* Michelle Thoughts

Voluntary Simplicity: concluded

I never concluded with my favorite quotes from the Voluntary Simplicity book by NWEI so here they are:

Chapter 5: Living Simply on Earth

“Most of us get almost all the things we need by buying them; most of us know only vaguely, if at all, where those things come from; and most of us know not at all what damage is involved in their production. We are almost entirely dependent upon an economy  of which we are almost entirely ignorant. … To build houses here, we clear-cut forests there. To have air conditioning here, we strip mine the mountains there.  To drive our cars here, we sink our oil wells there. It is an absentee economy.”

This quote may come off as very pessimistic. What are we supposed to do? But I think it’s worse to be in denial or ignorant than to feel the weight of our problems. By paying attention to the consequences of our actions and our purchases, we can start down the path to being more responsible, one step at a time. I heard recently that there’s a patch of garbage floating out in the Pacific Ocean that is the size of Texas! It can be seen from space! The way we’re consuming and using resources clearly has its effect. Something’s got to change.

“I suggest that each of us strive to fall in love with our own daily life. If we are not loving the life we live, we need to change it, right now, today.”

This quote stood out to me as well. I often focus on having a meaningful life in the grand-scheme-of-things way: my career, big accomplishments, changing the world. But here it says to fall in love with your “daily life.” One thing this series of readings reminds me to do is find joy in the little things, in the journeys, in the time between big accomplishments, in daily life. I confess I am not always in love with my daily life because I’m too focused on the future or I don’t use my time wisely. How much fuller could my life be if I had more appreciation for what would otherwise seem ordinary? If I didn’t zone out on the way to my “next thing”? And I like how no-nonsense this author is if you aren’t in love with your daily life: Change it. Right now. No excuses. Life is too short to wait for circumstances. So that’s something I will be working on is making those changes in my attitude and my day-to-day activities so that I can truly say I am in love with my own daily life.

* Michelle Thoughts

Time: Voluntary Simplicity cont.

Chapter 4: Do  You Have the Time?

“Our task is to balance the many roles we play and refrain from volunteering to understudy everybody else’s.  It can be tough to say no, especially to causes we recognize as worthy.  The goal is to realize that, since we can’t help with everything, our time and stamina need to go into what truly speaks to our hearts.”

“The time you spend preserving your health  is like time invested in a savings account: you’ll get it back plus interest.”

“How much time do you choose to spend with electronic companionship?” (i.e. TV, internet, video games)

“If I am incapable of washing dishes joyfully, if I want to finish them quickly so I can go and have dessert and a cup of tea, I will be equally incapable of doing these things joyfully. With the cup in my hands, I will be thinking about what to do next, and the fragrance and flavor of the tea, together with the pleasure of drinking it, will be lost. I will always be dragged into the future, never able to live in the present moment. The time of dish-washing is as important as the time of meditation.”

Time is an interesting subject for all of us, I think.  As someone who is “a planner” and an “achiever,” I am constantly spending my thoughts on the future.  Pushing forward,  working toward, planning ahead. It’s a struggle to be present to the moment I’m in. Our time is such a precious thing because it passes without hesitation, like a strong current, and it doesn’t come back. Am I spending my limited time on what I’m passionate about? Am I using my limited time to invest in meaningful relationships or in TV shows? Am I joyful with what I’m doing now or am I always looking to the next thing?