306 | Minimalism
My introduction to the word 'minimalism' was as a teenager, being introduced to Brian Eno's Ambient 1/Music for Airports. It was like the sweetest breath of fresh air down my earholes. Music that swept me away and decluttered my aural environment. For a long time I thought of minimalism as an aesthetic or style. A sparsely decorated room or that genre of music made of processed ambient sounds and long drone loops. I've always been drawn to these expressions. I don't like clutter, and I love to have things around me simple and clear. But in recent years I've been drawn to something in minimalism that transcends the surface levels of life. Take a look at my Minimal Manifesto here. These are some ideas from minimalism that have resonated deeply with me. It stretches deeper. Helping us look at the reality of our finite existence, so that we can understand what matters most, and strip away all the stuff that anchors us into unhealthy attachments, ways of thinking, and patterns of behaviour. Ultimately it is about freedom. And about acknowledging that we don’t have the capacity, time, or energy for everything. Yet we do have the ability to choose and discern between things that mean something and things that don’t. Whether it be stuff, work, people, commitments, opinions, and so on. The Prison of Least Resistance I've been reflecting on this a lot lately. I have been feeling anything but free. Burdened by tasks and overcommitment from the gradual drift of the mindless more. I've been on a return to some core minimalist principles. These have helped me audit my energy/time, and recalibrate. This process has had a direct impact on the podcast. Because I’ve decided to make it a monthly rather than weekly show. 😳 There, I said it. I worked out that it takes me 12 hours to prepare for, record, and publish each episode of The Gentle Rebel Podcast. No wonder I’m exhausted. I’m working near enough full time, doing two diplomas, and running a business, not to mention gigging, maintaining relationships, and attempting to stay healthy. “But I can’t give up the podcast!” When I’m tired I forget to think properly. I get a bit all or nothing. So my initial thought was, I'm going to have to quit the podcast. Either that or I have to carry it on like normal. But I don’t want to give it up. I can’t give ANYTHING up! Everything I have on my schedule is important. I've curated it over time. What am I supposed to do!? Everything is important. Everything matters, and I enjoy it all...on the whole! In the last episode I spoke about ‘priorities’ and how you can only have one. I mentioned the idea of a Priority Spirit; a filter through which all things pass. I hadn’t realised quite how much I needed to grasp that concept for myself. And as I began to think about it, I have seen that my priority spirit for this year is Expansion Through Margin. Growth Through Pruning. Less and Better. We can get so stuck in a thought pattern or way of doing things that we can lose sight of our ability to change the rules. For me I was stuck with this idea that the podcast is weekly and that’s that. But what if I changed my rules? I could still find the joy from producing the episodes, and do so in a way that is better for me AND better for the quality of the show itself. Small Things Become Big Things I worked out that by moving from four to one episode a month I will save about 432 hours a year. That’s 54, eight-hour days. That is some serious margin. I am not axing a weekly podcast entirely. I will still produce the Extended Play Private Podcast each week. It only takes a couple of hours to pull together, and is an important part of the formulation and incubation of new ideas. I talk off the cuff, play some music, and share a much more rough and ready behind the scenes reflection on creativity, building a business, and navigating life when you don’t know which way is up. If you want to keep hearing my voice each week then you...