First let me say that I agree… I wouldn’t be happy living a life of purging, scrimping, and deprivation either… but that’s purging, scrimping, and deprivation, NOT simple living. Done right, simple living should be a positive experience, not a negative one… with the emphasis on adding to your life, not taking away from it.
As we approached our wooded area on Saturday morning during our daily walk, my eye was caught by something lying on the ground. From that distance I thought the something was a rather large piece of fabric, mostly because of the way the sunlight was emphasizing the distinct designs covering its entire surface.
When we got closer we could see that the fabric was not fabric at all, but a very large piece of bark lying inner side up. The bark was completely covered with hundreds of what looked like intricately carved designs… but which were actually a series of tiny grooves and channels made by years of insect damage. I showed this bark to people all weekend, and everyone who saw it was amazed at the beauty and complexity of the designs the insects accidentally created. They really do look like carvings in the wood.
There are indeed many good reasons to purge. It makes sense to purge when an item breaks and repairing it isn’t possible or feasible. It makes sense to purge when clothing becomes too worn or faded or no longer fits. It makes sense to purge as tastes and circumstances change. This “purging for a reason” involves only one… or a few… items at a time and is a gradual, almost automatic purge that happens naturally as your needs change or an item no longer fits your lifestyle.
“From your experience, what would you say is the biggest obstacle that people have to living a simpler, truly fulfilling life?”
A reader asked me this question a few days ago, and I think my answer would have to be one word… “inertia.” The prospect of a lifestyle change is so overwhelming for most people, they are understandably afraid to take that first step. I hear from so many people who really want to live more simply, BUT… and I mean this seriously… they’re making “simple living” too complicated.
Reader question… “I read in a book about decluttering and purging that a photograph of an item is a good substitute for actually having the item in your possession. Would you share your thoughts about purging sentimental items and and what you think about the idea of keeping only the photograph and not the item.” –Susannah H.
The stress of always being in a hurry drains your spirit, distracts your mind, and prevents you from focusing on what is really important. It fools you into wasting time in areas that don’t reflect your values or your goals. And worst of all, it robs you of the peace of mind and serenity that a life of voluntary simplicity will bring.
I have found that it’s really a continual learning process, because cooking or baking with wood requires a different rhythm and a different timing than cooking with gas or electricity. Most importantly, it requires learning how to adjust to the peculiarities of each individual stove… and that can be quite a challenge.
The dictionary defines procrastinating as “postponing doing something, especially as a regular practice.” Procrastinating is a habit, nothing more. In order to stop procrastinating, you must replace the habit of putting things off with the healthy habit of getting things done… and the first step is to understand WHY you are procrastinating.