumer benefits our society as well. So, learn how products are manufactured. Learn what products can be recycled. Learn your global footprint. And then pinpoint the areas in your life where you can bring about change.


I am often asked if I miss anything that I’ve donated or given away. And the answer is, “no.” I don’t miss a single thing. This is primarily because these were things that I didn’t use or need—clothing or home goods that I’d found on sale, or products that had expired. And I remember this whenever I shop. I have a little mantra that I tell myself: it’s not a deal if you don’t need it. 

Because we live in a capitalist, consumer-driven society, we can very easily find ourselves in the space of believing that we need something. The reality is, most often, we don’t. We often want something—because it’s a status symbol, because we want to treat ourselves, or because, let’s be honest, it just looks nice. 

Historically, the marginalized tend to operate from a place of lack because they are so used to not having. And this is where the mind shift happens. This is when you must ask yourself the difficult questions. When you’re holding something shiny and new, or when an item is sitting in your online shopping cart—do I really need this, or do I just want this? And if you just want it, why do I want this if I don’t need this? Our spending habits are often tied to emotions rather than necessities. 

When I started my journey to minimalism, I saw very people who looked like me. It’s the reason I started sharing my journey online. As a Black woman, I own family heirlooms, pictures and artwork that reflect my people’s journey and experiences. It seemed to me that mainstream minimalism didn’t take that into account with its all-white, barren aesthetic. I love to show that minimalism can include colors and textures. And that is my minimalism, my home and wardrobe, reflects my life’s work and passion—the history of the African diaspora.

So, start slowly. Understand and acknowledge why you have accumulated the things that you have. And then build an intentional minimalist lifestyle that works for you. The chances are that your version of minimalism will not look like anyone else’s, and it shouldn’t. It’s your life. And that is what your minimalism should reflect.

To say that my life has become more abundant since adopting a minimalist lifestyle would be an understatement. My life is abundant. And I am grateful. 

--
Christine Platt is a passionate advocate for social justice and policy reform.

A believer in the power of storytelling as a tool for social change, Christine’s work centers on teaching diversity, equity, and inclusion through culturally responsive literature for people of all ages.

You can follow her journey to minimalism on Instagram via @afrominimalist

Resources
Listen:
  • The Minimalists talk about "excess," and how to move through the frustration of losing things of value, handle family heirlooms and minimize gradually or quickly (59-minute podcast)
Watch:
Read:
Practice:
  • Try 1 or all 18 5-minute de-cluttering tips by minimalist, Leo Babauta
  • Reflect:
    • Where in your life might you be consuming compulsively? Are there things you collect out of habit or "retail therapy," that's not necessarily intentional or beneficial?
    • How are you buying, collecting or consuming things that actually offer you joy and/or value (versus consuming things that you think you "should" based on what you saw or read somewhere)?
    • What abundance exists in the spaciousness between or without all your things? It might feel empty; in emptiness, our inner abundance may emerge. (For example, I feel an influx of creativity, a sense of a deep exhale/sigh, and relaxation when I've let go or released excess in my space).
    • Other questions: what are your favorite things? Why are they your favorite things? What meaning do you assign to these things? How important are these things with your constructed identity?

Upcoming Events
NYC

We're bringing the Compassion workshop to Manhattan in August for womxn and there's still space for you.

We'll be hosted by The Sixth Street Community Center, occupying the "Sanctuary Room" which is beautiful, airy and just the right vibe for our work and play. Find tickets here.
ONLINE

It's the third run of this program to expand your creativity for healing and social change! These personal and group consultations help explore your abundant capacity to live in creativity, move through blocks with faith and confidence, and deepen into the infinite inspiration available to you.

"“This experience has been life changing. It’s given me permission to express myself authentically, free from judgement and/or expectation...I feel in tune with my creative self and it’s starting to show. I am so grateful for this program and recommend it to any womxn looking to invest in herself."
- Clarissa T., Winter 2019 Abundant Creativity Alumni

Find more information about the agenda across 3 months, read what previous abundantly creative womxn have said, and apply here! (apps are welcome until September 6th)
CHICAGO

Join for an informative, experiential and connecting experience to learn and reflect on the impact of these deep currents that move and motivate us, hold us back or lead us astray: our feelings!

This workshop is open to all genders and leverages evidence-based tools in positive psychology, mindfulness, expressive arts and discussion-oriented learning to expand our emotional and body-based intelligence.

We'll be hosted by the beautiful Jarvis Square Pottery in Rogers Park. Find tickets, the agenda and student scholarships here.
CHICAGO

For Mosaiceye LLC's last workshop as a Chicago-based organization, we're partnering with The Martin to offer a workshop to cultivate empowered discipline for womxn!
Let’s reclaim the practice of discipline as self-empowering versus self-punishing. We'll take time to reflect on the first half of the year, clarify intentions worth committing to for the rest of the year, create discipline charts to anchor into those commitments with the help of accountability in community, and practice embodying our most disciplined selves.
Find tickets and more information here.

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Make sure you're subscribed here and stay tuned with the next full moon on September 13th for The Moon Times Digest - publication 19
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