Thanks to my colleague Hana Asbrink, I have Mustard in mind. Not the kind that we were going to embellish all the pretzels of this weekend for Oktoberfest, but the kind of Berlin minimalist star based in Berlin: Jenny Mustard.
Jenny Mustard is a self-proclaimed "Swedish vegan feminist in Berlin", whose minimalist decor, vegan diet and lifestyle advice are so useful that they've earned her YouTube channel of nearly 350,000 followers. She and her partner David work full time on their YouTube channels, Instagram accounts, blogs and podcasts. Hana introduced me only a week ago and I've already seen dozens of her videos, sometimes. Mustard is frank, honest and above all practical: his words are designed to be thoughtfully thought out and applied to his life, rather than kept at a safe distance together with all the other beautiful aspirational ideas that never seem to come together in one working day. . He just published a book, Simple issues: the Scandinavian approach to work, home and style, is full of ideas and suggestions that we can not wait to go into.
An argument that Mustard does not avoid social media. In fact, he put together a defense of social media, explaining how his Internet-oriented career is an integral part of how he sees and appreciates beauty in his everyday life. He agreed to elaborate on this subject and, in particular, how he is able to remain present while addressing a large social media audience.
Ella Quittner: as a starting point, what is your personal definition of being aware? How about being present? Do you think they are the same thing?
Jenny Mustard: To be honest, I do not know much about awareness as a concept, since it's not something I've ever experienced a particular attraction. I love the feeling of being there, and usually comes to mind when you are in one of two situations. The first is that every time I find myself in that state of flow, where creativity comes easily, I am completely absorbed in my work projects and pop-pop-like ideas. It could very well be my favorite mood.
The second situation is every time I look at something beautiful – usually a well-written novel, but also elegant films, beautiful buildings, well-dressed people on the street, or whatever attracts my imagination. I think that seeing something beautiful, beautiful or harmonious aesthetically calms me and brings me back to the present.
EQ: I loved your video on how social media (and Instagram in particular) allow you to better see and appreciate beauty in everyday life, even when you're not photographing what you're watching. How do you stay in your daily life when your professional activities involve thinking about how to frame or package your current experience for later consumption by a third party?
JM: It can be really difficult to stay there when you're always looking for content, angles, backgrounds and interesting things to capture and talk about in front of an audience. But my personal goal is not to always be present. I love thinking about the future and planning in advance. Goals and results are constantly in the back of my mind and I find that it helps me to remain passionate about having dreams for the future. And every time I'm taking pictures, I usually get that creative flow and I find myself involved in the moment, more attentive to the actual aesthetics or value of the material I'm creating, than to the feedback I'll get when I publish on social media.
That said, I often remember that it is healthy to put the camera and see things with your own eyes. Some things I decide to be just for my eyes and not to be captured for an audience. We realized that every time we create content, we work to get the material we need first, then put down the camera and simply enjoy the place we are visiting.
EQ: of course, nobody is able to remain present all time! Do you have any advice on how to "start over" to be present when you realize you have been involved in a different mentality?
JM: Reading always works for me. It's the easiest way to refocus, since it's a solitary activity that requires your full attention. If your thoughts are scattered, you will not be able to create a mental picture of what you are reading. I think that all activities that require the active use of your imagination (such as reading), instead of passively consuming someone else's imagination (such as movies or your Instagram feed), are good ways to refocusing.
EQ: What do you think are the main ways in which a minimalist lifestyle contributes to awareness? Do you know that you talked about how your definition of minimalism deliberately includes the possession of the objects you own, how it extends to the intangible, how reflexive behaviors and practices? (In this same sense, are there behaviors / practices that you actively seek to avoid?)
JM: Since minimalism is all simplistic, in whatever way you deem necessary or useful, it has been a huge help to me in giving priority. It's easy to find yourself doing too many things at the same time, feeling overwhelmed and unable to devote all your attention to the things that interest you the most. I have become very attentive to how I spend my time and energy, giving priority only to the things I really want to do, or I feel somewhat comfortable. We often feel the pressure to do things because we should, or because it is expected of us. I stopped worrying about those expectations and decided that it was fine for me to focus on things that are precious to me. Life is too short for "should".
EQ: What made you decide to embrace a minimalist lifestyle? C & # 39; was it only a moment or did it happen gradually? Has your partner already practiced a minimalist lifestyle when you met him, or did he embrace you through your relationship?
JM: It was never a decision, actually. I've always been a minimalist, even though I have not always used that word for it. I have a very overactive mind, so I am attracted to simplicity, whether it creates a calm and tranquil home, that simplifies my habits and behavior, or stays away from the crazy shopping expenses.
My partner David was not a minimalist when I met him, though. For him, it was a gradual process that became inevitable because of our semi-nomadic lifestyle. Moving countries or cities every three or four years is made more exhausting than you have. I think it's a process for both of us to find a balance in which we feel light and not burdened by useless things, while appreciating at the same time possessing the things that make life easier, more beautiful, pleasant and more comfortable. What things, and how many – this is something that varies greatly from person to person, but also from different stages of life.
EQ: C & # 39; is anything else you think I should know about how you're present?
JM: Passion is a key concept for me. When I am passionate about what I do, being present comes naturally and I never have to worry about being focused or slowing down or appreciating what I have around me. When you find your passion, many other things tend to fall into place.
This interview has been modified and condensed for clarity.
Do you have a favorite tactic to stay present or return to the present when your mind wanders? Let us know in the comments!