Friday, July 22, 2011

Simpler Is Better

I remember hearing someone suggest that people should craft a personal philosophy of life if they desired to live wisely and since it made sense to me I thought about it and came up with one of my own. My philosophy of life is: “Simpler is better.”

If that sounds too simple to be a life philosophy, then so be it. But over the course of my forty-something years of living I’ve come to experience the beauty of simplicity in too many ways to think otherwise. I am convinced that simple living beats the alternative.

Fortunately for me, my wife and I are on the same wavelength when it comes to designing how to live our lives. Whenever we are faced with competing demands on our time, much more often than not the simpler alternative is the one we opt to adopt.

Both of us have suffered the consequences of not listening to that still, small voice inside of us reminding us to simplify. In my case, it was a life-threatening illness that caused me to trade stressful practices for simpler ones that enhance the overall quality of my life.

We have learned to live our lives at a sustainable pace rather than succumb to the pressures of daily living that threaten to overwhelm us if allowed. And we purposely concentrate more on celebrating experiences than collecting possessions that clutter.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Quest Continues

Why two people, namely my wife and I, ever thought a collection of several DOZEN dishes was necessary for such a small family is beyond comprehension. We never planned on having a large family so that wasn’t the reason, and while we have hosted parties for as many as 50 people at our home they were a rarity and didn’t involve dishes. Suffice it to say that the quest for a simpler lifestyle calls for the purging of such culinary clutter.

And purge we have. From that unwieldy collection, including TEN each of matching large plates, small plates, bowls, cups, saucers, etc., we’ve cut our cupboard down to size by getting rid of all but a couple plates, bowls and glasses for my wife and I. So what about dinner guests? The place we are presently leasing is furnished so there are extra dishes if needed and we can simply meet friends at a restaurant to dine together if not as guests at their homes.

The lesson we are gleaning from the continuing quest to simplify our lives is to radically rethink what is necessary to live simply yet satisfyingly, with the measuring stick of mobility as our guide. As I posted here earlier, our family motto has become “minimize to mobilize.” Every item we possess has to pass the mobility test. And we draw inspiration from the life of Christ.

It was said of Jesus, who was no less than the very Son of God, that he had “nowhere to lay his head.” Not that he was homeless, but he chose no permanent place to call his own. In other words, he adopted a mobile lifestyle in order to reach as many people as possible. As for us, we aren’t here to save the world, but our lifestyle does enable us to touch people we’d never meet otherwise. And that is good news.