The two words melded into a way of life for me in 2002 when my entire life dissolved. Yes, dissolved, liquified into a state of chaos and nothingness simultaneously. Within a few hours I lost my home, my job, my car and everything I owned. It was a horrific experience.
It was also a godsend. The greatest gift ever.
The first night was the hardest. My mind wrestled with the grief of my losses, and then the anger that it happened to me. That little voice in my head spewed out survival options. Then it argued that I didn't have the resources or the strength to put any of those ideas into action. And finally it pointed to the source of all this calamity --- me.
You see I had taken a step back from my faith during the two years prior to this day. Before then I trusted that God would see me through anything, and true to his word, he had. He gave me what I needed. But I wanted the American film version of everything. I wanted more. I always wanted more.
So I stopped relying on him and took matters into my own hands -- or so I thought. I wanted a better job, and I got one. I wanted a bigger better home, and I got one. I wanted more prestige and a wealthier community, and I wanted to be the star of that community. That happened too. And then it all vanished. Where had I gone wrong, and how was I going to get it back?
Flash forward six months and I can tell you that none of it mattered. In those six months I became wealthier than I ever imagined. My life changed the instant I changed my mind from wanting it all back to letting it all go. And that's when "simply living" began.
That American film version had tricked me. And I imagine it's tricked a few of you as well. It's not what it's cracked up to be. It fills us with stress, and anxiety, and worry. It takes away our joy, and our sense of wonder, and even our health if we're not paying attention.
"Simply living" is far better than the American film version. It's about focusing on what is real and true and joyful instead of what is glitz and glamor and good lighting. To me it is a spiritual path, but it doesn't have to be. It can simply mean decluttering your home and calming your stress.
Let me show you what I mean. These are just some of the ways I simply live:
I don't sweat the little things. Did you know that an adult makes about 35,000 decisions in a day? A child makes about 3,000. I choose to be childlike. I limit which decisions I make and how long I will deliberate my options.
I don't squander my energy on semi-important things. A friend of mine once suggested that I think about what will matter when I am 85 years old. From that perspective there are a lot of semi-important things in my life that are easy to let go.
I avoid fighting for anything that is not really worth it. Guess what? It really is better to be happy than right!
I say "no" more often. There are lots of ways to say no without using this "n" word. I practice all of them on a regular basis.
I don't gather much. I don't keep much. And, I get rid of a lot. I started living this when my 2002 life dissolved. I perfected it when I lived in my motorhome. It is truly unbelievable to me how little we all need to live and which possessions we cherish out of those few we really need! It's the message that I was put on this earth to cry out until the day I die.
I live in gratitude. As I said in my dreary day post, one of the best things you can do for yourself and others is to appreciate what you have. Focusing on the positive decreases any negative, I know that for sure!
When I write I am continually lured to this theme of simply living. But each time I touch the subject I'm awed by its complexity. It's simple like the "simple pleasure in life" -- so simple that we often forget to notice.
I'm here to remind you.
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But sotre up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and hwere thieves do not break in and steal. For hwere your treasure is, there your hert will be also." Matthew 6:19-21