Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Journey to Simplicity

I have been contemplating this simple life and comparing it to my previous life of trying to live the American dream. To say I am happier now is something of an understatement. Of course, my definition of happy is relevant to the amount of peace and balance I feel in my life. Happy is after all, an inner state of being, not an outer state of having.

Living a simpler, less encumbered lifestyle becomes a meditation. It is a place where you are, where one moves at an unhurried pace and is able to focus on the moment. There are few, if any distractions. It is authentic. One is no longer trying to “keep up with the Jones” so to speak and the only things that matter are truly the only things that matter.

Simplicity also allows one to open up to creativity, something I feel is an essential facet of happiness. When living a simpler life, thoughts become less scattered and time is more manageable and available to you, both elements conducive to imagination and creative expression.

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Simplifying your life is a gradual process that stems from the awareness that your life is not working well, coupled with the desire to make change that will bring about a more satisfying existence. My path to simplicity began about nine years ago when I realized I was working to live and living to work, feeling like a slave to my job without any hope in sight of that changing. The first big step I took to make changes was to sell my dream car, a white Ford Mustang with custom stripes and accent graphics. At the time, I was paying high insurance on it, plus the car payment itself, and keeping it parked in the garage the majority of the time. I finally realized that none of it made sense and to make somewhat of a pun, in essence I was paying for a dead horse. Being able to let go of the car and my false need for it was the turning point that began my journey of letting go and getting back to basics. This was the beginning step towards freedom from the burden of being a slave to requiring and acquiring “stuff”. Again I say, it has been a gradual process, sometimes challenging, sometimes painful, but the journey has brought me to a place of authenticity, peace and contentment. It has returned me to a place of appreciation, creativity and contentment. And these things I have found to be necessary components of my happiness.

Journeying to simplicity is an evolutionary process, one which I believe will continue for a long time to come. I continue to consider new ways of improving my life, becoming more self sufficient and lessening my impact on the environment. Once you have settled in to this lifestyle, like me you may find that to live fully and responsibly, to have time to enjoy oneself, ones family and friends, to appreciate and preserve the sacredness of nature, to think clearly, laugh often and sleep well are just a few of the blessings of the simple life.

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