Today, while vacuuming (many great ideas started there), I started thinking about our participation in the physical world. Our interactions with things we own; how we tend to them, how we care about them.
Everything physical we own in our lives has a basic monetary value. Almost anything can be sold in exchange for money. Yet, we usually evaluate things on two different scales: usefulness, and sentiment. Let's do a little thought experiment. Ask yourself: what are the most important things in my living space? For me, most of them score high on both of these scales; fridge, stove, the toilet, shower - very useful. Photos (both of our family and the art I made), influential books, past journals, tokens of the past (like the guitar I played when I was younger) - very sentimental.
Most of these things require much interaction from me. Sure, once in a while, the fridge might break. Or photos might need to be put in a newer frame. But, all in all, these things can be left where they are, and how they are for a long time.
Participation doesn't mean solely using the things - I use the stove so damn often! Participation is signified through how often we clean, care, and repair those important things we own. The place they hold in the overall space is pretty important, too; it matter whether the things are lost under a mountain of noise, or they're in a designated, meaningfully created place.
No matter how I think about this, minimalism always comes into the conversation. The formula is very simple:
The less things you own = the more you can participate with every single one of them.
Caring about our valuable physical possessions is not only good for our happiness (reinforces positive feelings through our surroundings), but also for mental clarity. Because we know why we own things, and we care about them deeply, exhibiting that care every day, actions become much easier. There is less friction, so to say.
Just think about this: everything in this world is made up of the same atoms as you. No matter if it moves, lives, does something, or does not, it still is a part of this universe. Let's give it meaning, and respect.
Because that is what we all like to receive.