Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Summer of Simplicity: The End Goal

“To what end do I lead a simple life at all, pray? That I may teach others to simplify their lives? – and so all our lives be simplified merely, like an algebraic formula? Or not, rather, that I may make use of the ground I have cleared to live more worthily and profitably?”
            --Henry David Thoreau

Doing a quick search for simple living or organizing your life will lead you to thousands of blogs, pinterest-worthy pdfs, and how-to articles. There is no shortage of helpful information on the methods and tools for simplifying. 

So why do I still find myself fighting with overflowing stuff, with hurriedness and impatience, with too-full schedules and too little reflection? 

It’s not an information problem. It’s an assimilation problem.

The question I am examining this summer is how do I put what I know and what I desire into practice? How do I move into a place of practicing simplicity and feeling the benefits? 

One thing I am learning is that many of the methods and tips floating out in the internet ether don’t help me. I am apt to be quickly inspired but then I struggle to follow through, usually because I am attempting a complete overhaul overnight. 

Even my process of living more simply must be simple. 

I’m beginning the new-to-me process of looking inward to determine what strategies might work for me. I’m abandoning spreadsheets and timelines and lists and schedules; they create stress and failure for me.

I’m not looking for algebraic formulas any longer. I’ve been asking myself as Thoreau did, how may I best make use of these days, this life, this place I am in? How may I live worthily and profitably? 

Three words are surfacing that are guiding my simplifying: connected…caring…creative. 

Connected: I want to connect with myself, my environment, and my family in the present moment.  I spend a lot of time distracting myself from what I’m feeling, from my overwhelming house, and from my own perfectionism.  I want to stare less at screens and more at eyes and sky.  I want to move from distraction to connection, to learn that it is safe and meaningful to be in each moment. 

Caring: I want to chip away at the piles that clutter our space and establish routines to make caring for our home more natural and built-in. I want to find ways to streamline some of the relentless tasks of mothering, like feeding and laundering. 

Creative: I want to build more writing time into my weeks, make photo albums so my kids can see pictures of themselves as babies, put nails in walls that have been bare for too long and hang my own creations on them. 

These ideals of connectedness, caring, and creativity are what living worthily and profitably in my space means. What does it mean to you? When you envision a simpler life, what do you see yourself doing, being? 

I invite you to join in with establishing simplicity this summer, in a way that is tailored specifically to your goals and your life. I’ll be recording my experiences and thoughts here, and sharing what I’m finding that works for me. I’ll be leaning away from spreadsheets and formulas and leaning into examining the process and gently, slowly, simply, moving forward.   

1 comment:

Michellelouise said...

Writing saturday?? Let's do it...