In a world of frantic beeping, piles of stuff to manage and overbooked schedules, don’t we all long for a life which is quieter, slower, more meaningful? Life is a grey blur of one thing to the next, color lost as we move onto the next thing, never fully tasting the present moment. Are you, like me, longing for living simply: sweeter, slower, more intentional?
We picture the bliss of putting our feet up, drink in hand, gaze drifting over a spotless and impeccably decorated living room, and finally reaching the Higher Plane of Living Simply. We imaging Living Simply as an illusive platform which can be found if we take the right combination of rails. But you know what? Life does not work like that. Intentional, simple living is not a destination held in place by rainbows, string lights and white sheepskin rugs. (Don’t ask me how that would even work.)
Life is much more satisfying when we view living simply, intentionally, slowly —all of this, we like to call it living “small” — as the train. Your lifestyle is not an ultimate exclusive destination. The intentional way you craft your days is a means to experience life more colorfully and deeply.
Your lifestyle is not an ultimate exclusive destination. The intentional way you craft your days is a means to experience life more colorfully and deeply.
Here are three ways that can help to shift your perspective on seeing living simply as a process, not a product. (Think of these points as tools to give yourself grace!) 🙂
Life is Complicated
(Imagine a mic drop). You’re welcome for that tidbit of enlightenment. 🙂 We all know it—life is messy. Some commitments can be let go; others cannot. Some physical belongings can be let go; others cannot at the moment. And that’s okay. We imagine that once we reach the Higher Plane of Living Simply, life will automatically be a cake walk. It won’t. Life will still be complicated because, well, that’s life. We can accept that life is complicated by nature. Approaching our daily challenges and excitements through the lens of living simply helps to clarify priorities and streamline our attention. Life will remain complicated, but well-placed priorities will guide our choices and affect how present we are in the present.
Life will remain complicated, but well-placed priorities will guide our choices and affect how present we are in the present.
Living Simply is Relative
We all have different ideas of what we might gain from living simply. Your idea of a simple life might sound downright boring to someone else, and that’s okay. 😉 For some people, living simply might look like embracing Spartan Minimalism so they can focus on fundamentals. For others, it might mean a measure of less clutter so they can spend more time at the park with the kids. Still others might see living simply as keeping their many sports commitments but diligently cooking slow-cooker meals instead of eating out. Living simply will look different between individuals because it is deeply rooted in their priorities and values. Don’t compare your dream of living simply to someone else’s. Hold fast to your own picture of slowing down/downsizing/decluttering/whatever-it-is that will allow you to be more beautifully present in your own life, and make it happen.
Hold fast to your own picture of slowing down/downsizing/decluttering/whatever-it-is that will allow you to be more beautifully present in your own life, and make it happen.
Your families’ living simply setting is where your family shines best.
Living Simply has Seasons
Life moves forward in large footsteps called seasons; consequently living simply will look different in varying stages of life. If living simply is the “train” which renders life more colorful and full, then the view out the window will be different depending on the track we are currently riding. Simple and intentional living will take on new flavors for the season of life you are in. If you’re in a health crisis, then living simply might mean ignoring the Kon Mari method and concentrating on healing. If you have a deadline looming, it might be all you can do to spend your lunch break in the sunshine to gain a clear head. Flex with the what is going on in your life and give yourself grace. Intentional, simple living is possible in every season, but the “track” you take won’t always be the same.
Ok, we can start thinking about living simply as a means instead of an end… but how will we know if we are “getting it”?
You’ll know you’re on an intentionally living simply train when you’re able to savor life more thoroughly. Small, everyday pleasures will reclaim their natural delight. You’ll have the ability to slow down and appreciate what is most important to you in life.
Primarily, you’ll stop looking out the window for the “Living Simply” platform of arrival and you’ll start to notice the beautiful scenery.