Share the Zen!

     Welcome to Minimalist Zen, your new favorite stop for organized random thoughts, recipes and any other exciting trouble we can find. Writing has always been a passion for me and was always the dream career I wanted to have. Like so many other people though, I let the world dictate what I was “suppose” to do and ended up pursuing the ever elusive 9 to 5 “normal” job. During that time, I married a wonderful man with whom I am still with 100 years later. We produced two amazing sons, now 26 and 18. I kept busy with motherhood and jobs and even ran my own home-based Bath and Body business for 12 years (Enchanted Potions if you are familiar with it) In 2009, my husband was deployed to Iraq and became extremely sick while there. Because he was unable to work at that point, I had to close my business and go back to that office job world that did nothing for me but provide a paycheck. I had no self worth. I felt stifled. The job had no room for advancement nor room for creativity. I began to search, both in the job world and within my soul. Perhaps it’s a mid-life thing…I am 47 after all…but I knew I didn’t want to work a 2nd shift office job forever. I made a list of what I actually enjoy doing. I searched jobs with those attributes at companies that appreciate those talents. The problem: None of those places are in or around Chattanooga, TN. Most of the employees for those companies are about 22 or most of those companies expect degrees. I could go back to school That IS still an option I haven’t crossed out yet but even that doesn’t quite feel right.

     And so…that brings us to Minimalist Zen. Thank you for sticking with me thus far through my long-winded tirade. It’s been a long road so I actually could write about 12000 more paragraphs. I won’t put you through that though. After all, I’m hoping you’ll come back and visit me often. Boring you, is not the way to do that!

     The Minimalist Part: Several years ago, after my husband got sick and came home from Iraq, there was confusion with his military pay vs his VA pay. Long story short: we ended up losing our 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 story with a garage home. We had lived there 10 years and had accumulated a lot. As we packed and tried to figure out how much would fit into a 2 bedroom apartment, I realized how much of what we owned was either: never used or just plain junk. I tried to have yard sales and barely anyone came and those who did showed little interest in my junk. On the last weekend before the bank was to take possession, we still had twelve tons of stuff in the house. My husband, still not in top form suffering from PTSD as well as physical limitations was, understandably, not much help. I was working full time so it was difficult for me to find the time to get anything done. I decided one morning to put a sign up out front that simply said : Moving: Everything is FREE! The response to this was overwhelming. Dozens of cars stopped. People asked if we really lived there. Many people asked why Free. They could not believe anyone would open up a house and tell strangers to come get it. One couple even thought we were some kind of new age home burglars. Some who heard our story were livid about a Bank doing this to a Vet and his family. Some had kind words for us. In those moments, of these people I did not know traipsing through my home that had once been so filled with love and joy, filled with memories and traditions I had an epiphany. It’s difficult to explain the joy that filled my heart. I suppose the greatest way to help you visualize it is to liken it to The Grinch, that morning after he had stolen all the holiday goodies from the Whos. These strangers were so HAPPY with the treasures they were finding throughout my home. I was really making the days of these people! One couple needed a new stove but could not afford one and here I was offering them one free. Another man asked about a rabbit hutch in back my husband had made by hand. He said he had been thinking of raising chickens and could convert that easily and I had made up his mind about doing it. Another lady was a plant lover and actually asked if she could dig up some of our plants. Sure! What did I care? The bank was going to sell our home for 1/4 of what we were paying. My hurt, my anger, my sorrow all disappeared that day and I realized how light my heart and my life was with all that “stuff” gone off to new happy homes. We moved into our new apartment with a recliner, 2 lawn chairs, 2 computer desks, our computers, some kitchen items, family pictures and a few clothes. We bought air mattresses to sleep on. We essentially were starting completely over and it was the most liberating thing that has ever happened in my existence. We have more now of course but still, to this day, I make sure if something is not used, liked or enjoyed, it moves on to a new home. Try it!

The Zen: With the discovery of how good minimalism felt and how the act of giving made my heart so happy I found I wanted to see what else I could discover to bring me this euphoric feeling I was embracing. Enter Yoga. For Valentine’s Day one year my husband humored me and attended a couples Yoga class with me. I had done a little bit of Yoga from home. It was just a pose here and there, mainly on our Wii. (You can laugh, it’s funny) I am extremely introverted and shy and this was a MAJOR step outside my comfort zone. It also didn’t help that we are an overweight middle age couple and all the other couples in this class were perfectly toned and fit late 20 and early 30 somethings. They were adorable but we felt like almonds in a pecan pie. We participated though, as far and as much as we could stretch, bend or lean. We had a good time and we laughed. I felt no judgement from the other students. I was in my element and I signed up for a beginners class, even including my son and husband. It was painful. Anyone who laughs at Yoga has never done Yoga. My husband and son bailed after the beginners class but I attended a few more on my own. I always felt welcomed but still had that out of place thing happening so I have since tried to work on it from home. I am clumsy with no balance and those really pretty smoothly flowing Yoga people you always see in videos are ads don’t resemble me in the least. It is better I keep my practice to myself. I also continue to educate myself on meditation and clean eating. This is my Zen. Your Zen might be something entirely different. That is the beauty of both Minimalism and your Zen…like a fingerprint, they are unique to you.

The Rest: Another aspect to my desire to create this blog, and that which will probably become the main focus is my love of film (mainly Horror movies) and cooking. I find some of my best Zen moments in the kitchen. I love to chop things up. It’s therapeutic and meditation like for me. I may post some favorite recipes I find or I may create something special I’ve been thinking of. Please feel free to suggest a movie/recipe combo you’d like to see come alive at Minimalist Zen or point me in the direction of something new to try.

Thank you for getting to know me. Please feel free to drop me a note. I am always happy to answer any questions you might have or just chat. I love conversation!

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