Thursday, October 6, 2011

Learning To Live The Old Simple Way

This path we've decided to take tends to have a spiral pattern.  By that I mean what goes around comes around.  A lot of people view life in that way already, but in this case I'm referring to trends, fads, fashion, and even knowledge. We are part of a mass movement of people who are sick and tired of all the modern conveniences that are supposed to save us time, money, and energy.  In reality all it does is rob us of our health, money, and even our sanity.  With all this modern "help" you would think we would have more time available for family, friends, healthy living, heck... even ourselves!  Instead we run around like chickens with our heads cut off!  Deep inside we know this has to stop.  We know we can't continue like this.  So what do we do to help us slow down and enjoy life?  For us, the solution was to relearn the old, simple ways of living.  What are the old ways?

Here are a few basics principals:
  • Simplicity
Webster's defines simplicity as the state of being simple, uncomplicated, or uncompounded.  That's really the key to this style of living. Simple life, simple actions, and simple expectations.

  • Sustainability 
We currently live by a model of total consumption of all resources whether it's a natural resource such as oil, water, and soil or a man made resource like our income.  To put it bluntly, we ALL live beyond our means in some way.  We are taught from an early age that the more you work the more you'll be able to have.  Better homes, better cars, better clothes, more food, better health care, higher education, etc.. The only problem with this is way of living is that we're using a completely unsustainable model based on limitless growth that assumes our resources are endless!  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we should just throw up our hands, quit our jobs and say to heck with it!  I'm saying we need to reevaluate what and who we are working for and see how we can bring it in line with a realistic, sustainable model.  The first Model T was produced in 1909 and in less than 120 years from that date we have already used more than half of the economically recoverable supply of oil for fuel, tires, and endless plastic.  This is a resource that will never come back!  It's not like a forest that can be replanted.  This example is to show how our current model of transportation and plastic manufacturing is simply not sustainable.

  • Accountability 
This should be an easy one, but for some it's not.  We each have our own moral compass and know when we aren't following it.  Our spirituality is not the only thing we are accountable for.  We have a responsibility to our children, their children, and a duty to leave this world in the same if not better shape than we received it.  This applies to all areas of our life.  Imagine if things keep going as they are. What type of world will our great grandchildren inherit?  What will they eat when all the soil has been destroyed through over-use of pesticide and other petroleum based products we use for agriculture? What will they drink when all the fresh water supplies have been contaminated with toxic by-products of the industrial manufacturing process?  How many hours will they have to work to have as much as we had?  What type of government will they have?
  • Purposeful living
Have you ever been to an estate sale after someone has passed away?  Racey and I work at them from time to time and they are truly sad.  You see someone that used to be a living, breathing person reduced to nothing more than the possessions they worked their entire life to get only to have them sold "garage sale style" because the family doesn't want them, can't be bothered to deal with them, or just don't have room for anymore "stuff"! 

I encourage you to step back and take a survey of your life, the people and things around you, and re-evaluate what's really important.  Think about what actually matters and what doesn't.  Then, take the things and all the stuff that doesn't make it onto the "really important" list and just get rid of it.  Jump off the hamster wheel.  Step outside of the eat-sleep-consume lifestyle and mentality and start enjoying your life in a meaningful way that won't see you reduced to a leftover yard sale after you shed your mortal coil. 

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