Friday, April 23, 2010

On Being Zen

A couple of months ago, when I was dreaming about what sort of place we would live in after our move, I looked into various design ideas. I immediately loved minimalism. After having helped other people move, clean out a house after a death, and growing up with a crawl space full of unused things, I've decided that it's just better to not own anything. A couple of months ago there was a visiting teaching message about stewardship and in a discussion about it, someone mentioned that having something, but not using it is another way to not demonstrate good stewardship over what we've been blessed with. That resonated with me and so I've been decluttering and getting rid things we don't need. You'd be surprised what you can accumulate in a less than 400 sq ft studio.

How does that related to being Zen? Well, in my search for homes that use minimalism, I ran into ZenHabits. I really like that blog and it covers a lot of topics I've been thinking about lately: minimalism, going barefoot full-time, and just focusing on the moment.

Over the last couple of months, I've also read a couple of related books.

The first was Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful which is full of meditations for pregnancy and preparing for childbirth. I've done a few: mostly the ones for back pain and opening your pelvis. There are also meditations for approaching birth fears and working on patience. I definitely don't have the time to sit and meditate all day (nor could I physically do that!) but it's been nice when I wake up at 2 in the morning and I can't get back to sleep. There's even a meditation for helping you sleep.

The second was Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting. It is also based on a Zen philosophy. It's kind of long, but I found that I could read a paragraph in my small amount of free time and that would help me stay calm and patient with Margaret until I could get another paragraph in. I really liked the emphasis that meditation isn't the goal, but a tool. You can practice being "in the moment" even if you don't have 15 minutes to meditate. I've spent more time lately just breastfeeding or just reading a book with Margaret instead of letting my brain wander to all the other things going on.

It's been nice to relax a little and after our move, I'll be trying a few more of those meditations and working more on preparing for the birth.

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Gentle Parent - art by Erika Hastings at


  1. I've read Everyday Blessings too. It's a lovely book. And I hear you about accumulating too much stuff. We're moving this summer ourselves and I am looking forward to turfing a lot of what we own. The house we are moving into is also smaller and doesn't have a garage. Our current home has SO MUCH STORAGE (especially in our garage) that we can be the biggest pack rats and you can't really tell. Luckily my hubby is getting into minimizing. Or should I say "finally" getting into minimizing. I'm looking forward to see his new beliefs put into action though!

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