The Onion Girl: Peeling Away the Unnecessary

Photo by: ©Beth Ortman Studio

Photo by: ©Beth Ortman Studio

First I took away the label of "artist" and then I thought about what to purge next... This is the idea that came out of the fog as I have been working out defining my quest to pull my dharma out from the shadows. 

My idea of dharma is about aligning oneself with their purpose. What I am here to do. For me, dharma involves merging the micro and the macro, the personal and the universal. I have been looking at the minimalist culture for awhile and in addition to the removal of stuff and excess, I am also looking at the paradigm for how to build each day around dharma. Minimalism can also be about refining and peeling away the layers of the ego, the false self. These layers are like an onion. Each layer represents fear, addiction, personal stories, false selves, etc. Instead of buying things, or looking outward for some level of comfort or internal affirmation, I have been stripping away those notions in order to look inwards at purpose. It is tough. The foundation is unsteady and I am starting to venture into the realm of faith.

When watching TV to numb us no longer works and boredom rears its ugly head, what are we left with? A consumer culture wants to remind us that we are missing things, that we are incomplete. We have stores, Container Store, for example, that tell us how to store our unwanted or unnecessary things. A box store of boxes. And it is a wildly successful place. There are things to buy, successes to achieve, money to make. But if we look around honestly, we can recognize that these make up the very things that make us unhappy.

This is super overwhelming and it is a tough place to be when trying to work out a way that does not involve this stuff. If we look inwards and ask "What am I here for?", there is a responsibility of choice to follow that voice or ignore it. For me, over the last 2-3 years, I have made this a priority. It is not something that happens over night and it is not something that will be a light switch solution but it is a wildly rewarding hardship.

I am asking these questions: What does your day look like when the need to run in circles working for others is removed? What does it look like to work for yourself? What can you remove in order to utilize time and within those hours align with your purpose? What are you doing each day that will elevate your reason to be here so that others are part of that energy? What does a day look like when you remove the "self" and use your purpose in a universal way? There is something really important that comes from this. The idea of personal self opens to universal self. Our actions affect each other. If we are kinder to ourselves, we are kinder to each other. For me, my path belongs to defining how art breeds compassion.





Looking at Minimalism (just not in my artwork)

 In the Minimalists book, "Everything That Remains", the authors talk about how they moved into their minimalist lifestyle and how they use their blog to receive an income. The authors Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, talk about passion and how they are living their life. Reading about the minimalist lifestyle brings into question, "What are we working for?" and how can we merge the job and the career.


There is a great quote that really spoke to how I make art...

"Progress requires practice and dedication and, to a certain extent, a healthy obsession. Hence, passion is a mixture of love and obsession."

I think there is  huge benefit in looking at that statement and making an effort to align with what you want to do on a day to day bases. What do you want to have as your legacy, what are your ideals, what will we pass to our children? There is also effort, struggle and the satisfaction when things go right that you did show up and you did feel the alignment of what you are meant to do. Chasing those moments is where the creative magic lives.

Contemplating the minimalist lifestyle opens up a world to meeting people, defining your schedule and pursuing your passions with integrity, And though they are very romantic notions in our current society, there is a huge thread of credibility and reality in them. And a realistic path to get there.

In the meantime, I will make art, I will improve my skills and it will be the introduction into new places, ideals, and people.

The Book: Everything that Remains: A Memoir by the Minimalists >>

The Blog:  The Minimalists >>


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