Minimalism

Minimalism for the Avid Reader

1. Library

At the library you can check out as many books as you want and renew them. This way you can have books but not have books at the same time. The Houston Public Library now has a feature where you can check it ebooks that are delivered directly to your kindle.

2. Amazon, Smashwords, Goodreads

You can purchase ebooks that can be delivered to any electronic device for you to read on the go.

3. Audio Books

You can purchase the audio version of books from Amazon or Audible if you aren’t into reading, or just don’t have the time.

4. Read in store

If you have the time, you can read books for free in Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, Half Price Books, etc. Buy a cup of coffee and relax with a book.

Health + Wellness, Minimalism, My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

Veganism, Minimalism, and Spirituality

I was listening to a podcast the other day (Minimalist Moms) and they were talking about minimalism and spirituality. I consider myself a spiritual person and that more so came to light after my transition to being vegan. When you realize that all these animal products, processed foods and fake foods are not needed to survive, it makes you wonder what else you can live without.

I think after the first year, I began to realize that I had way too many things. I lived with my mom at the time and we lived in this big two story house that had 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, an office, huge living and dining room, 3 car garage, the works. I was grateful, but I began to feel like I was drowning. That is when I decided to start giving things away. The Purple Heart would come to our house and pick up any donations we had, and every time they came, there was plenty to give away. Even my mom was giving stuff away.

Once I got ready to move into my first apartment, I had bags and bags full of stuff that I was not taking with me. Once I moved and set up my new apartment, I realized that I had so much empty space. I lived in a nearly empty apartment for 14 months. It was depressing. I rarely invited people over because I was embarrassed. I had this huge apartment and nothing to fill it with, nor was I going to fill it.

When my lease was almost up, I went on the hunt for a much smaller apartment. I was elated when I finally found the perfect one. The living room was much smaller and it had a separate dining area; the closet was half the size of the old one; the bathroom was also smaller with a smaller linen closet and smaller garden tub; and the bedroom was about the same size.

Once I had moved all of my things in, I realized I did not have enough space for everything, and again, I had to give and throw things away. Every cabinet and closet is full to the brim with necessities (which is not a lot given how small everything is). Even though I have a baby on the way, there is enough stuff for their things to go. I’m just going to have to let the grandparents and family know to keep things to a minimum.

Being vegan opens your mind to societal norms, values, and morals, and makes you see how everything we’ve ever been taught was a lie. We are told to work more so that we can buy more things. We are manipulated into wanting a bigger house to fill it with expensive things and nicer, fancier, expensive cars. We are told we need all these things to make us happy and to live the “American Dream.”

I often times think about people who are homeless or those who don’t have many or any valuables, and how many of them are happy. There are homeless people who are actually happy; one of them is a friend of mine. I watched his journey moving from Houston to New York. He lives in a homeless shelter and all of his things fit in a backpack. He is the happiest person I know and it amazes me at his spirit and joy. We have talked on several occasions, and I follow his blog, YouTube and social media.

I do plan to live in a tiny house one day soon, but we will see how things go.

Spirituality

My spirituality changed when I became vegan because like I said before, when you realize that you have been told lies all your life about food, what other lies have we been told?

I began to do my research on the history of Christianity and Jesus Christ and what I found out was disturbing. During the times of slavery, Black people were only allowed to read the bible, and only a select few at that, mainly Black men who were appointed pastor by the slave master to keep the slaves in check. The slave masters would drill these lies about Jesus Christ (a white man with blue eyes and brown straight hair, sometimes it was blond, with white skin), and how if we don’t worship him, we were going to this place called hell (funny thing is we already live in hell).

Christianity was forced upon slaves in order to keep them dependent upon the white man and the slave masters, to make them feel that they are all they have. That translates into today. Many Black people work for the white man and are dependent upon him for a paycheck. I did more research and came to the conclusion that church really wasn’t for me. When I lived with my mom, I went to church because that wasn’t an option. I first started going to her church where the pastor is a white man (oh, the irony). I quickly realized that that wasn’t the church for me. I went to two other Black churches and I felt like a slave, being brainwashed into believing the lies coming out of the pastors’ mouths.

Do these pastors not know the history behind the negro church and why only Black men are pastors? Does that not strike them as odd? When I moved out, I immediately stopped going to church and created my own altar for me to worship my ancestors, meditate and journal. It felt right, right from the beginning. I turn on my oil diffuser, meditate for about 10 minutes and then journal. It gives me a sense of peace. I do this normally every Sunday morning, and other times when I feel I need to (mainly when I’m stressed).

I’ve found that more millennials have taken this route of spirituality, letting go of Christianity and the Black church. Our parents and grandparents don’t understand, and even find it demonic or heathenist or witchcraft, but little do they know that when they pray, that is a form of witchcraft. Praying is the same thing as reciting a spell. You pray for things you want, the healing of others, love, righteousness, happiness, etc. That’s casting a spell.

Back to the minimalist side, I keep my altar fairly simple. If you would like a tour, click here. I have updated it and added a couple of new pieces. I will do another post later on with the specifics of everything and why I have everything on it.

Veganism, minimalisim and spirituality go hand in hand.

Financial Advice

Financial Friday: Minimalism Saves Money

I posted the video above on YouTube earlier in the week. Minimalism is something that I have always been into but haven’t practiced until recently. Growing up and having almost everything that you want, you start to take things for granted. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon the vandwelling and tiny home movement that I realized that this was my destiny all along.

In the past few months I have given away and sold a lot of my things. I had stuff that I’ve kept since high school and that was almost 10 years ago. Since then, I accumulated so many more things and it was really impulse buying. I would go to the stores and because I had money, I would spend it. I knew that I wouldn’t use or wear the things I bought but I bought them anyway. Most of those things, I no longer own.

I always wonder if I had a better sense of finance at a younger age, would I be in the financial state I’m in today? If I had lived a minimalistic lifestyle and only bought the necessities, would I have a savings or be able to afford a vacation? I think about these things often.

Advertisements on television are targeting certain groups of people; minorities and millennials. These two groups typically have no sense of financial knowledge and tend to fall into the trap of sales or products made to seem like “necessities”. I have fallen into that trap numerous times, seeing as how I am a minority and a millennial. My parents had no financial knowledge growing up so there was nothing to pass down to me or my brother.

I had to learn on my own about budgeting, not buying things just because I can, and that having a lot of stuff just shows how much money you wasted. I have been on a serious purge lately, getting rid of things that I have not touched in years. I am a huge fan of getting rid of things now and not buying new things to replace the old ones. I know some people have the philosophy that they will only buy something if they get rid of something to replace the new item with. That is absurd.

I got into minimalism because I had a bunch of crap, to put it plainly. If y’all could see some of the stuff I got rid of and how long I’ve had it, you would be surprised. Check out the video on my latest purge below.

What I am learning about minimalism is that the less you buy, the more money you have to pay off debts, which is something that I am doing. Being debt free is a huge goal for me and I really want to do that so I can afford an RV or tiny home in the next few years. With that, being a minimalist is a must. Both of these types of homes are small places and you can’t have a lot of stuff.

I want to really get this message out to my people that we need to stop buying stuff just because we can. We need to be satisfied with what we have and stop accumulating useless things. I encourage everyone who reads this to pick a day that you are off and go around your house. Pull everything out that you own and sort it into different piles; things you need, things to give away, things to throw away and tings to sell. You can thank me later.

Financial Peace and Minimalism,

Afro Hippie Vegan