Minimalism to the Extreme

Minimalism to the Extreme
Tiny House Blog - Living Simply in Small Spaces

By Patrick Clark

Patrick Clark will be joining us for a series on extreme minimalism, chronically his experience choosing to live tiny closer to nature. I hope you enjoy Patrick's unique contribute to the blog. This is Part 1…

When I think of my proverbial 'happy place' it is out under the big blue sky either in a desert, wind swept prairie, or mountain top. It isn't any one place. It is the world. It is all those incredible places of roaring wild nature that I have not yet seen, as well as just one place that the sun rises a little different every day and the stars travel across the sky a little different each night.

I had already figured out how to pack enough basic necessities to hit the road or the trail for several days, visit friends, do fun things. Abandoning the need to be somewhere, at least for awhile. But there was this huge riff between being on my road trips and backpacking trips and being back at the house.

The author's tipi in the South Toe Valley of Yancey County. The Black Mountain Range is in the distance. The tipi sides are rolled up on a sunny day like movable walls.

I had whittled my lifestyle and belongings down to one car full of knock down, modular furniture. My friends said all I needed was a modular house to go with it.

I started thinking about minimalizing my lifestyle so I could spend more time in these places. I guess you could say I had wonderlust. But it was more than that. I wanted to experience nature more directly. I wanted to FEEL more. It seemed like there must be some place in between a solid house and a backpacking tent that would protect me sufficiently but not numb everything out—not box me in.

I started thinking about how structure and function are intricately related to a design. It was a good way to occupy myself during that one hour lying awake in the middle of the night. Just how far could a person take minimalism? I mean, not as a way of deprivation. But how far could a person take minimalism as a valid lifestyle, 'style,' or practice without compromise and hardship?

partially set up tipi

And I didn't want to be on the road all the time. I still had to work and maintain my responsibilities. I wanted a base on the land that put me up against nature but didn't require I travel and move camp all the time.

What is a house really for anyway—from a systems approach? For me, the main thing a house provides is psychological stability and a place to put things. But I found I felt more 'at home' in the park or on the trail. What was that all about? What happened was, something shifted in my consciousness.

I reached a point where I really did feel like I took everything with me that was important wherever I go. I no longer needed that psychological stability or reference point of returning somewhere. In fact, it was exciting to actually not go 'back' somewhere. I was already somewhere. And I really loved being in sacred places in nature as well as visiting people I loved to be with. So having an abode to pay for and maintain became somewhat of a noose around my neck.

inside of tipi

Two things about minimalism are 1) less finances required to maintain my lifestyle and 2) less time dealing with belongings and property (maintenance and upkeep). So how could I design a lifestyle that would provide the maximum opportunity to travel, explore the world and be in nature?

If my 'home' was really in my heart, then theoretically at least, I could be at home anywhere. So if that was the case, then the only thing lacking was a system to take care of my needs like clothing, food, and shelter.

I talked to a few friends about my silly daydreams, and usually the response was something like, "Oh, I couldn't do without my creature comforts."

And I was baffled. I would tell them they were taking it the wrong way. Actually, it was the opposite. How could one ENHANCE life by letting go of the parts that aren't actually serving and or are hindering one from a more satisfying experience? I was talking about putting creature comforts BACK IN.

In cold or wet weather, it is comforting to be indoors. But on a sunny day or a starry night, the outdoors are where the 'creature comforts' are. You can't have it all. And actually, I wasn't all that sure wet and cold was all that bad. All of nature has something to offer, a beautiful gem or gift each of it's own unique power. That's why the Teachings of the Four Directions and the Medicine Wheel are all about taking in and appreciating the whole of life, and finding our own place in the whole. Winter is strong medicine. Why do we shut it out?

ceiling of tipi

I felt like civilization had gone too far. I was feeling so cut off from a huge part of life. The ever flowing stream of beauty and energy I felt from the night sky or the water singing over the rocks. Why couldn't I just be out there all the time? If it was as simple as maintaining food, shelter and clothing, then what kind of system could provide that realistically?

I was feeling like my house was overbuilt. I mean, it protects from weather and is a warm, dry, safe place to live. But I found myself constantly trying to get away from the house so I could smell the fresh morning fog, or watch the sunrise, or listen to the birds.

But…but…but…what about the fears of nature—bugs, rain, cold, physical hardship? These ran up against the feeling of being cut off from nature. Do these problems really exist? Could I face my fears of nature and overcome them to find I had been my whole life hiding from nothing and missing what was really important to me?

Something in me wanted to become a warrior. I would have to become that to leave the soft warm bed and consistency and comforting routine of a 'home'. Actually, over the period of several years, I had been training my body/mind to become strong and resilient. It kind of started with exploring how to be able to sleep on hard surfaces. (See Sweet Dreams on a Hard Surface).

The quest took me to other areas of research related to diet and metabolism and regenerative energy. I was not getting any younger. I had to figure out how to make my primary vehicle last longer and perform better. I had more I wanted to do than I could do in the average lifetime. And living outdoors and on the trail required stamina and energy beyond the modern lifestyle.

I kept turning up amazing revelations and discoveries, such as finding how to sleep well anywhere feeling refreshed and energized, how to optimize blood sugar so I never crashed, how to get my body to generate heat so I could stay warm outside even in the dead of winter. (Stay tuned for upcoming articles). And the one theme that ran through all these health breakthroughs was: put the body in as much of it's primordial, natural habitat as possible. Use resistance alternating with rest and recuperation, eat foods grown only in the climate and in season where I live (Paleolithic Diet), follow the natural cycles of the sun by avoiding artificial lighting, and don't believe the limitations placed on you by other people and the established paradigms.

With this new way of thinking that was growing in me, I realized a systems approach to minimalism actually starts with the body. That is the lowest common denominator, the center of the universe, the thing the other things need to revolve around. If you break down building biology to its most basic component, it is the body. And comfort is not always the best thing for the body. Resistance is also needed—actually essential for vitality. All of these principles and insights from various places were creating a whole system that was building my new lifestyle. My sleep was incredible, my eyesight was getting better so I could see things without glasses, I was calm, my mind was sharper, my body was getting strong and robust. As I kept casting off more and more trappings of civilization, I felt better and better. All this technology and trouble over gadgets and flashy new inventions was highly over rated. The more I explored minimalism and primitivism, the more I saw–there were NO DISADVANTAGES. At what point did we get the wool pulled over our eyes?
If my house was mostly a storage unit and kitchen, was there some middle ground between a house and no house that would provide a direct experience with nature?

Cultures who were or are nomadic are a really great place to start. Why reinvent the wheel? When we think of design for buildings and furniture, the realm of nomadics is not even considered. Nomadic dwellings are in a realm of design that crosses the borders between textile and hard materials. It is neither clothing nor is it carpentry. It is akin to a kite that has exteme needs for the two opposing elements of lightness and strength.

But the dwelling was only a PART of the design. The real design challenge was a system for getting basic processes accomplished like cooking, bathing, sleeping and washing the clothes.

As silly and perhaps flawed as my childlike musings were, I could not help but think how flawed everything around me already seemed. We spend all day in the house and office, then go out for a little walk in the park. Why couldn't it be the other way around? Like–we go in the office or house for a little bit everyday, and spend the majority out where the incredible life is overflowing with beauty and abundance? Especially with laptop computers and cell phones, what is still keeping us all indoors so much?

Follow more of Patrick Clark writing here.

Tipi poles curing in sun.
Tipi poles curing in sun.

It was worth a try. I didn't have to prove anything. I would just test my hypothesis. It might work, or I might just get some insights into why it didn't work.

And would I be ashamed to tell people I lived in a tipi? I mean, wow, look at that. Would they call me 'homeless'? Would they say I am stooping too low, and have more potential than that? As if the house proves something about one's abilities. Of course houses have been used for status symbols since time immemorial. But here I am, not believing in status structures, and worried about my self-esteem. So if judgement of others is the only thing left blocking me from following my creative process—I wouldn't give in.

I was out combing the mountain for 25 foot long birch trees. They had to be about 3" diameter at the bottom and 1.5" diameter at the 15' mark. I could not find a one to fit the description. They were way too fat on the bottom and not long enough. Then I found out they only grow that straight and tall on the NORTH FACING SLOPE. Bingo! Now I was in business.

Suddenly, the whole forest came alive! All these materials FREE for the taking. It was like a giant shopping mall. I felt so primivial, aboriginal. I felt like a man! The provider…Wandering around, observing nuances about trees I never even came close to noticing before. These trees were like company. I didn't feel alone. I was establishing a relationship with these beings. Carefully choosing each one and asking permission before cutting it down and dragging it several hundred yards to the soon-to-be camp. The next step was skinning them with a drawknife. They needed to air-dry for four weeks before using them. My old woodworking skills that I let go of years ago to join society and find a career were now coming in handy.

A house made of sticks, canvas, and dirt floor isn't going to provide much protection. What would it be like to be within inches of the rain? How would I keep the floor from becoming a swamp?

I was about to re-create history–to re-live my own personal idea of aboriginal technology. Could it be possible that something so old and primitive and flimsy would actually find a use in a modern setting? Or would it prove to be completely useless and impractical? Or would I find out modern living is worth leaving? I wanted to give it an honest evaluation from an experiential design and anthropological perspective. I believe it falls in the realm of Ethnographic Research. If nothing else, I would go too far…end up with my face in the dirt literally, and then find my way back to the right amount of protection from the elements.

I spent hours reading and re-reading the techniques for harvesting the poles and living in and erecting the tipi. I became fascinated with old historical photos of tipis showing these amazing people living in the most austere and serene settings. Now the entire Library of Congress Collection is online and available to us all. I could be a part of that. I even found an old film from 1920 showing actual tipi interiors and how the Native Americans set up their material culture. That was especially helpful in the SYSTEM for maintaining life in this nomadic way.

Original Article:

Brian Grainger. The Analog Botanist. Coppice Halifax. Milieu Music. Ambient Drone Awesum

The Analog Botanist. Coppice Halifax. Brian Grainger.  My favorite music maker in the world!! Enjoy :)

Beautiful Ambient Drone From the Home Normal Label. Happy dreamzzzzz


New Album: PA - 13.04.15 Dirt [tpd101]

This is the best album everrr.

Sonic Journal Entry #101

Change the World by Changing Yourself


So what is it to change oneself? For me it means being the change I wish to see. Which is doing what I love and nothing else, as much as possible. That I'm good enough the way I am now. That i always know best what is best for me, since I am me. Which has turned into, not having any money. Or at least not any more money than I need. Not having anything that I don't need. Being happy w what I have. Actually using what I already have to the fullest. Surrendering to the universe. Cause there's really not much else we can do but trust and continue on.

Learning how it is to be at the end of the stick/ bullies/ ignorance.
Learning empathy.
Learning to be calm in high stress environments. "This too shall pass".
Almost never eating. Questioning why we even do it. Knowing its just a drug. Even more, Poison.
Learning how to communicate.
Learning how to be happy with what I have.
Being happy where I am, before I go somewhere else.
That exercise exorcizes the demons out of us. Activity activates us.
That possession is the "normal" state. We our possessed by entities that use us as energy banks. They rape us all day everyday. A rape culture.
To take naps instead of feeding my emotions w food or exploiting others in any way.

You Got This Bro
That all products we buy are others suffering. It entraps others into "careers". When in reality we are multifaceted and should be able to change our minds at any time. And still have a house/ loving supportive community/ good food and water/ beauty/ inspiration/ the best technology physical mental emotional spiritual/ a clean environment. .. Etc.
That money is poverty/ entrapment.
That we are sharing this earth spaceship. One family. And nobody should "pay" to live on on it. That humans are intrinsically good/ loving and peaceful. Only culture teaches us fear. To rape us all. Bully culture.
We'll have to face our fears and boycott/ love up the hate virus until its changed into something that actually works/ is sustainable or it dies. There is no other choice and will only get worse till we do.

Guilt and shame. Victim blaming in a rape culture. Exploitation

Good luck to everyone on their earth journeys today.

I think the most viral "enemy" we have is "guilt and shame". I feel this is the victim blaming of rape culture. Keeps us from doing anything real. Perpetual state of superficial and meaningless bs. Us trying to achieve some unreal perfection state that is only a lie. Perfection is what's happening now as it is.

Yeah I feel it's good to contemplate what we do say think, so it doesn't hurt others, but comes a time to act and be impulsive. Make mistakes and fail often. Reflection afterwards will help us see what really helped or hurt. Being kind to ourselves but also vigilant, since time flies and death is always calling. Nobody knows better than you. Also you are the one that ultimately has to live w all of your decisions. Most of us just obeying out orders. Most of us just obeying out orders. Most of us just obeying out orders. Does rebelling against the freedom fighters make u feel important? That's a sure sign of self worth indeed. yes Making our everyday decisions work universally for all has been my solution. Being sensitive to what "all" is. Broad perspectives. Inclusionary, I don't know if that's a real word. Guess so since it isn't underlined. Including all in everything. This comes to me as everything being free for all. No class wars. Class wars are defining people on a fake superficial money system rather than so they really are as a human. So evolving our ideas on everything to really unlimited ourselves. Or maybe jut limit ourselves on a new level cause we're bored?.

But yes the most viral killer is being scared to speak up for yourself and make mistakes. That you aren't good enough to do that for some reason. "Little me" like what David Icke talks about often. One person w no money or resources can do A LOT. Thinking experts know better or whatever maybe could have been true at one time, NOT NOW. Being afraid to get "shut down", by who, only silly folk who might be getting paid by weirdos to keep u down maaaaan. People are really paid off and serve people w this Monopoly money over themselves/ like its really happening lol.

Copyleft music. DIY. Non Participation

If I was into corporate music and being a nicely lubed slave, I'd listen to whatever is lamestream. But instead I listen to copy left music on the internet archive like what I've done by my friends or myself . Or other things my friends make and put on bandcamp, pay as u wish. Digital so that we don't have to carry shit/ "throw away" more trash.

Make it w folk instruments like my iPod touch I write this on, or computer, whatever is available, and share it freely to truly free all. With a real message behind it that isn't superficial and materialistic.

Making my earth family not dependent on experts but taking the music into their own hands/ doing it themselves/ believing in themselves.

We are all musical and artistic by nature. But in a hate virus cult-ure we are trained lowest common denominator slaves vs slaves. Compete buy reproduce die. End this viscous cycle of violence. The main weapon they use is the idea of "money".


Hate Virus Archons Interdimensional War April 5 2013

We have spoken earlier about the archons, the degenerate ETs, astral beings, at the lowest level some real dark serpent beings. As I write this article they are really pissed off, hitting me with some real sickening painful energies. They were working last night in my dream state creating extreme negative scenarios with old lovers, family and friends.

As I speak I am laughing at them. Before I continue with this article I have to clear them to insure the information is correct. There. Now that that is done we can continue.

I hate to burst the bubble of many new agers . . . There is a war going on. It is an interdimensional war which is acted out – as above so below. The below is the gross uneven dispersal of wealth, the planned obsolescence, the enslavement through dependency, the pollution and destruction of the environment as well as the manipulation and mind control through various mediums. The above is the archons who feed off the negative emotions, the pain, suffering, sadness sorrow etc. They have manipulated humanity through the network, which is filled with false dreams – the American Dream, desires, wants and needs – including the need for acceptance and approval by social consciousness through external means. These manufactured desires are all external and designed to keep everything external, trapping souls in the physical 3D reality. They focus on the first three chakras – survival, sex and power – even using those close to you to hit you in the 4th chakra to take you out of love and into confusion, pain and suffering.

There is a story of Buddha’s awakening where the dark lord uses fear, tsunamis, hordes or demons fires, his sexy daughters, his own wrath – all to pull Buddha from his center, to trap him back into the 3D reality he was transcending. This is happening on a grander scale because the archons are losing their battle with the 5th, 6th, and 7th dimensional beings, the very Source itself. They are pulling out all stops, using everything at their disposal to keep the awakening Gods – “YOU” – trapped in be-lie-ving your 3D reality is all there is to you, and in this lies your security.

Many are falling, going back to what they believe is security, trying to recreate the past and completely sabotaging their awakening, agreements with their higher selves, their spiritual families and the very Source itself. In some cases those observing on high are just shaking their heads almost in disbelief at the self-sabotaging choices and actions carried out by wounded egos.

These higher beings know soul evolution will not be stopped. The reactions to actions against universal law cannot be avoided. And, try as it might, the wounded egos will experience the lessons no matter how hard they may be to get back on track with soul evolution and spirit.

These higher beings also know it is not the destiny of Earth to fall into the hands of the archons nor be under the control of their network. The saviors need to trust, allow those who have chosen the path of the ego, the false security of the external, to have their lessons – no matter how hard they may be.

It is time to practice loving detachment, set some firm boundaries and be an example by refusing to participate in the dramas of those who have chosen to act in ways that are self serving, impacting those around them, humanity and the Earth in a negative manner. It is time to know who the dark forces are, their ways and buck up for battle.

The ultimate power is love. Many will fall – even those closest to you. Yet now is the time to rise up to the new 5th dimensional energies rather than join those who have chosen the downward spiral.

Know that this too shall pass. It is a process. Hopefully, when it all gets sorted out (after some real hard lessons) you just might see those who fell on the other side of this shift. This will be those who are not seeking help, choosing not to participate in the awakening and healing process, and continuing with the ego driving their destiny to save themselves.

We no longer have the luxury of dragging them along nor should we. It is time to step out of the archon network, know it for what it is and realize it is on the way out. Know it will do everything in its power to create as much chaos, pain and suffering possible to maintain its sick little world.

Hang out with and support the real wayshowers, the ones who are empowering you to make your own personal God/Spirit/Creator connection. Break the bonds of enslavement due to external means, the need for acceptance and approval outside of self, and attachments to people, places, and things.

The old external 3D ways are coming to a close. The balance between internal and external, Christ consciousness (where God knows itself to be man/woman and man/woman know themselves to be Gods) is coming. It is time to flow with it. Become it. In the days to come trying to hang on to the past, the old ways, the old world will become the greatest insecurity and hold the hardest lessons.

It is a time for right living, right choices, right actions.

Be well,
James Gilliland


Make no money, yet i always have exactly enough for what i need to give away, and nothing more.

I've noticed that no matter how much money I make, what jobs I might have had or didn't, ...I always have the same amount "exactly enough". I make no money, yet i always have exactly enough for what i need to give away, and nothing more. If i did make any money it would just mean i had to give it to somebody else/ or that i "needed" something. So i guess i don't need anything or else i would have it. I always seem to have plenty to give (LIKE 100 albums!!).

Also I saw then when i was "working" and "doing what i was told", I was supporting people I shouldn't have, not being responsible, buying things I didn't really need out of "convenience" and depression (from being a an angry oppressed slave). Encouraging others into the money debt pyramid scheme entrapment that serves only a few, and not even really the few. It doesn't actually support anyone since nobody can sustainably live off the suffering of others for long. "Death Culture" only shows what doesn't work so that we know what not to do. So therefore i stopped "working" and started full time on my life. Trusting that universe knows better, with a higher perspective. Bold moves, but it was do or die. I just wanted to invest in something that "worked" long term. I invested in myself instead of a money debt entrapment scam fraud pyramid scheme.

I'm not saying it's been easy but nothing is so fuck it. It's "interesting". I'm still alive somehow after 12 years of it. I don't have anything but exactly what i need when i need it, nothing more. The most important thing I have now is my "time". Which has turned into a constant NOW. I don't ever care about what time or day it is. I'm always doing what I like, so time isn't an issue anymore. The "problems" come from adjusting out of a death culture, and trying to explain it to people that don't understand my motivation. Who can't understand my motivation, cause if they did, would have to follow suit. Ability to respond/ response-ability. I'll die when I'm done, when it's over.

As I see it, this is a process everyone will go through. No escape. Nobody exempt. Yes I will have paved the way as so many others have before me (and after me). So it will be a little less bumpy. Also others are playing their roles of "denial" so that i can play this role of "waking up". But we all will find our own wild forests beyond each others "past". Exactly designed for what we need, by us, when we need it exactly. Interconnecting and perfectly horribly awesum. All this depending on when we are ready to leave the past, and the future, behind. Getting with the PRESENT. Planet Awesum.

"We are the musicmakers and we are the dreamers of the dreams".