Saturday, July 23, 2005

what's your kind of simplicity?

I can understand balohgblog's comments yesterday. One of my daily antidotes to apocalyptic thinking is checking in with Path to Freedom's daily blog. As they share their life of living sustainably in the middle of the big city, they accomplish their mission to

...educate individuals and families to integrate sustainable living practices and methods into their daily lives. Our focus is on: organic gardening, permaculture, solar cooking, composting and other back-to-basic, sustainable technologies and practices relating to the home environment.
They also have an extensive selection of links on their main page, and I am slowly working through their selection on voluntary simplicity.

Yvonne Quarles explains it this way:

Living simply, voluntary simplicity, back to basics -- whatever you want to call it -- is all about freedom. It is about wanting less and being happy with that. It is about finding true priorities and making our lives less complex.

Everything gets more complicated the more the world grows in numbers. It doesn't have to be complex. You do have a choice. As there are more complications, there is less time and less space for us to live our lives. People are feeling more compressed, more off balance, and they feel they are in a world less orderly.

Wouldn't you like to change some things about your life? Simplicity is something you may think about. It includes having more time, more rest, more peace of mind, less stress, less 'stuff', fewer bills (I know you would like this one), and more spirituality. Maybe things like stress, bills, clutter, etc. are making you feel tired and overwhelmed. As you get older, you may think feeling this way is natural, because you have more stuff and more responsibilities. It doesn't have to be this way.

When I talk about finding your true priorities, I am talking about the number one priority-- HAPPINESS. This is found by doing things in your life that bring you joy and fulfillment. Live life to the fullest, as they say. This doesn't necessarily mean having "more." Figure out if the things you want are worth working 'x' number of hours for. Think about what you enjoy doing most and make a list of those things. Are you doing what is on the list? If not, then maybe you need to shift your frame of mind.

Simplicity is an important principle for me that I am striving towards. And it is a challenging one considering how much I like to shop. :) So far my efforts have included: decluttering my house. Recycling. Maintaining a lifestyle so I don't have to work (thus the free time I have to devote to my new hobby, this blog.) Buying unprocessed foods and cooking at home. Getting out of debt.

This article, written by Duane Elgin, who wrote the book on Voluntary Simplicity, helped me to understand my motivations. He describes 10 kinds of simplicity, which I will briefly outline below:
  1. Choiceful Simplicity: Simplicity means choosing our path through life consciously, deliberately, and of our own accord.
  2. Commercial Simplicity: Simplicity means there is a rapidly growing market for healthy and sustainable products and services of all kinds.
  3. Compassionate Simplicity: Simplicity means to feel such a sense of kinship with others that we "choose to live simply so that others may simply live."
  4. Ecological Simplicity: Simplicity means to choose ways of living that touch the Earth more lightly and that reduce our ecological footprint.
  5. Elegant Simplicity: Simplicity means that the way we live our lives represents a work of unfolding artistry.
  6. Frugal Simplicity: Simplicity means that, by cutting back on spending that is not truly serving our lives, and by practicing skillful management of our personal finances, we can achieve greater financial independence.
  7. Natural Simplicity: Simplicity means to remember our deep roots in the natural world.
  8. Political Simplicity: Simplicity means organizing our collective lives in ways that enable us to live more lightly and sustainably on the Earth.
  9. Soulful Simplicity: Simplicity means to approach life as a meditation and to cultivate our experience of intimate connection with all that exists.
  10. Uncluttered Simplicity: An uncluttered simplicity means cutting back on trivial distractions, both material and non-material, and focusing on the essentials.

When I read this I had a greater appreciation for the richness of experience within the single concept of "simplicity." And I felt a bond with a broader range of people. Which of these ideas are you most drawn to? Do something today to manifest it more fully into your life.

1 comment:

baloghblog said...

we're on the same wavelength Liz...

Getting rid of clutter can ease the soul

I posted on the same topic today. Felt real good to get rid of some of the stuff in my home that is part of the "black cloud" that hangs over my head.

So I guess that I am working up from #10 to #1 on the list.