Intentional Living is the Root of Minimalism
I use the word intention a lot.
The concept of intentional living might be seriously revolutionary to your life if you haven’t heard of it before.
This word appears a lot more now than I ever noticed it in the past. The reason? Nobody can say for sure, but I suspect that with so much gut-punch-awful permeating our global moment, from news of another shooting to people driving like assholes during your morning commute, many of us are clawing for an escape out of this reality. We want more out of each other. We want to be happy. The Conscious Movement is thriving, and thank goodness, too. I honestly think it’s what will save us from ourselves in the end.
Living with intention is the deepest root of minimalism. Let’s explore that thought:
How many times do you impulsively pull out your phone when you experience discomfort, boredom, or dread? How often do you drive somewhere and barely remember the ride?
Living with intention takes life from being a race from one point to the next and makes it enjoyable, playful, and noticed all the way along. This is a tough state of mind to achieve. I spend a lot of my time reading, absorbing, and processing to get there. The peace of mind that comes from its pursuit is absolutely worthwhile, but I also acknowledge that this is a lifelong practice and I’m quite a new convert.
Living with intention is a practice you should take up right now–without delay–if you haven’t already. Just remember, the process IS the intention.
You’re doing it now, even if you don’t think so.
You’re continuously moving into the space of intention. Your consciousness craves it. Your task is to filter out the distractions. Let yourself feel it fully and claim all the lovely space you find within it.
What Did I Change to Live More Intentionally?
- I started living a zero waste lifestyle to stop creating bags of trash and to minimize my impact on this Earth, as much as I can at least–I haven’t reached perfection. I changed my diet to reduce my waste and no longer purchase food in packaging. I buy my grains, legumes, and nuts in the bulk section in little cloth bags that I sewed myself. I use thin cotton bags for fruit and vegetables. I purchase certified humane eggs in bulk and re-use the carton. For beer, I fill a growler at the bar. I bring a glass container to restaurants for leftovers. I make my own coffee. It’s the little things that all add up.
- I stopped using my phone if there wasn’t a specific purpose to look at it. Things like looking up directions or texting back a friend are okay. I never use my phone if I’m interacting with other humans–I want full presence with that person each moment we share space, even if we’re in silence. I’ve banned myself from using social media when I’m alone, which has freed up a heck of a lot of time and mental space.
- I started immersing myself in the world around me. I’m a naturally spacey person–I daydream, I drift off, I think out grand scenarios while driving–I’ve always been this way. I intentionally bring my focus into the present moment so that the present can’t slip by without my noticing. Even if I’m just at work I make sure to notice the smell of my tea, how I’m feeling that day, the sensation of my socks on my feet. This concept has trickled into the way I interact with people–instead of thinking about what I want to say when someone is talking, I fully engage with their words. I take more time in conversation.
- I try to be my most authentic self, even if it’s awkward or difficult. I don’t laugh just because others do. I say “no” a lot more, even if I feel there is an expectation to say “yes.” I spend more time on myself and give myself the time that I need to be healthy, even if it feels like I need more time than most people. I state my boundaries. I don’t pretend to be chipper on the days when I’m actually rather sad.
- I donated most of my physical possessions so I could focus my time and attention on what truly mattered to me. I have enough clothes to last one week so I don’t accumulate more than a load of clothes laundry. I have enough utensils and plates to eat a single meal, which ensures that dishes never pile up. I only keep essential items that I love–there was a time I’d spend weekends trying to find order in the chaos and “organize.” Now I realize that all the storage in the world won’t remove the burden of owning too much.
- I honor my gut reactions and live more intuitively, including eating intuitively and making life and career decisions based on intuition more than logic. It turns out that my subconscious is wiser than my conscious mind if I don’t over-think everything.
- I make more time for myself so that I can do yoga, create art, think, and generally exist without so many things fighting for my attention. I leave a lot of space in my schedule, something I used to feel guilty about.
So, what happened when I started living intentionally?
So much happened, you guys!
- Crappy situations became more enjoyable and sometimes interesting. Sitting in the DMV when I have a pile of freelance writing deadlines can feel like an anxiety trip, but if I focus in on the strange, interesting humans around me, take in the sounds for what they are without judgement, and if I can take the time to practice breath work while I sit, then my time was not wasted. Noticing your consciousness is never wasted time!
- Time got longer and my life grew richer for noticing the moments more presently. Even if I’m doing something that I don’t want to–like sitting at the DMV–I find a lot to tap into as the owner of a brain.
- I feel more in control of my life because I invested the time to write down my intentions and live in accordance with my will.
- I have enough time to work towards the vision of life that will nurture me the most. Living intentionally makes my moments count more than previously, especially since I no longer waste time on social media or living on autopilot. I quit two “really good” jobs that I didn’t enjoy so I could start my own freelance writing business full time–I understood that working from home would be nurturing for my personality and my goals in life. I envisioned my path and intentionally set out a plan to work for it.
- My relationships with other people are richer and deeper. It’s pure magic to feel so strongly about other people!
- I’m discovering my actual self and being that person unabashedly–who I am in my wild state when I feel most free from social conditioning, training, and expectation. I made the best decision of my life to stop wearing a bra just because I should, for one thing!
My Challenge to You
My challenge to you is to tune in to your present moment. What does your breath feel like entering and leaving your nostrils? Does your belly fill up with air and deflate with the breath out? What sounds can you hear? What do you feel against your skin? What do you want right now?
Tune in, my friends, and enjoy it!
If you feel inclined, I encourage you to comment below to share your thoughts about what intentional living means to you. Also be sure to like, follow, and share if you found this article helpful–it helps me greatly ❤