You’re not your job. You’re not your bank account. You’re not defined by what car, house or clothes you buy….
We are much more than a vocation, object or label. Our life is defined by how we treat ourselves, others, and nature.
On the surface, the movie Fight Club seems like another violent movie about men fighting and terrorizing a city BUT it is so much more than that. I hear minimalists, Buddhists, and spiritual writers quote Fight Club and list it as their favorite movie. Dig a little deeper than the surface and the true meaning of the movie is obvious; the internal fight within all human beings. It’s about the struggles of consumerism and the empty void it brings when we get attached to objects as if they were sentient beings. It depicts the struggle of working a job you hate to buy things you don’t need to impress people who you don’t like.
I’m not saying that we should throw away all our stuff and live a life of a monk! I want to share a middle path between rampant consumerism and deprivation. A path that you can call minimalism, intentional living, and/or simple living. A life not held back by a huge hoard of knick knacks, storage units, and thousands of items that have no purpose or function in the home. A life that you don’t need to work that job you hate to afford the items that don’t bring lasting happiness to your life.
Fight Club depicts the dangers of attachment to impermanent objects while showing the inner struggle of finding meaning in a world obsessed with meaninglessness. Most of us want to find meaning in this world. We want to live with a purpose, passion, and feel like we left our small imprint in the world. I’m here to share my experience that attachment to material objects, jobs, and money has not led to a meaningful life for me.
Must we sell ourselves for the dollar bill? Must we lie, mislead, and cheat to impress our boss to get that big promotion? These are questions I asked myself every day when I was a sales representative for a wine distributor. I want to make it clear that I’m not judging those who work in sales, we all have to pay the bills and support our families. My issue is with the culture of many corporations, which in general, is to focus on profit over values. I truly believe a company can thrive while being honest, caring, and contribute to the local community. It just takes a little more effort and passion for integrity.
Fast forward 2 years and I’m leaving for Maui, Hawaii. I moved here to live a more simple life and learn about the Hawaiian/local culture, my actions when arriving were not in line with my vision though. I felt obligated to take a job in the wine sales industry because my company on the mainland helped land me an interview. I took it out of fear though, not love. One week into my job I felt depressed, stressed, and my gut was telling me to quit before I was fully trained. I put my two-week notice in immediately and went into the exciting unknown.
I told myself that I will not sacrifice my values for the highest bidder. I will live a more authentic life where I have less internal struggle and more peace. I now drive a van, clean dishes, and do lots of manual labor for a living but I don’t have to sacrifice my values for the dollar bill. I now am free to focus on this blog, Facebook/Instagram page, and look to the future for how I can contribute to society in a positive way.
Welcome to the Zen Hoff blog! I have finally turned “someday” into “today” and took the leap to start this blog. This blogs intention is to incite interest in a simple, authentic and healthy life in a world obsessed with chaos. First off, my name is Jonathan Hoffman and I’m a new resident to the beautiful island of Maui. I’ll save all the details of why I moved to Maui for a later post but for now, I wanted to explain why I started this blog. I started this blog because I have a passion for simple living, minimalism, Zen Buddhism, and authentic living. It hasn’t always been this way, three years ago I was living a chaotic life full of stress, lies, self-abuse, and depression. This all ended abruptly when my engagement fell apart and I hit rock bottom. I had to look myself in the mirror and analyze the man I had become. I was thirty pounds overweight and addicted to gambling, alcohol, and cigarettes. I quit smoking, cut down my drinking, lost 30lbs, and found new ways to deal with stress like meditation and long walks. My new passion for minimalism, Zen Buddhism, and authentic living is far from perfect but it helps me live a more meaningful life. I started this blog to share what I have learned these past three years to hopefully inspire someone else to live a more simple and authentic life. Thank you for reading my first blog; I’m excited to get the ball rolling and post more frequently. You can follow me at “Zen Hoff” on Facebook and @zen_hoff on Instagram.