One thing I have observed in the past few years is the new trend of Americans wanting to embrace minimalism in homes. There are many books of Eastern philosophy about how materialism is not good for humans, but much of American culture is about consumerism and materialism from the beginning.
So I am very interested to see so many trendy books, including one by a Japanese author about how to make a ritual out of decluttering your home. She talks about how to give your old possessions a ceremonial farewell and thanking them for their service to you. It was a best-seller in the New York Times.
I think that this is all very good for Americans to learn. I am not pretending to be a model citizen in any way, but one of the blessings I have found from my time in “limbo” between Palestine and Louisiana is that I have become much less attached to my possessions. I have learned to live with less.
This is an idea I like very much. I have seen many other immigrants in my community who have struggled to get by because they want to be like Rich Americans. They buy televisions and jewelry and big cars but still they cannot properly feed their children. It is wrong.
I have been very conservative about buying possessions here. My wife and I could only bring two small packs of things to America and many were lost along the way or taken by customs agents. When we arrived we were very poor. We did not have much aside from a bed and meals in our apartment. It makes you focus on the important things in your life. Family, food, laughter. When you have fewer things, you have better relationships with each thing in your life. They each have an important purpose or you would not keep them.
You should invest in these things because they are the only ones that cannot be taken away.
This is perhaps to restore the American “spring cleaning” event. If you clean regularly, you find excess things to get rid of, or dirt to clean away so you can live more cleanly and comfortably.
You may be interested to hear that we in Palestine make a ritual of cleaning the home before prayers. In Islam it is ungodly to keep a dirty floor. So sweeping is almost part of prayers. Sweeping makes you feel like you are taking care of your house. You clean everything, and remove things from the floor to get them out of your way. It is the same approach you must take to your life.
Of course, here is much easier. I have discovered the power of American vacuums and I use them to keep my home spotless. My wife loves our vacuum. I found it for her on bestcheapvacuum.club, after searching hashtags.
It seems to me that the biggest thing to do to be happier in this time now is to de-clutter, so to speak, in your life. This makes sense to me. I am a bit of what you might call OCD so cluttered places make my mind cluttered and nothing is easy to do. This also makes me feel like there is less chaos and uncertainty which is what I have tried to get away from in my life.
As a person from a place that is in conflict I have also seen the benefit of aid workers and aid supplies sent by America. I understand that many people feel like they do not have more to give to other people in the world. However, it seems to me that many people live with excess and all those things take money. There are so many better uses for extra money than an extra TV. I think that ordinary Americans would be very surprised to learn how much difference they might make by sending even a small amount of money to help others instead of buying extra things.
But if Americans learn to live with less, I do not think they sacrifice the quality of life. All these books and many studies prove the reverse. So you will do better, and have more resources to give to meaningful things like aid overseas and to fix important things in America through charity and giving.
Here is to this trend of minimalism and de-cluttering continues. It is good for all of us.