Minimalism vs. Essentialism

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These two words, and the concepts they represent, have been squatting on some pretty prime real estate in my heart and brain, lately. I’m still plugging through back episodes of The Lively Show and being inspired towards things like simplicity, intention, efficiency, and authenticity, and I’m reading Jen Hatmaker’s 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, and I’m having conversations with friends and family about de-cluttering and eliminating excess. I’ve been working on perfecting my summer capsule wardrobe, and helping my husband with his, and going through other drawers and cabinets and storage containers around the house, getting rid of things that we don’t love. I have a capsule wardrobe collaboration coming up, and hopefully some more similar projects. Life in general continues to invoke deeper meaning, the longer I live.

I’ll definitely have to post a full-fledged book review of 7 once I’m finished with it, so I’ll save my ramblings on that for now. But that, along with the Essentials issue of Kinfolk Magazine I was reading while we were camping the other weekend, the conversation I had with my friend Jenny on the way home from the beach yesterday, and an article I read online last evening, have distracted my thinking for much of the day.

The aforementioned article was called The Problem With Minimalism. The title caught my eye as I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed, and since it was posted by a friend whose opinions I value and admire, I decided to check it out. (If you haven’t opened that link in a new tab by now, do it before you scroll down any further!) It’s a somewhat lengthy but easy-read discussion of the elitist persona that minimalism tends to incur, which put into words some of the struggle I’ve been wrestling with as I’ve been getting rid of things. Also, as one commenter on my Facebook post noted, it evaluates both sides of the spectrum without demoralizing either one.

The Kinfolk issue referenced “essentialism” as an alternative to minimalism. It’s maybe mostly a splitting of hairs terminologically, but the difference between the two is realizing, investing in, and hanging onto the things that are “essential” to each of our individual versions of “the good life” as opposed to trying to “make do” with as few things as possible (in some cases, even assigning a number to that goal, i.e. The 100 Things Project).

If the process of letting go of material possessions in order to create more time and energy for people, for the things we really love, and for the Creator and His Creation is something you’re intrigued by, that particular article and that particular magazine (Issue 16) are some of my most highly recommended reading. You can also click here for a few other resources I referenced a couple weeks ago.

What’s been inspiring you towards a higher quality of life lately? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The Life-Changing Power of Chiropractic Care

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Chiropractic care is popular in our area of the country. Here in Lancaster, we have plenty of practitioners to choose from, and I’ve always known a number of friends and relatives who get monthly adjustments. But I’d never been to one myself until just five years ago, after I suffered a concussion during an intense game of volleyball.

Since I was still complaining of headaches more than a month after the incident had occurred, friends urged me to try a chiropractor. I was reluctant, believing that if I went once, I’d become “addicted.” I wasn’t interested in making room for such an expense in my budget, especially since the modest salary I received from my employment at a small Christian school at the time didn’t allow for many “extras.” But once I gave in, I quickly realized how worthwhile the cost would be.

A co-worker and close friend of mine referred me to Family Chiropractic of Lancaster, a father/son-owned practice near my home. On my first visit to their office, I easily sensed their commitment to holistic health (of which I knew very little, at the time) and natural well-being. My doctor and his staff take the importance of education very seriously, and that day began my journey of learning the role of the spine and its effect on the rest of the body and on general health.

In a nutshell, here’s what I’ve learned about chiropractic care:

  • Varied, frequent stress on our incredible backbones (because our bodies work so hard!) cause minor misalignments in the spine.
  • These subluxations, as the misalignments are called, affect every system of the body — causing pain and dysfunction, and generally impairing the body’s ability to heal itself.
  • Regular chiropractor adjustments to the spine help to restore the spine’s proper alignment.
  • A properly-aligned spine is a key element to living a healthy life.

Needless to say, my fear of needing to return to the chiropractor regularly was realized — but I don’t regret it. Not only do my monthly visits relieve my muscle tension and stiffness, but my immune system is much stronger and my body recovers from illness and injury significantly faster. And when X-rays are done, I can see the curve in my spine caused by the scoliosis I was born with receding!

Chiropractic care is something I highly recommend when I hear about things like debilitating headaches, frequent cold/flu viruses, and fussy newborns (yes, that arduous journey through the birth canal can and most often does put a baby’s spine out of alignment)! If it’s something you’d like to hear more about, I’m happy to share more of my experience.

What about you? Have you had a positive experience with chiropractic treatment?