Get More Inspired with Less… Much Less

I’m a sucker for a minimalist on a journey. Anyone who can walk away from a job that makes them unhappy, start a business with pretty much nothing, or pursue their art all with a creative strategy like minimalism is completely dazzling to me. While I wouldn’t call myself a minimalist, I embrace minimalist sensibilities, a desire to live with less and simplify. Living with less is subjective.

Some would think my carriage house in Brooklyn, NY is too small. Others way too big. For me, it’s perfect for what we want, and I don’t feel the need to fill every square inch with stuff. I’m comfortable with what I have and enjoy a lean aesthetic. However, I spent the first half of my tenure in New York with little more than a bed, dresser, love seat, and clothes and was quite happy with what I owned.

Everything else I used was generally a roommate’s or came as a free hand-me down. It was enormously convenient when moving around apartments, spending less time on cleaning, and having more money at my disposal for travel and the things that actually mattered to me.

Why I’m Grateful I Grew Up Without Financial Innocence

When I was 8, we moved from a modest ranch in a lower-middle-class suburb of St. Louis to an afluent suburb of Atlanta. The rambling house was custom built on a lot with a creek and about an acre or so of dense woods. It’s a breathtaking community where I loved being a kid.

My existence was full of exploration, catching lightning bugs and watching new fawns wobble through the woods on new legs. It never quite occurred to me that we doubled our home’s size because we suddenly had more money. I had some feeling about it all, like something drifting around in my peripheal vision, but mostly it just seemed like that’s what you do in Georgia. People lived in big houses.

My friends all lived the same way and we went to the same public schools that were rated top in the state. My childhood universe was one big upper-middle class lifestyle supported by the windfalls of the airline industry during the early 90′s. Life was innocent.

Until it suddenly wasn’t.

The airline my father flew for started financially crumbling until it finally went bankrupt just a few years after we moved. Despite the uncertainty and hanging breath caught and waiting to be free, I somehow knew knew it would all work out. Wouldn’t it?

Simpler Living for an Exponential Rate of Return

Matt Madeiro at Three New Leaves recently released a free ebook called Simpler. It’s a practical, to the point guide on simplifying your life along with plenty of personal anctedotes on how he did it himself.

I met Matt when I emailed him to share my love of coconut related product (coconut oil, coconut water, coconut milk, etc) as a means to get healthier. He was kind enough to remind me not to discount coconut flakes (what was I thinking?), and to talk more about primal fitness, minimalism, and blogging as a whole. He also knows how nervous I was about blogging and just being honest and speaking the real truth about who I am.

Until recently, I thought being vulnerable was overrated, now I know it’s the opposite. It was largely his complete openness about anything I wanted to ask and his thoughtful responses that pushed me along to the next steps in my journey. Now that initial anxiety seems so incidental.

Those experiences showed Matt and his resource Simpler are good case studies of leading by example. See for yourself by checking out his post on how he got in the best shape of his life eating simpler. And while eating bacon and butter and loads of other stuff. Fair warning, it will annoy you if you’re leading a low-fat, low-carb, high cardio work-out lifestyle.

Mixed Media Farmhouses Haunted By 1950′s Housewives (Or Why To Quiet Your Mind And Focus)

My feet thrust in the air, I stared at the needle sticking out of my foot framed against the backdrop of the Gowanus Canal while a woman in the next room loudly whispered about her venereal disease. I tried to shut it out by thinking about my creative projects. Any of them. Obscure ones. About a public domain comic book idea. About the new iPhone app I’m working on with my publisher. About my blog.

My thoughts invariably shifted to thinking about my last few weeks at work, how long it would take to pull off these projects, and if I’d sustain a living from them afterward. Sustain. Hmmm… Reminds me of that episode of The Judge Hatchett Show I worked on as a video editor where she sustained a motion…

I snap to and remember what my acupuncturist said. “Quiet down your mind, Susan.” And backed that sentiment up by sticking another needle between my eyes. I looked up at the needle, of what I could see of it, and sighed. Quiet. My. Mind. It was my very first foray into acupuncture, and despite my foot needle hurting more than I anticipated when she stuck it in (and hearing someone whispering about venereal diseases), I felt calm. Centered. And the restlessness I tend to feel was slipping away. It was powerful.

Steamy Epiphanies On Why I Quit My Job

I quit my job last week.

It was an exhilarating rush. But it also felt so expected and firm. Like it was already written and I was simply moving into action to the plot of my own story. This whole post might seem very anti-climatic if you are expecting an epic blow-out of Independent Creative vs. Corporation. So first let me tell you why I didn’t do it.

I didn’t do it to start a movement. Or a revolution. I didn’t do it to lead you anywhere except to a new point-of-view. I didn’t quit to convince everyone else to quit their jobs too. Or to proclaim that jobs are utterly useless by nature. I think jobs have the potential to be incredibly valuable. Just like I think your own small business and diversification of income is valuable.

I think we should embrace all options, instead of it being an either-or situation. I made the decision to quit from a steam room last weekend when my husband took me to get a massage for my birthday. I had just dumped so much water over the rocks, I couldn’t see a foot in front of me.