I was looking at some pictures recently of the early days of Suan Sati and getting nostalgic. One particular picture (which I’ll post to social media for your enjoyment) was of me weedwhacking the jungle at Suan Sati 1. One thing that stuck out to me was my outfit. I was wearing a second hand shirt with long sleeves that were hilariously too short, huge Thai fisherman pants, and rubber boots that were two sizes too small. Fashion was the last thing on my mind, as I was high on minimalism at the time. I had just finished backpacking around the world for 2 years carrying only 12 kilograms which included a full camping setup and cold weather gear. I was really into only having the absolute bare minimum to live.
As I reflect on where I’m at now with minimalism, my possessions would definitely not fit in a 44 liter backpack anymore.
I laugh/cringe remembering that I had an internal debate on whether or not to buy a fifth pair of underwear while backpacking (I didn’t end up buying them). My life situation is quite different now compared to back then, so while I try to be a conscious consumer, I don’t judge myself harshly based on the number or weight of my possessions.
The truth is, I’m not the same person I was five years ago, and thank goodness!
I would be depressed if I hadn’t learned, grown, and bettered myself during that time. As I consciously move through the different phases of my life, I have to constantly remind myself that it’s okay to outgrow views, values, relationships, roles, etc. That’s not a signal that something’s wrong, just a natural part of our evolution. While change can be confusing and difficult, when we’re conscious and checking in with ourselves during this process, most changes can be seen as a series of small events rather than one dramatic pivot.
Yoga and meditation have been indispensable tools to encourage me to check in with myself and see patterns of change manifesting. As someone who craves stability and consistency, I appreciate having a grounding set of practices that encourage me to tune into myself to help manage the emotional turbulence of change. These days, I rarely find myself in uncomfortable territory in regards to change because I’m able to recognize the signs of coming change and better manage my emotional response to those changes. I attribute most of that to my practice, and to being willing to reflect on who I am becoming in this moment and letting go of the story of who I’ve been.
And letting go of what isn’t anymore useful or adding value is at the core of minimalism.
So, I guess I’m still a minimalist at heart after all, even with more than four pairs of underwear.