The Elegance of Minimalism

She effortlessly spins around with expert poise and unwavering balance. Beads of perspiration begin to form at the back of her neck, her heart thumping at an even pace against her thin chest as she pirouettes again and again. The warmth of the spotlight engulfs her entire being completely, bathing the dancer in not just the bright light, but the trembling emotions lit in the tender hearts of thousands watching her every move.

Her silhouette follows as she finishes in a graceful pose. Her gentle eyes lift up and she smiles the smile of a thousand angels.

She is elegant and she is one. She dances because she is. She is because she dances. If she does not dance, she perishes.

And so it is with the elegance of minimalism. Why do you think I reference it not just as a lifestyle choice, not just as an honest-to-goodness path to freedom, not just as a way to lighten the load on our carbon footprint in this world, but as the art of minimalism?

Art is elegant. Yet it cannot be denied that art is also crude, brash and uncompromising.

Art just is.

Minimalism just is.

The elegance of minimalism reflects the often splintered, poetically romantic, flawed, yet piercing truthful clarity that is the life of a minimalist.

The frost-bit twilight sky illuminated against the glistening freshly fallen snow as I walked around my silent neighborhood at 2 in the morning.

I thought deeply, as deep as my slow inhalations of the cold wintry air. As a minimalist for over 2 years now, I look far within myself, squinting to see the dim light at the end of the tunnel and ask myself time and time again:

Is minimalism a means to an end? And if so, what is the end? Do I even want an end? What am I searching for with this lifestyle? With this art?

The answer, though I had to wrestle it out of myself many times over, is a resounding me. I am looking for me. I am searching for me. I find myself through the creative art of minimalism. There is no ‘end’ as art has no end.

Think a painting is complete? It is only made complete in the human eye’s sense because that is when the artist decided to lay his or her paintbrush down and not touch the canvas one more time.

You see, art is never complete. This may seem like a disappointing revelation but it is the truth.

Our lives, even as a minimalist, is never complete. We don’t aim for perfect. We aim to just be.

A Minimalist Freedom Fighter (MFF) and radical minimalist are just 2 of the self-given titles. The real truth is, I have no title. Writer, author, painter, artist, minimalist, traveler, self-experimenter, philosopher, Karate Black belt, daughter, sister, friend, woman, human being, Chinese, American, millennial … all these are titles. Mere descriptions, at best.

The inherent beauty lies behind these societal titles. The flawed elegance of the person we truly are. We possess abundance. We possess amazing love, grace and harmony. To give and to receive. But we also possess hatred and jealously. We judge, we loathe, we condemn and exile.

And yet, I sigh deeply amidst the swirling turmoil and smile ever so slightly. Because this is all part of the elegant makeup of the human dynamic. I cannot change this fact but what I can change is my reaction or non-reaction to it.

People ask, ‘What’s in store for 2011? Any resolutions? Goals? Plans?’

… No.

I will create. That is what I will do. And I will never stop doing it so long as my creative self is alive and well within me. And even if it is not, create I must.

Like the elegant dancer mentioned at the beginning, I create because I am. I am because I create. If I don’t create, I perish.

I make my small mark in this world, sometimes in elegant and incredibly beautiful ways, and other times, in raw, fragile and broken means.

And I hope you will too. You need not be perfect. Your minimalist lifestyle – your art – need not be perfect. You – and your minimalism – are elegant and beautiful, even if everyone around you says otherwise.


If you are in Chicago next Thursday, December 30, we have an incredible gathering of powerful change makers including myself, Colin Wright, Everett Bogue, Joel Runyon, Mark Lawrence, CJ Anyasor, and many more. Everett and I are hosting this event together. Contact me on , or for specifics.

Wishing you and yours a very happy and harmonious Christmas this year. The best gift of all: love.

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