Thursday, March 29, 2012

Simple living.

"I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society."
~ Henry David Thoreau

I have enjoyed in recent years the minimalist movement. I like reading about 'Tiny homes' and 'Low Density Living.' Being inspired by a cable channel focused on green living, I remember a time when I began simplifying. I began giving things away, donating items, and even setting things by the dumpster for people to pick up. I found life to be simpler - cleaning was easier because I didn't have so many things to dust (ha), my times with God became more deep since there weren't all those items or projects to distract me and my stress decreased. Yet even over my last vacation I saw how I should eat simpler meals and, trust me, I still continually look around my house at objects and say, "Why do I have this?" :)  

I'm not the only one trying to have a more simple life in American. My mom tries to practice cleaning out one drawer a week in her house. I have a friend that purges clothes during the seasons changing from hot to cold. There are websites to help us get organized, people to help us simplify, tv shows like 'Hoarders' to warn us to change. Why do we then still gather 'things' to us only to be overwhelmed by them?! Now that is a deep question. Simply put, I think it's like Thoreau is quoted as writing, "Men have become a tool of their tools." I find this to be profoundly true as I look around the world today and funny enough he wrote that way back in the 1800's!

Here's some other quotes for thought...

"Enough is as good as a feast" ~ not sure who originally said it but I heard Mary Poppins say it first. *grin*

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction." ~E.F. Schumacher

"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that." ~1 Timothy 6:6-8

I really enjoy Thoreau's quotes on this subject. Some make me laugh while some pierce my heart... so I'll share a few more.

"A lady once offered me a mat, but as I had no room to spare within the house, nor time to spare within or without to shake it, I declined it, preferring to wipe my feet on the sod before my door. It is best to avoid the beginnings of evil."

"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone."

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion."

"One farmer says to me, "You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes nothing to make bones with"; and so he religiously devotes a part of his day to supplying his system with the raw material of bones; walking all the while he talks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable-made bones, jerk him and his lumbering plow along in spite of every obstacle."

Simple living. May we each explore ways to have a more simple life and the benefits it can bring! Especially, when one benefit can be more peace and more time with God. :)

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