Nice image. Looks peaceful doesn’t it? Very clean. Sparse. This is about as minimal as you can get. But I doubt you’d be real popular with family and friends if they had to sit on the floor or were expected to haul a chair with them every time they came over.
I did a decluttering project a while back and it really helped with lightening my load. I still work on it now and again following the principle that if you can get a cubic foot of crap or even a small trash bag out of your home every day, eventually you will be almost where you want to be. And believe me, I’m not even close to where I want to be. But slowly and surely the stuff is going out the door and I’m beginning to get a handle on this. I want to get to the place where I belong to the world of “Enough.”
The project I began that was abruptly halted by life circumstances has not only helped clear out unwanted stuff in my life, it has given me a perspective that I haven’t had a in a long time. Mainstream media isn’t going to tell you that you have enough stuff. Good God, no. They want you to have more. They want you to have more stuff, more money so you can buy stuff and then they try to sell you stuff to organize your stuff so you can make room for the stuff they want to sell you.
But that’s about “Stuff.”
What I’ve learned is that there is a peace that comes with “Enoughism.” It’s not minimalism really. It’s more about knowing your limits. It’s about knowing where the line is and knowing what you can handle and what you cannot.
This applies to parrots, to your time, to your work and to what you do on a day-to-day basis.
It’s pretty simple: When something completely takes over your life and you wake up dreading it, you know it’s time to cut bait. Stop with the multitasking. It will eventually make you crazy. I’m not talking about cutting out using easier methods to get something done like using a tray when you have a bunch of food and water bowls to feed your flock. I’m talking about not taking even a few minutes to simply breathe.
Parrots are pretty smart. Have you ever noticed that when you calm down and lower your energy, they tend to follow your lead?
Ever notice that the more crap you have, the harder it is to keep it organized? Well, if you didn’t own the crap in the first place, you wouldn’t need to manage it.
It’s the same thing with the stuff in your head. Being happy and successful within your own life isn’t about having the most toys. It’s about being happy.
Choosing to have birds in your life tends to complicate things a bit. It’s never going to be easy. But taking happiness with your birds is one way to de-stress your situation.
They are a huge responsibility. And nobody is getting any younger. You cannot do everything all at once like you used to. At least I can’t. So I do things a task at a time. I clean one cage. Then I take a break. I go after that part of the floor. Time for some Red Zinger tea. Go for another cage. Sit down for five minutes. And so on. When I have a day off, I can get many things done. But I do it one bite at a time.
I’m not talking about dumping absolutely everything in your life and living in a space like the image at the top. That’s not living. That’s like a competition. Some people are taking this minimalism to the extreme and they are living like monks. It’s almost like a golf score: The guy with the fewest pieces of furniture wins. And believe me, there has been a huge buck in the “McMansion” method of living. Think “Tiny Houses, ” I am not suggesting that anyone live like a monk.
Paring down the stuff you have and replacing it with the time you get in return by not having to manage it will give you more time to care for your birds. More time to spend with your birds. More time to work with them, to pay attention to them and to be happy about the place they have in your life.
I’ve had some time in the last week to lighten my load. I’ve discarded physical stuff, emotions about things I have no control over and I’m learning to simply not let stuff bother me as much.
This is going to be a longer process than I wold like, but what the hell. I hope that one day my mind will be as peaceful, and as serene as that Japanese living space.
Replace “Stuff” with experiences. I don’t need a logo-emblazoned jacket from my favorite parrot rescue. I’d rather go there and clean some cages, wash the floor and scrub the bathroom. The jacket will wear out. The photographs and memories as well as the stories I can tell are worth far more than the jacket. And I’d like to think that the parrot adoption and rescue organization would be happier with the clean bathroom.