I don’t know about you but I believe that life is entirely TOO Complicated. I mean we have more distractions and conveniences now more than ever, yet how many of us are content with our lives?
About seven years ago I was introduced to the idea of minimalism and simple living and let me tell you that the message was right up my alley. I like you had become jaded with all the “stuff” of life and I longed to create a life that was more to my liking.
By learning some basic minimalism practices I was able to donate or sell about 35% of my “stuff” and it felt great to do so. For the record, I am not against having stuff that we feel we need in order to be happy and content with our lives. Rather, I am talking about getting rid of stuff that no longer serves us anymore. The mass of stuff that seems to creep in and multiply stealing my time and my life.
So I say, bring in some simple living please!
My blogging buddy Lorilee Lippincott recently wrote a sensational book about simple living called: 3-2-1- Stop – Loving Simple Living.
This is no puny eBook either. This profound book on simple living is 152 pages long and not something you will finish reading the first day. I have read Lorilee’s book on simple living and I truly love the stories and words of wisdom shared throughout it.
I love the story in the beginning about how Lorilee and her husband decided to get rid of the majority of their stuff and downsize when the rest of the World is still living by the mantra; “bigger is better.” Many of us learn through life that having more does not necessarily equate to a better life. Often times the stuff that we own – owns us.
Some tidbits from the eBook
Are you ready to stop crazy and allow simple to flow in? Doesn’t that sound great? Let’s start with the basics – the stuff you can see, the stuff that trips you up in the dark. This might seem like the most work, but as we get going, our stuff is not the worst habit we hold onto.
It is sad, really, that our society needs to be on guard and almost wage a battle against too much stuff. There are people all over the world suffering from lack, who do not have even the most basic needs, while we are so blessed and privileged that we need to bar the door against excess.
What I am talking about has been called minimalism, or becoming a minimalist. It is a movement of brilliant people who have questioned the societal norm of more, bigger, newer, shinier, and better, and decided that they didn’t need it, or need to be controlled by it.
There is no set definition or list of stuff to have (or not have) to be a minimalist. A minimalist just has the stuff they need, love, and really want to keep. Nothing more.
We are on the go now more than ever and a forty hour workweek sounds great to those who are working sixty to eighty hour work weeks. We just keep trying to do more and more everyday yet most of us are not even remotely fulfilled with our lives.
Somehow, ‘back in the day,’ I have a hard time seeing our ancestors using planners to make sure everything was tightly scheduled and that it all fit.
Now, people have planners everywhere and use them like a life line. Somehow when work was so hard, it wasn’t near as crazy. So, now that our lives have been made easier with time-saving inventions, we are facing relational and emotional breakdowns and a whole host of stress related diseases.
Most families don’t have any idea what ‘sitting by the fire for the evening’ is like- they don’t even have the time to sit down for a meal together. Many are eating in the car more than the dining room. This just isn’t right.
Something that Kim John Payne put in his Simplicity Parenting book that I loved was the idea of ‘soul fever’. His book is about kids, but kids aren’t the only ones who suffer.
Soul Fever is a sickness of the soul. It is when life get too crazy, and too stressed, and the emotions start getting affected. The symptoms are different for different people, just like a physical flu affects people differently.
What the author said was that personality quirks come to the surface as symptoms. People may become extremely social or they may withdraw. They may give up or they may become OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). The common theme is that with soul fever a person just isn’t themselves. The stress level is too high, and the soul is beginning to suffer.
Setting Boundaries for yourself
You need to have time to take care of yourself. you need to set limits on what you can and can’t do, and you need to pamper yourself a bit. This takes time, and it is important time.
How can we set up boundaries that will protect ourselves, our families and our passions and not let other things creep in and take our time and energy?
Learning to say “NO”. Can you hear it? This is what minimalism sounds like. (Really, it is so we can say ‘Yes’ to what we want, but it often comes after a lot of ‘no’s’.) It is important to leave it at ‘no’ or one of the examples below. There is no need to explain or excuse yourself; this leaves room open for discussion and you might lose. Try some of the following, and then change the subject.
• ‘No, I don’t think we will be able to this year/week/season.’
• ‘I am so sorry, but it isn’t going to work out.’
• ‘Thanks, but no. We don’t have time in our schedule for it right now.’
• ‘I am flattered that you would consider/invite me. The idea sounds great, but I can’t say yes this time.’
Debt is the enemy! Let this be super, super, super clear. Bad, dangerous, deadly, trapping, and all other things evil. Debt = pain and stress (i.e. the opposite of simple). Debt comes when the ‘X and Y’ simple-money concept is broken. The consequences are bad.
I love Dave Ramsey’s Financial freedom stuff and recommend it to people who want a simple, easy to follow, financial path. He compares debt and us to a gazelle running away from a cheetah. Debt makes businesses big money, and they do everything they can to get you to go into debt so they can feed off you.
Bad news! Run! Don’t get into debt and do everything you can to get out of debt. Period.
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