Voluntary Simplicity

This is a cool philosophy.   There are websites on the net about it such as http://www.choosingvoluntarysimplicity.com.  What does it mean?  Well, it can mean different things to different people but basically, it’s about living a simpler life.  That’s what I’m striving for!  Others may want more, more, more, but I’m a wanting less, less, but not too less.  I want less stress and more contentment and for me I think having less stuff is one way to arrive at that goal.  The more that you have, the more that you want.  I notice how easily it is for people (me too) to get caught in the trap of “keeping up with the Jones’s”, as my dad would say.  We think that having stuff will make us happy.  A bigger TV, a bigger boat, another snow machine, a newer car, new shoes… you get the picture.  But once you get that, you’re only happy for awhile and then you want something else.  It’s a terrible cycle and I really don’t want that for myself.

When you lose someone you love, all of those things lose their importance.  You can look at your new mansion and it will mean absolutely nothing (except you won’t have to sleep on the street).  What really matters and brings happiness are the people we love in our lives.  Nothing makes me happier than just spending time with my children.  It is a natural high that I first got after giving birth and looking into the tiny face that was looking back at me.  I still get that high when I’m with my boys.

I feel fortunate that I genuinely enjoy the outdoors and find peace there.  During the summer, I try to drink in the colours of the world around me so that I can close my eyes during the long winter days and remember them.  I also love to read, write and play guitar.  Those are all solitary activities that I can escape to and be alone in my mind while still receiving a peaceful blanket of tranquility.

It also means learning to say “no” to some things that I’m asked to do.  I like to volunteer and can get over-booked on committees and such so I am trying to cut down this year and just focus on the stuff that brings me joy and contentment.  Take time for yourself.  Every morning I read from my favourite book, Simple Abundance ;  by Sarah Ban Breathnach.  It’s an excellent book; like a Bible to me.  You can check it out at http://www.simpleabundance.com

I recommend that everyone look at their lives and ways to simplify, whatever they are.  Everyone’s different.  It may mean having a garage sale and cleaning out the basement or it may mean cutting out one evening a week of meetings and taking that evening to be with someone you love.  It will bring some peace of mind, trust me. 

Serenity

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