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What Simplicity is NOT

Courtney Carver has done it again! I just read a chapter from her book, "Soulful Simplicity" that resonates with me so deeply. If you haven’t tuned into these blog posts before, I do regular free book clubs and right now we are reading about how to live a more soulful and simple life. Let me tell you something wild that happened. At least it’s wild, in my books! On a walk with Alan and Marley yesterday we were discussing how getting rid of things to reach a certain number of things is really an empty process. Minimalism and simplicity can be just as empty as consumerism depending on your meaning behind it. So the wild part? Today’s chapter I read from “Soulful Simplicity” was on that exact thing. She stated that same thing yet in a much more eloquent and beautiful way. Courtney said, “a soulful simplicity is not about living with the least amount of stuff, meditating the longest, or being in competition in any sense of the imagination.” Music to my ears!

Ok, so because I like lists, let’s venture on and make a list of what simple living is NOT:

1. Simple living is NOT a competition

2. Simple living is NOT connected to a number (numbers of any kind…number of things, number on the scale, number of minutes you meditate, number of square feet in your house)

3. Simple living is NOT comparison

4. Simple living is NOT perfection

5. Simple living is NOT a certain way of eating

6. Simple living is NOT always easy

7. Simple living is NOT just about decluttering

Really, I think we just did the easy part. I think our culture does a great job at deconstructing things. But then we stay there. I remember doing that with my faith. I found all the loopholes, pulled it apart, but I stayed there. The hard part was defining what is left and what simple living IS. Let’s take a stab at it:

1. Simple living IS community

2. Simple living IS intuitive…to decide the number of things that is right for you

3. Simple living IS love

4. Simple living IS self-compassion

5. Simple living IS eating with awareness and mindfulness

6. Simple living IS freeing

7. Simple living IS about living with what’s important to you

I just did something risky. I went from saying simple living is not one thing to defining it. BUT, I hope my defining list was open and free enough for each person to make it what they need it to be. Because simple living is not like entering a church with strict dogma. Dogma alone does not work because it doesn't require much effort and usually lacks a heart change. Yet, if you don’t have ANY guiding principles there’s not much to hold things together. I guess what I should say is that’s my list. How would you make up a list of what simplicity is? Simple living for me is gardening, awareness, choosing less, choosing more, fair trade, minimizing my ecological footprint, investing in relationships. I could go on. It’s big enough to hold what’s important to you. So, move forward with freedom! Release comparisons, my friend. Happy rooting!

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