‘goodbye, things: The New Japanese Minimalism’ by Fumio Sasaki is an enjoyable read. It will help its readers gain new insight and shift their perspectives on their relationship with the “things” of their life, material possessions or even relationships that often end up owning us rather than creating any real value in our lives.
It begins with a short photographic case study of five different persons or families who have ‘gained’ something in their lives by reducing what they own. It is a great introduction to the topic and the rest of the book is text broken up into very short chapters. It is clear that minimalism is a chosen lifestyle and a philosophy of life for those who embrace it fully.
There are many ideas shared in the book and one of the most powerful that I was drawn to was re-evaluating how we see the environments external to our home. For instance, I have joked with Jen that the public library is our personal warehouse to store all the books and DVDs we have. We just so happen to lend them out to others.
Similarly, Fumio shares that we can see restaurants or other spaces as an extension of our own living environments — a key idea for those living in reduced living spaces or who want to move beyond limiting perspectives of space and ownership. On its own that idea challenges the convention that we need to have ‘everything’ in our own home. It’s quite liberating, really. (Of course I would only add that is there anything ‘external’ to us that is not already within and part of our own energy?)
The simplicity is striking in Minimalist households and it triggers and ignites curiosity and the imagination. New avenues for exploration and possibility arise although very few will take their own ventures into minimalism to the degree presented in the book.
Minimalism is an exercising of our choice muscle, a neglected muscle and ability that has atrophied for most. In that light, minimalism can be an empowering idea. We get to explore how we can make shifts in our lives. It is not just an idea but a methodology and a practical way to redefine ourselves and the space of our lives.
Fumio has created a book that is a needed sharing to help offset the rampant material mindset that most of the world is addicted to. It is a disease when we believe that we do not have enough in our lives and are always breaking ourselves to reach for more.
The ideas inherent in minimalism look at the element of space in our lives. Beyond that we can explore our perception of time, for the few who will go in that direction.