THE LILLS MINIMALISM JOURNEY
We recently learned about dopamine in the brain and how sugar lights up the same part of the brain as cocaine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that assists in controlling the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. It’s built into everyone as a survival mechanism and it keeps animals and humans eating and on the hunt. The only problem is, material can trigger dopamine in the brain too. When we buy a pair of shiny new shoes, our pleasure centers go wild. When we get bored of the shoes and need something else to give us that good feeling, we go on the hunt for our next purchase.
Companies literally spend billions of dollars a year on advertising, using art and psychology to sell, sell, sell. They create too many misleading scenarios that make products look better and more appealing to their audience, when so much of what is being sold is bad for us. If they can psychologically move us through art and make us feel we need something, make us desire it or envy those who have it, they’re doing their job properly. We wish that it was about what is actually good for human beings, good for the environment and good for the future, which is why we’re working on making better everyday choices.
It’s not until the two of us woke up, that we realized how heavily we were being influenced by outside energies, like the media. Every day we were being moved by the things we saw on television, in movies, in stores, online and on the streets. We noticed we were working all of the time and that when we made money, we often spent it on things to make us feel better about our situation, to keep us going or to reward ourselves. This cycle was unhealthy and unfortunately, our behavior was enabled by almost everything and everyone we knew. If we were to escape the consumerism and stop letting money rule our life, we had to pull back, almost completely.
When we got married in 2010, we said no to working nine to five or working separately, we started a design business and we donated and trashed all of our belongings. We purchased a pair of flip flops, pants and a shirt each and began our married life with nothing but the clothes on our backs. We said goodbye to television, watching movies and the news, surfing the internet, listening to mainstream music, buying retail apparel and focused on keeping ourselves from being distracted. We even got rid of our credit cards. It was like turning off the flow of pressure and suddenly, we felt free.
For the first time together, we were completely light weight and it’s as though all of the stress was lifted. Rather than being on the hunt for the next product or purchase that would make us feel better, we were now on the hunt creatively, to produce satisfying work that would fill our voids and help spread our newfound knowledge. The illusion of what we thought our life should look like completely changed. Less became more, which is the opposite of what we were taught growing up.
Without stuff, being mobile became our dream. We picked up a ’78 VW camper bus for $1,800 in 2013 and slowly worked on getting him ready for long distance travel. We kept our belongings to a minimum, continued to disengage from the media/social media and spent our time building our life and business from the ground up.
To this day, the less we have, the more important each item we choose to “own” becomes. Everything we have fits inside of our VW bus and we rotate through clothes and items. When we’re done with a piece, we sell it, donate it or give it away and replace it with a different thrifty find that excites our brains and imaginations. This way, we’re able to avoid retail shopping, encourage recycling and maintain a minimal lifestyle.
Ultimately, minimalism has become a way of life for us and with very little, we have more than we could ask for. We hope more people come to the same realization, so there can be more joy and less fuss, more space and less stuff.
See our full backstory here.
HOW TO GO MINIMAL
The first thing we’d recommend to anyone wanting to go minimal is to de-clutter and reorganize life. Start with going through every personal belonging and pick out the things that still have a purpose or use in your life. When you’re down to half the items you had before, repeat the process. Eliminate everything you can and push yourself to let go, so you can enjoy the results of breaking through.
Immediately, you will feel the difference when you look at what you now have. A rush will come over you and you too will start to feel light and airy. Minimizing objects we possess, clears up the brain, clears the energy around us, allow us to make more mindful decisions and gives us the freedom to pursue our dreams.
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