Simplicity in Shuler, Arkansas

Everywhere I look, people are busy.  Managing families.  Managing careers.  Managing their possessions.  Even trying to manage their hobbies during their precious free time.  There are just 24 hours in a day, and after all the managing of the essentials, it seems that most of us have very little time left over to just dial things down and BE.  Life seems to end up being some kind of contest where most of us strive to keep our heads above water and maintain the "stuff" that everyone says we have to have -- and do the stuff that everyone says we all have to do.

More and more, and little by little, I see people rebelling against that concept of living.  I sense that there are more than a few folks out there who are kicking against the goads, putting their hands on their hips and planting their feet and saying, "No more of this for me!"  I see the reality dawning on people that they are spending the vast majority of their time, energy and effort to maintain the status quo, and continually pushing more valuable, precious and lasting aspects of their lives and existence to the far perimeters.  They are starting to get the impression that their lifestyles are just another rendition of the old "rearranging the furniture on the Titanic" thing.  Not a settling thought!

Now... it's one thing to start getting the sneaking suspicion that things need to change.  It's another thing to actually take concrete steps toward a new way of living.  How is it possible to reverse momentum that has taken years, or even decades, to build up?  And that's where most of us get stuck.  It sounds like such a sweet and romantic little notion to turn things around and re-engineer an entire way of life, doesn't it?  But when it comes down to looking at the nuts and bolts and budgets and responsibilities and foundations and structures and expectations and debts and all of those "ground truth" things, the idyllic fantasies of life-simplication appear to be just that... idyllic.

As elementary as it may sound, the first concrete step simply is to want it.  The "want to" that springs from a deep revelation that there is another way to live is actually a very powerful motivator.  It is the doorway into exploration, and the passageway to a whole new paradigm.  That "want to" is the thing that opens us up to hardcore revelation that what we currently have and do, and the things we think we must have and do, are for the most part empty and worthless in the long run.  Then we start to question whether or not we really need the vast majority of it -- in order to be OK.  Once that really sinks in, it becomes possible to turn, dissociate, and eventually separate.

Of course some of us live in the midst of circumstances and situations that require a heck of a lot more planning, unplanning, re-engineering and downright hard work to achieve that separation.  It's much easier for a single person than it is for a family of six.  But it's all relative, and simplicity is, after all, subjective.  In my experience, those who've been successful and come out on the other end more content, have simply submitted to a "scaling back" process over a period of months and even years.  It has led them to a life characterized by less baggage, more freedom, and more mobility -- but often, less of what we traditionally consider to provide comfort and security. 

Do you want it?  Can you take the first steps -- physical, emotional, spiritual -- to simplify?