Saturday, September 4, 2010

voluntary simplicity

"Voluntary simplicity means going fewer places in one day rather than more, seeing less so I can see more, doing less so I can do more, acquiring less so I can have more...Slowing everything down is a big part of this. Telling my mind and body to stay put with my daughter rather than answering the phone, not reacting to inner impulses to call someone who 'needs calling' right in that moment, choosing not to acquire new things on impulse, or even to automatically answer the siren call of magazines or television or movies on the first ring are all ways to simplify one's life a little. Others are maybe just to sit for an evening and do nothing, or to read a book, or go for a walk alone or with a child or with my wife, to restack the woodpile or look at the moon, or feel the air on my face under the trees, or go to sleep early.

I practice saying no to keep my life simple, and I find I never do it enough. It's an ardous discipline all its own, and well worth the effort. Yet it is also tricky. There are needs and opportunities to which one must respond. A commitment to simplicity in the midst of the world is a delicate balancing act. It is always in need or retuning, further inquiry, attention. But I find the notion of voluntary simplicity keeps me mindful of what is important, of an ecology of mind and body and world in which everthing is interconnected and every choice has far reaching consequences. You don't get to control it all. But choosing simplicity whenever possible adds to life and element of deepest freedom which so easily eludes us, and many opportunities to discover that less is actually more." --Jon Kabat-Zinn Wherever You Go, There You Are

I'm going to practice some volunary simplicity this Labor Day Weekend! Want to join me?



Annette said...

I really enjoyed reading your thoughts. I came upon your blog through the "next blog" button and was instantly interested in your posts on simplifying and balance. They are great food for thought. I have been doing yoga for about 3 years and love it. Thank you for your inspiring thoughts.

Yogadiva said...

Thanks for stopping by Annette!