Elgin claims that living a simple life doesn’t mean just getting rid of material possession, although that can be an important component, but of living a life of ‘greater sanity and soulfulness’. “Simplicity is not about a life of poverty, but about a life of purpose.”
I’m intrigued that it has taken that simple statement for me to integrate what I have been trying to articulate every since I started this blog in November 2009. Until now I have thought of simplicity as whatever is easy; but no, it is more complex than that. Striving for simplicity is about getting rid of whatever is in the way of one’s life purpose.
Let’ face it, possessions get in the way. Physically, just think of the buying and putting away, the cleaning and fixing, and the decisions, such as which sweater to wear to the party, or which dish for the salted nuts. Emotionally, possessions generate guilt: the abuse of the environment; the sub-standard wages of workers; and the answer to the question of who could benefit from the money I have just spent on things I don’t need.
I think about my life purpose all the time. Seriously, I am continually yearning and striving for a meaningful life. Oh, I keep falling, but I pick myself up, or more likely get picked up, and continue on. Years ago I came up with a mission statement, which continues to this day to be spot on for me. My mission is to inspire, affirm, and encourage others to find happiness and peace. When I live into it, I, too, find happiness and peace.
Lately all our stuff feels burdensome. Not because of the guilt associated with material possessions, but because of the mental concern that as my husband and I get older, we need to get rid of stuff in preparation to downsizing or dying. However, it is not about future time, but about NOW. I don’t want to spend the NOW cleaning or clearing; I don’t want these aging years of my life, while I am still healthy, preparing for future years. Voluntary simplicity is about NOW.
• Voluntary simplicity for me means simplicity of thought concerning possessions.
• Voluntary simplicity for me means praying, meditating, walking, writing, reading, knitting, visiting, being with family and friends, and doing jigsaw puzzles.
• Voluntary simplicity for me means living in solitude, silence and simplicity.
• Voluntary simplicity for me means living my purpose.