Friday, August 29, 2008

Upon Simplicity

Scrub Oak has been pondering why simple living is "so darn difficult". I think it's... because it is! Simple living isn't brainless living; that's what we're leaving behind. In fact, I would define Simple Living as a lifestyle based on making choices in favour of sustainability. And that means questioning our assumptions, the hardest form of thinking, along with the hard grind of keeping ourselves informed. It's the mindfulness that makes it difficult, the sudden rethinking of all the old ways all at once. But how can we move forward when we get stuck?

I think the first step is one from permaculture: design by analysis. You start by listing the characteristics of components of a system. An honest assessment of who we are and where we are is important. As one of our assets is money available, I think a look at the budget is essential. But there are other resources, particularly your time and your emotional resources. Is there a possible activity or goal that doesn't fit with the money, time or energy you have available? Then it's off the list. I have poor fine-motor skills and not much time. Sewing my own clothes isn't on my list of aspirations! But I love gardening and cooking, so I do have a vegetable garden.

The other part of design by analysis is putting various components together so that you have a system that works efficiently. I haven't baked bread for ages, but I love doing it, and I have a little more time now that I am no longer spending it at the physiotherapist's.... and our preferred commercial bread has just hit $5 a loaf. Baking my own bread has just reappeared on the agenda.

Another permie idea which can help is the notion of making the least change for the greatest possible effect. Think of small, meaningful changes, not grand gestures. In Flylady terms, take baby steps. Treat life with the patience and care you take with early tomato seedlings, and then see what a harvest you get.

2 comments:

Amanda said...

All I can think while reading this is that I've got those Fly-lady steps sorted out for the garden ... but doing the same inside the house isn't going so well at the moment. ... might be something to do with me *wanting* to spend more time outside me thinks!
(Off to shine my sink!)

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