for the love of things

I understand the modern movement towards minimalism. It is mindful, anti-commercial, kind to the environment, and I can even see that it has spiritual value for those who believe material existence is a bind. But here is my confession: I love things.

Antique illustrated story books.
White cotton nightgowns.
Crocheted cushion covers.
Rose gardens.
Chiffon dresses.
Comfy couches.

This world is always tugging on us, trying to unravel us. We are constantly told what to do, what to think and believe. It may come from the government or as a motivational quote on facebook. Clothing stores (for those who don't shop online) only provide what is currently in fashion. Entertainment is shaped by popularity (although hopefully indie publishing will help to reshape this over time.) Even houses are built to a trend-driven sensibility.

In this domineering milieu, I like to surround myself as much as possible with things that reinforce who I am, or who I most want to be. They serve as spirit made visible. They are, some days when the world is too vehement, like armour, or like the comforting embrace of home. For some people, minimalism, utilitarianism, is comfort. Not for me.

I am learning to not buy what is functional, sensible, and appropriate for my basic needs. I discovered that, when I denied the longings of my physical senses, my soul also missed out on a certain richness, happiness, peace. So I am learning to save my money and wait until I find things that also fulfil the deeper needs of my soul. I want to surround myself with love and beauty. I personally believe we have an opportunity in this material existence to make music from its low frequency. To use material things for our spirit's benefit. A tea plate. An embroidered coat. A mountain. A wedding ring. Sunlight on a lake. It's not about buying stuff. It's about choosing, whenever you can, things that you love rather than only what you need. At least, that's how it is for me.



sharing with roses of inspiration

18 comments:

  1. This is so very much my own philosophy. And whilst I don't like clutter, I'm no minimalist. Oh no. I also need the practical to be beautiful. When we moved recently, I took all the awful upheaval, (and moving into a much smaller home than before), as an opportunity to surround myself only with what I love and find beautiful. I now feel as though I live in a home that holds us, and inspires us to create.

    I love what you've written here Sarah, because it also highlight that what you speak of is not materialism, or an obsession with "things", but a soulful way of nurturing the senses and the spirt, and one reflecting the other in a tangible way. x

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    1. A home that holds us. What a lovely vision. And there really is a feeling of being held when you're surrounded by things you love.

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  2. Sing it, sister. :) I was pondering something very akin to this train of thought when rereading the Anne books a few weeks ago. The feathering of the nest in the House of Dreams, especially—Gog and Magog, Mrs. Lynde's quilts, Marilla's braided rugs, the books that were particular friends, a vase of flowers—so much care taken to fill the home with objects that bespoke comfort, warmth, and affection. In Patty's Place too, and of course at Green Gables. I love to look around and see our books, the jars of paints and pencils, my little kittycat tape dispenser, Scott's guitar in the corner, a wooden shuttle from my old loom...little things that make me feel happy in my home.

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    1. Oh, how much I love those books! Sometimes I read the nesting descriptions of HOD all by themselves, and imagine it's my own home. And I sure wish my flatting situation during my uni years had been like Patty's Place!

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  3. i don't see anything wrong with having a reasonable amount (maybe even an unreasonable amount) of nice things that one truly loves. it's perfectly possible to have a house full of things that give you JOY every time you use them or set eyes upon them! i like nice things. to be honest, i like really luxurious things. i try to buy them or acquire them from second-hand sources whenever possible...and excess is perhaps not desirable...but as you say, the "comforting embrace of home" is a tremendous solace. and i feel that making one's outer life echo one's inner world is an entirely positive thing. by all means, we should choose what we love---what moves our souls---rather than whatever is being marketed as the trend du jour. that in itself is counter to what we are sold...

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    1. I am always so grateful for your thoughtful comments. Yes, I agree that excess is undesirable, and I'm certainly not thinking I would want to spend thousands on pretty things when so many people are dying from starvation. But finding solace - such a beautiful word - in things can be lovely.

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  4. In my book what you describe is not materialism, it's a matter of taste. Those who set virtue in keeping themselves uncomfortable have simply got it all backwards imho, just another obsession with gadgets. "Look how many I haven't got" LOL

    Don't let anyone unravel you, just walk your path. :)

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    1. "Look how many I haven't got" - you literally made me lol :-)

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  5. I do so agree with you Sarah - you have echoed my thoughts exactly. Although I don't like clutter and get rid of stuff, books I know I won't read again, clothes etc. What I have left I have chosen to be there - these things, our personal choices, to my mind, are what make a house a home.

    I am not influenced by fashion or what the current trend is - I just go my own way with what makes me happy - and what makes me happy is not material things - my basic needs are catered for but it is what my soul needs that makes life worth living.

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  6. i love this:
    spirit made visible.

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  7. Yes, yes, yes. Most of us are entirely too concerned with "function." Even human relationships are now referred to as functional or dysfunctional. Functional decorating, aka Ikea, makes me uneasy. I grew up in a cluttered house. When I had my own home, I tried to minimalise (likely an act of rebellion) but I realized that without the things that are dear to me, that soften the sharp edges and fill the empty corners, the world felt too big and too widely open. There is an image from my childhood that still makes me feel that I am home - the glow of a soft yellow light coming from the window of my house on a rainy afternoon.

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  8. It's so interesting reading this as I am in the midst of a mass decluttering in my home. I want to let go of the things filling space (things I've been keeping for the sake of it) so that I create room for the things that actually soothe me. I love what you said about using 'material things for our spirit's benefit.' That's exactly what I need.

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  9. Oh yes, I feel this too. I want to choose things that I love, that makes me smile every time I look at them, or touch them. I've also found that things that are handmade, or at least created from the heart, have something special in them, like they shine a little stronger. My aunt gave me some knitted wash cloths, that I love very much.

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  10. I feel that each person 'should' have the objects, which make them happy, calm, secure, comfortable, at ease. And that each person 'should' have the right, to choose their own way of living. No movement or latest-thing, 'should' dictate to them.

    I enclose 'should' that way. To try to show that I don't believe in any *Should(s)*!!! :-) Free will, all the way, with me, for others.

    Tessa

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  11. "an opportunity in this material existence to make music from its low frequency" - that's an intriguing sentence right there; nicely said :)

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  12. This is so wonderful, Sarah, and I couldn't agree more. I have the same struggle... I absolutely love things! Pretty picture frames and scented candles and pretty necklaces and lovely home decor. The problem I have, however, is buying things I don't really love, just because I feel the need to purchase something or other. Because of this, I've been trying *very* hard to embrace minimalism, and have been cutting out the things in my life that I don't truly love. I'll always be one to own many, many things... that's for certain..., but my goal now is to adore each and every little article of clothing, piece of jewelry, teacup and saucer, etc. If I don't love it, it goes. To accomplish this I've been purchasing less and less from stores in person, and have instead been ordering products from online sources. Modcloth is my favorite for clothing, and I spend ages searching for vintage pretties on various random sites. I still find myself purchasing for the sake of purchasing, though. Hopefully I'll get better at this with time.

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  13. A wonderful post! I'd love to be surrounded by less stuff - at the moment, the kids are winning out with all their toys. They are such hoarders!

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  14. This was perfectly said, my friend! I, too, love tea cups, lace, pearls, roses, and pretty feminine things, but I also like things to be simple :) I love how you said having the stuff you enjoy around you reinforces who you are.

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful post with Roses of Inspiration. Hugs to you, sweet friend!

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