Minimally Primal? What’s with that?

With the creation of this new blog, it seems apt to explain the title: ‘Minimally Primal’.  Those who are close to me can probably figure it out, and are probably sick of seeing the word ‘primal’ on everything I have done for the past several years. My first blog, which I began my freshman year of college, was aptly called The Primal Insomiac. Blending my interest in primal living, with the fact that I often posted late into the hours of the morning. I started this new blog to step away from my earlier writings and ideas as I push forward into adulthood.

Let’s examine the two words that I derived this title from, which both are of important relevance to my life today, and my outlook on the world.

Minimal/Minimalist

  • min·i·mal·ist
  • [ mínnəm’list ]
  1. advocate of smaller role for government: somebody who advocates restricting the power and goals of something, especially somebody who wishes to limit the role of government
  2. practitioner of artistic minimalism: somebody whose works of art, literature, or music display the simplicity associated with minimalism
  3. providing minimum amount: providing only the least amount that is needed

The emboldened third, is the closest to the definition which I use for my life. I became interested in minimalist living early in my college career, after discovering the works of Leo Babauta over at Zenhabits and Mnmlist. I was also inspired at the time (and to this day) by the famous quotes of Henry David Thoreau:

“Our lives are frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail.” 

and further, Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his response to the above Thoreau quote: 

“Don’t you think one ‘simplify’ is enough?”

Today there are hundreds, maybe thousands of blogs out there about minimalist living. I can say with certainty that there are about as many definitions of what minimalist living is, as there are blogs based upon the idea. From living strictly with less than 100 material items, to living and traveling with nothing more than a backpack, I chose to take a lighter approach. To me, minimalist living means distilling life down to its core purposes by not clouding life with excess material possessions. Does this mean that I go and throw out my skis, or my camping gear because I don’t use it every day? Of course not. Instead, to me, it implies that I own a single pair of skis, or a single fishing pole, because that’s all that is really needed for me to do what I enjoy. 

So often I see people get wrapped up in the ‘things’ associated with the activities that they love the most. So much so, that the collection of associated ‘things’ becomes more of a hobby than the activity that the gear is supposed to support. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, aside from rampant consumerism and materialism, but I think it’s important to ask oneself: “Do I really enjoy fishing? Or the collection of fishing gear?”.  I have certainly fallen into the gear-junkie trap from time to time, but eventually pull myself out and re-examine my purpose.

Minimalism is a means to a more purpose and activity driven life, not an end in itself.

Now, you may ask, “this primal business, what’s that about?”

Primal Living, as I may refer to it from time to time, I first learned about from the works of Mark Sisson, over at Marks Daily Apple. Primal Living refers to the diet and lifestyle inspired by our hunter-gatherer ancestors. The Primal Diet is very similar, and I use it relatively interchangeably with the Paleo diet. Most everyone within the fitness community today has heard of these, or similar diets. 

I began experimenting with the primal diet my freshman year of college, and since then have relapsed time and again. To eat like our ancestors, eschewing most grains, legumes and starchy carbohydrates, is to me still the best way to fuel my body. I derive my approach from several similarly inspired resources, such as Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Body, Dave Asprey’s  Bulletproof Exec, and Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint. All three of these health and fitness gurus have vastly different styles, and all have large amounts of free information available via blogs and podcasts. 

As a side note, to anyone who has ever seen the “aboriginal” tattoo on my leg, the little guy is known as “Grok” in the primal community, and you can learn about the symbol here. The funny part of my tattoo story, is that I got the tattoo after viewing many such tattoos as part of a contest on Mark Sisson’s blog. Unbeknownst to me, all of the tattoos in the photos were temporary tattoos… while mine is forever permanent (I didn’t discover that the others were fake until nearly two years later!). I guess the lesson is to not take life, or yourself, too seriously.

So there you have it, Minimally Primal. The combination of my interest in both living minimally, and being constantly inspired both those who have come before us. There will be much more on both topics coming in the future! Any questions or ideas are always welcome 🙂

With love, until next time.

-G

 

 

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