Minimalism isn’t a destination. It isn’t a starting point. It is a journey to a more authentic self. Every journey, whether one around the world or towards a new philosophical lighthouse starts somewhere. Some people say it starts with a decisions, but I think everyone’s New Year’s resolutions tell us otherwise. A journey starts with leaving. Leaving your home or leaving the old (albeit safe) philosophical ground. This idea of a journey starting from a departure is perfectly captured in the 6 of Swords.
Looking at the RWS version of this card, you see a person steering a boat carrying two figures (one younger, the other shrouded) out of stormy waters and into a calmer space. The front of the boat is guarded by six swords. The traditional meaning is gradual change, moving out of chaos, or a journey away from pain. When you walk a minimalist path it is all of these things.
You can’t shed possessions without letting go of the what-if-item or that birthday card you mom gave you (way back in 1995) or that heirloom that your great-great-grandmother passed down (but you frankly hate and keep it in the bottom of the jewelry box so you never have to look at it). Every day we make the choice between hoarding and letting go. When you begin to actively pursue minimalism in your life, you start the journey by leaving behind all of the stuff you have been carrying with you.
This is the challenge of the card: Start by doing. Pick one item every day for 6 days and get rid of it. Don’t bag it to go to Goodwill or put it in a pile to sort through before you throw it away. Take it to the trash (or Goodwill) and get it out of your house. After 6 days, are you feeling more calm? Do you feel like the journey has actually started? It began with a choice. The choice to take action.