By Brianna Wiest

We may be under the impression that minimalism is just another trending topic on Pinterest, but in fact, it’s an ancient practice that’s been discussed if not lauded by teachers, philosophers, writers, and many others over time. Essentially, the premise is: when you believe you need more than you actually do to live, you are enslaved to your belongings, because they both form your identity, and you must keep working to maintain and continue consuming.

There is nothing wrong with having ‘things.’ Of course they are necessary, and beautiful, and even meaningful. The point is to just have what you need and what you love, and to be grateful for it, rather than assuming it’s for granted. Here, Mary Oliver chimes in on her realization that it was an attachment to physical things that held her back for so long. Her beautiful poem, “Storage.”

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When I moved from one house to another
there were many things I had no room
for. What does one do? I rented a storage
space. And filled it. Years passed.
Occasionally I went there and looked in,
but nothing happened, not a single
twinge of the heart.

As I grew older the things I cared
about grew fewer, but were more
important. So one day I undid the lock
and called the trash man. He took
everything.

I felt like the little donkey when
his burden is finally lifted. Things!
Burn them, burn them! Make a beautiful
fire! More room in your heart for love,
for the trees! For the birds who own
nothing – the reason they can fly.

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