I'm in the process of reading Joshua Becker's book The More of Less, and I get more and more excited about implementing some of his ideas.
Becker's journey into minimalism began on Memorial Day 2009, when he was cleaning the garage while his then five-year-old son was waiting to play with him. As the day continued and he wasn't even close to being done, he kept watching his son playing in the backyard by himself. Becker repeatedly told his son that he would be able to play with him soon, and yet his cleaning task seemed to be growing bigger.
One of Becker's neighbors, an older woman, spotted him as she was outside tending her flowers. She commented to him that her daughter once told her that she didn't need all her stuff. She went on to tell him that her daughter was a minimalist. Becker became curious and his family's journey into minimalism began.
There is so much that I'm learning from Becker's book, and I'm really hooked right now into the chapter on living an intentional life. Even though I'm still a newbie in the process of minimalism (it is forever a process, mind you, as is everything in life), this one is resonating with me. There are three areas where Becker is challenging me: donate stuff, donate money, and donate time.
First, donate stuff. Every month or so, I go through the clothes in my closet and dresser to see what I don't wear that I can donate. I also do the same thing with common areas in the house and the kitchen. If we aren't using it, someone else should get use out of it.
I've also stopped saying to myself, "I should keep this just in case." If I haven't used it, then it's ridiculous for me to keep it for someday, especially when someone else could use it NOW.
Second, donate money. I was shocked when Becker said that in the United States, we donate maybe 2-3% of what we make. Then I did the math and realized that I donate 2.5%. Yikes! That was humbling to discover.
I have some debt that I need to pay off, and so I'm not going to beat myself up over what I'm donating at this point in my life. However, I'm going to continue to donate to causes I'm passionate about that I have researched and I trust that the money is going to who it is intended to assist. Before donating, make sure that a bulk of your donation isn't going toward someone's salary or administrative costs.
Third, donate time. This is the one that I don't do on a consistent basis. It's really hit and miss for me. I have often thought about volunteering at an assisted living center in a bigger community that is within 10 minutes of where I live. I'm not sure what has stopped me in the past. Maybe I don't think I have the time they might require. That's just me limiting myself.
My goal in the next week is to go to the center and complete a volunteer application. Sometimes we need a kick in the butt to get going in the direction we know we want to head. Or, in this case, putting it in writing for others to see.
Whatever the case may be, all of us have the ability to make a difference in the lives of others, even one person. As Mother Teresa said, "If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one."
It's time to let go and give.
I'm a lover of life, an eternal optimist, and I have an intense desire to add value through simple living and positive vibes.