Simple Living

Gratefulness and simple living go hand in hand. When we are grateful, we appreciate life’s free gifts: friendship and solitude; movement and rest; Nature’s bounty and her spare winter introversion; our own alternating sonata movements of joy, sorrow, and joy’s resurgence. Through this appreciation, we find contentment.

This process is the polar opposite of needing more and more things. Our society lures us into escalating discontent. Before we even enter kindergarten, many of us soak up thousands of ads. These ads lead us to believe we’re insecure (so buy this insurance), lonely (how about this mouthwash?), and dissatisfied (but this BMW will make all the difference). We easily get sucked into a whirlwind of unfulfilled desire. Hoping it will pick us up and carry us to a place of no want, we instead find ourselves dizzied by its faster and faster spin. Our fear that we’re somehow incomplete just adds to the velocity.

Gratefulness calms this storm. It allows us to see that what we truly want is already right before our eyes. So many things we consider superfluous – music, the shade of a maple tree, a heartfelt hug – provide raw material for full enjoyment of life. After all, “superfluous” means an overflowing bounty.

When we give ourselves over to this bounty, we begin to simply live. We discover what’s “enough” in our life, which frees us to gratefully share life’s goodness with our sisters and brothers around the world.

Practice: Count Your Blessings - This simple online practice will help you become more aware of your own fullness. To feel this abundance is to begin living gratefully.

Simple Living message board - What helps you simplify your life? Share your ideas and questions on this message board, and let yourself be challenged by the ideas of others.

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"To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury; and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable; and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly; to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart; to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasion, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious grow up through the common.  This is to be my symphony."

-- William Henry Channing