Sunday, 28 May 2017

Sunday May 28th, 2017 Simplify Your Life

The simple life has been attractive for generations, but with an increasingly fast paced world it seems to be gaining ever broader appeal.  As people strive for work life balance they may find it elusive.  This can then lead to thorough evaluation of what kind of life they want to live.  Some of those who have gone down the path towards simplicity have chosen to share through writing. 

An n early book on this topic is Voluntary Simplicity:  Toward a Way of Life That is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich by Duane Elgin first published in 1981.  In the very first chapter Elgin notes that we all “know where our lives are unnecessarily complicated” and that’s important to note.  How I may simplify my life will differ somewhat from each other person who does so.  We each can make the changes to reduce unnecessary complications from our lives.  In the 1990s Elaine St. James wrote several books on simplicity not the least of which is Living the Simple Life:  A Guide to Scaling Down and Enjoying More.  As with other books on this topic there’s no one way to do things, but St. James offers methods to make any life simpler.  One such suggestion is never to touch a piece of mail more than once.

Many of these books include an environmental or ecological component.  This comes as no surprise given that there is an idealized back to the land aspect of what many people yearn for when thinking of simple living.  A great read for those looking for those with an environmental slant is Sweetness of a Simple Life:  Tips for Healthier, Happier and Kinder Living Gleaned from the Wisdom and Science of Nature by Diana Beresford-Kroeger practical advice with a deep respect for the natural world. 

Working in tandem with concerns for the environment is  following a path that is true to oneself are woven into many of the books on living a simpler life.  In Present over Perfect:  Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist we are invited to join the author on a journey towards her essential self.  The world frantic in the title gives an idea of the life Niequist was no longer satisfied with and she invites the reader to live a more present life. 

In Downshifting:  The Guide to Happier, Simpler Living authors Polly Ghazi and Judy Jones examine different options to create a more balanced life.  They make it clear that there is no one solution that fits for everyone, but rather a variety of ways to improve the quality of one’s days.  Real life examples are included and challenges are not glossed over.  Financial considerations have a major impact as does the amount of control the downshifter may have.  Downshifting due to corporate downsizing is not the same as making a choice to downshift when you see downsizing on the horizon.
Ruth Hamlin-Douglas

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