Today is my first Sunday here since my break for the Christmas holidays. I try to give thanks each Sunday for something that is having a positive effect on my life or the lives of others. It really is surprising just how many things there are to give thanks for. 5 months into my blog, and I have not yet run out of things to praise.
This sunday I give praise for the wonderful and growing community of people who are practising simple living. Even with all the bad news around, the vast majority of the human race still wants what it has always wanted; to live in peace, with enough to live on, and with people they love. Nothing more, nothing less. Simple.
With such a basic wish, why are so many people unhappy? Why do people stay in jobs they hate, in homes with huge mortgages which causes them to work even harder? Why do so many people feel unhappy when every one of us reading this has more than required to both live and be content? What is so wrong that so many people are finding that even with all that they have, their lives seem empty, difficult and sad?
What single thing can be done to make our lives whole again? The answer, I believe, is Simple living. This is such an extraordinary solution to most of our problems, so stunningly easy, that many of us fail to see it at all . We may spend a small fortune reading books on how to be happier, how to be more content, even on how to downsize so we don´t have to work so hard just to get by. But downsizing only plays around the edges of the real solution. We need not just to downsize, but get out of the mindset that drives us to have more stuff. We have to find a more meaningful way of living so that we don´t have to work so hard just to get by.
We are often stressed, sad and dissatisfied because of the things we have, not because of the things we do not have. Yes, that big house and pool is lovely, and the kitchen is fantastic, but what is it really costing you? Do you really want to work 12 hour days to make your mortgage payments? Or worse still, is it worth laying awake at night worrying because you have no job and the payments are behind? What about your nice car? How many hours of your life did you have to sell in order to get it? Will you remember it on your death-bed, or will you remember that you had to work so hard that you missed seeing your children grow, or never wrote that book you always wanted to write?
Without really thinking about it we walk into the trap of stuff. It all starts out innocently enough. We are young, maybe with a partner, and we think it would be great to buy an apartment, and save on rent. Then pretty soon weekends are spent doing it up, finding nice things to buy for it……but bit by bit, so slowly sometimes that we are barely aware of it, things go downhill. We visit a friend who has a slightly larger apartment, now wouldn´t that be great? We pool our money, put in a bit of overtime, and the extra payments are easy to make. All our friends will think we are doing well! Then we have a child and decide to trade up to something even bigger, and filled with more stuff. Then suddenly, the mother has to face the reality of needing to work to help with the payments, when all she really wants to do is care for her child. Can you imagine that? Trading time with your baby for a larger better equipped home?? No of course you can´t, none of us can, but we fall into this trap without ever giving it the thought we should. All we know is we are feeling unhappy and unfulfilled and stressed.
If the mother wants to work, the couple employ someone to care for the child. Daddy works so much overtime he is hardly ever home. Their stuff now includes a “family” home, a car each, and all modern appliances. They are overworked and deeply, deeply unhappy at an age when they should be full of energy and joy, and raising their children. And they don´t know how they got into this mess.
Sound familiar? It happened to me and it happens to thousands. We read of a man jumping off a building because his house was about to be repossessed, or he couldn’t meet his bills and we ask where it all went so horribly wrong. He seemed so successful…..
Life doesn´t have to be like this, and it shouldn´t be like this. Kahlil Gibran, in his work “The Prophet” refered to houses as “tombs built by the dead for the living” and it´s a phrase that certainly puts home ownership in a different light. We need a home only large enough to fit us, and the small homes movement is proving time and again that a small , easily afforded home beats a large one every time. You don´t have so many bills, don´t have to work so hard. Suddenly there is time to write that book, or paint, or walk. Anything you want to do because now you have your life back.
Ditch all the unnecessary stuff that is blocking your home and your life and your joy. We were not put here to collect things but to collect experiences. Don´t let your possessions rule you….there is a simple way out and many are discovering the truth: A simple life is the way to a happy and joyful life.
Take a little time to read through some of the links below.
Have a good Sunday everyone,