Feliz Friday Friends!
I’ve been hard at work creating a new website that I thought would be ready in time to post my interview with Jen Rivera Bell, but apparently I am not a graphic designer or a website maker (lol) – so we’ll have to hold off on that for a bit, but it’s sure to be dope cause I’m putting in a lot of energy.
Anyway, I am really excited to have a different kind of post today and to share my conversation with Jen, who is a vegan, mom, traveler and minimalist. She’s good people, and her family is beautiful.
My goal in doing interviews is to show case the different types of intentional living that exist within minimalism. I was so disappointed in the idea of minimalism for so long, and now that I’ve learned it’s truly about finding freedom, I’m trying to educate everyone.
I believe minimalism can set us free. I also know that freedom along with minimalism looks and feels different for everyone. So, let’s see what Jen has to say about it all:
How do you define minimalism?
To me minimalism is about creating a beautiful and fulfilling life with less. It is to shy away from the mass consumption of cheap, quickly made, poor quality goods (that more times than less are made by horribly treated marginalized people) Minimalism looks so vastly different from person to person that many people get pushed away from the idea because of someone’s aesthetic. When people think minimalism they think: owning two shirts, everything has to be black and white and no fun, but it doesn’t have to be that at all! We, to most folk took pretty typical. We have a home, we have art on our walls, we have hobbies, there is no need to lose who you are and what you love to live simply. I think that by emphasising that “perfect minimalist” look we scare so many people away from adopting a more minimal life. We must shed that elitist minimalist mentality and showcase what minimalism looks in all walks of life.
What brought you to minimalism?
Ironically the aesthetic of minimalism is what brought me into it. Once I started doing research I realized there was an entire movement around living with less. I was so fascinated by the idea that I jump straight into it. This was right around the time my partner and I were going to move into our own home. We thought were were living pretty minimally (and I suppose compared to the norm we were) but we didn’t realize how much we owned until we had a house fire and lost everything. We had to, for our insurance write every single thing we had. It was SO much. We thought we were doing so good but it really added up so quick. Soon after we had to start from scratch and really had to be very mindful of what we REALLY needed. Now we are in our new home with much less than before and couldn’t be happier about it.
What challenges exist with living simply?
My biggest challenge with living simply has come from the fact that I was raised with the mentality that material things equate to success. It was a major struggle to realize that my material possessions were just that, material possessions and nothing more. Our society puts so much emphasis on how big our closets are, how many times we switch fancy cars and how much we can own. Shedding those ideas has made me a clearer and more present person.
What lessons have you learned from living simply?
Less is more. So many of our indigenous cultures focused on unity of the people and the spirit, not material things. We have pushed away so far from those core beliefs that we are truly lost. Learning that having countless material possessions can fog your mindset was a breakthrough that I had within myself. Now the few things that I do own I love, I take care of, I hold dear to me.
How do we create space within our culture for minimalism?
We can create more space for minimalism in our culture by going back to our culture! Our pre colonial cultures THRIVED with a minimalist lifestyle by focusing on community. By connecting with our roots we can learn to appreciate what we have and stop focusing on material things to give us sense of happiness. That reassurance that community gives us is what can be a game changer in our modern society. By regaining that we can involve everyone and not exclude or isolate people.
Where can we connect with you?