Hey there friends! It’s been a while since we’ve talked, but we hope you haven’t forgotten about us. It’s been an incredibly busy summer for the TWL team, but as it comes to a close, we want to give you some updates on our team and our film’s journey.
As I said, we’ve all been very busy this summer. Many of us have traveled: Josh and myself visited New York City to begin work on another film project, and Colin visited the Big Apple as well on different trip. Ryan has been to Chicago a couple of times, and Mo ventured down to Bonnaroo this year. Meanwhile, Jaclyn is about ready to start traveling around the world as part of a mission trip. Josh is also on tour with his band right now actually, traveling across the country and playing music. As of today, they’re in Washington, DC. We’ll have to map all our journeys this summer, we’ve been all over!
Many of us have been working this summer and starting some cool projects. As I said, I’m starting on another film project which will serve as my undergraduate thesis. It’s exploring non-traditional art and community spaces, ones that work outside of institutional spaces to bring people together and share knowledge. I’m also wrapping up a shorter video which is going to kick start efforts to start some really cool things in Livingston County, my hometown. Colin and Josh have both done work for MSU, and Mo interned with Common Ground, a huge music festival that takes place every summer in Lansing.
Needless to say, it’s been a very full - and fulfilling - summer for the team. We launched the film, hosted a premiere in Lansing, and have continued to spread the word online and through communicating with people every day. But, we’re taking some steps to move outward of this community as well. Right now, we’re submitting to film festivals both in Michigan and across the country in hopes of giving more people the chance to see our film. We’ve had really positive reactions from many who have seen the film, so we want to do what we can to show it to as many people as possible.
That is the reason you may have noticed we’ve taken the film down off the website. We got up to over 5,000 views before doing so, which truly unbelievable and absolutely outweighed our expectations already. So, THANK YOU. But, many festivals are hoping that screening a film is a special event, so they don’t want to screen films that are available to watch online at any time. That wouldn’t really give people any incentive to come out to their festival. So we’ve taken that step for now, but stay tuned as we’ll hopefully have many more opportunities for you to check out the film in the future.
So that’s the state of the film, but if you know anything about us, you know that we intended to make more than a film with this project, we wanted to make a community as well. Once we all get back into a firmer schedule and are back in school for the fall, we’re hoping to have a lot more community dinners and other community events where we’ll invite all of you to come hang out and enjoy a little TWL hospitality. We don’t have anything confirmed yet, as most of us are still all over the state/country, but stay tuned to the blog as well as our social networking sites (or, better yet, just talk to us in person!) and we’ll let you know as soon as we set something up.
We’d also like to continue sharing stories of minimal living like the ones we presented in the film. So please let us know if you know of anyone doing anything cool in their community and we’ll try and share it with ours. We’re still figuring out what those will look like, but we’d like to somehow use our media skills to share more information, so please let us know if you’ve got an idea or story you think should be heard! Even it’s just an article you read or something, we’d very much love to see it and pass it on, so send it our way.
I know a lot of this is vague, but please stay tuned, we’re very excited about the future of this project, and we hope you are too. And we’ll have more specific details soon.
And of course, thank you all so much for the continued interest in this project and this film. This would seriously be meaningless without the people that have been interested and affected by this, we cannot thank you all enough.
Thrive With Less is officially here.
What does it look like to pursue a life of moderation in an excess driven culture? And what will you discover when the excess is replaced with just the essentials? Six students seek out lives of moderation in an effort to pursue their passions and embrace community.
Film to be released May 30, 2012.
I can’t believe this documentary is coming to a close! Seeing the segments come together little by little gets me psyched for our upcoming premieres, and it’s amazing to know I had a part in creating something great. I really believe this film has the potential to change the way people approach day-to-day decisions. I hope that whoever watches the film or reads this blog post has a level of openness to absorb what we’re saying and treat it with subjectivity. We’re attempting to improve people’s lives, and as I heard Matt say earlier this week, that’s what we’ve seen as our greatest fulfillment throughout this project. I completely agree with that. Yes, my life has become more minimal, more sustainable, as a result of Thrive With Less, but the most incredible feeling comes from knowing we’ve affected others with something meaningful.
It’s not about how you get there, it’s just getting there. Where? A more fulfilled and happy life!
In the average college course, you come to class late, sit down amidst everyone on their own computers, distractedly listen to the professor for an hour, and then leave without much interaction with those you didn’t previously know.
Why is that? Why do most people refuse to engage with those around them? Refuse to ask about and care about the lives of those who they are sitting 6 inches from?
Through this project I have seen the most different people bond over a common goal. The 6 of us have shared in our challenges and this journey over the past three months. It constantly amazes me to see all of us, with our very different lives, all bond and engage in each others’ interests.
In addition to this, our community dinners have opened up friendships with people I’ve never met before. I honestly love people. I love meeting new people and introducing them to old friends. That meshing of different friend networks just gets me every time. It’s so great! When someone comes up to the door asking if this is the Thrive With Less dinner, I’m so excited to welcome them into our home and share the next few hours getting to know their life.
That’s what’s I’ve been loving about Thrive With Less as of late. The average class friendships that could have risen have been replaced with genuine friendships unrelated to our coursework or a common dislike for a subject or professor. We’re simply enjoying life together as we care for one another and engage in each others’ interests. This project has introduced me to some amazing people and for that I’m so thankful.
So what’s holding you back from engaging in those around you? What prevents you from starting a genuine relationship with someone that is seemingly extremely different from you? The next person you meet could become one of your best friends!
Guest Blogger: Marissa V - 21 years old - Junior in college
About a year ago I began my journey into living with less. It started when I was being openly criticized for not following my family’s religion. This made me wonder, what is it that I really believe in? Well, I stumbled across a few cool people, one of whom was St. Francis of Assisi. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a religious rant about how you should go to church more. It is, however, about turning away from materialism, and living on what you really need – and only that!
First let me give you a little insight about St. Francis. He was the son of a wealthy man, who turned away from his material goods to become a monk. There are plenty of stories of Francis giving his cloak to beggars on the street, even though that was the only piece of clothing he owned. Reading about this extraordinary man made me question my own living habits. I was a compulsive shopper, always buying new and better clothes. That was the first thing to go – my excessive wardrobe. What I found out was that, in the process of only keeping what I needed clothing-wise, I also downsized on my furniture needs. I gave away my chest of drawers, and now I keep most of my clothes in small boxes under my bed. I rarely shop, and usually only when something has worn out enough to no longer be useable. When I do shop, I only buy second-hand or thrift store clothes.
This had increased the amount of money I saved from month-to-month, and gave me even more possibilities on what I could own. This was a problem, so I began donating money. First to local, then international charities. Finally, I found out about sponsoring a child. I began researching, and found the charity “World Vision”. This charity not only has child sponsorships, but also a wonderful catalog for things you can buy for those in need around the world such as deep water wells, goats, chickens, or money loans for business owners.
I began my sponsorship for a little girl in India named Akahila. I keep a photo of her on my nightstand, and another photo in my wallet. This keeps me from spending too much money, as I know I need to support her also. It has been a wonderful journey, and made all the better by not only improving my own life, but someone else’s too. Sometimes when I really desire something, I send Akahila an extra bit of money instead. It keeps me grounded on what really matters.
Challenge 3 -Quarantine a small section of our homes (on average, 25 square feet). Tape it off, board it up, whatever needs to be done, just don’t use that space at all for the entire month.
WHY? To symbolize that if everyone downsized their living spaces and used a little less, all the excess space could be used to house more families, plant communities gardens, build parks, and who know what else! We wanna see what shelter is in its purest sense.
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