12 Ideas for Simple Living

We live in a world that is filled with complexity. Everyday we face old and new problems that require our attention.

Luckily, we are problem solvers and are able to bring the necessary changes into our lives so that we can live a life of purpose and intention.

So … this is a blogpost for people like myself, who are eager to effectuate major changes in their lives, but have struggled for a long time.

Now, let us not fall into the trap of thinking that all bad situations are caused externally. The truth is that through our own ignorance, neglectance and inefficiency we cause or contribute to some or many of the problems that we face.

So, let us take this question, “how do we stop the creation of clutter that gets added to the pile of complexity and reverse that process, removing unnecessary problems from our lives?”

And “how can we in the midst of complexity become more aware and efficient so that we can discern what really matters en make real progress?”

Or do we just keep up with the Joneses and keep facing the problems that we have helped to arise while we could have prevented those problems?

May I suggest simplifying our lifestyle as a way to regain our power and control.

Here are twelve ideas, which I hope can help you.

#1 Learning

Learning is an endgoal. When we are constantly in a state of learning our minds are active and trained. A mind that is fit can deal much better with complexity than an untrained mind. We need strong, resilient minds in today’s demanding world.

As we keep learning in search for truth, for knowledge, for the acquisition and the increase of our skills and talents, we will develop a greater capacity to live in harmony with the world around us.

Learning will enable us to be better at life.

#2 Enchantment

Enchantment or wonder and delight is part of every day life.

For life is filled with beauty, bliss and miracles.

There is much evil and misery in the world, but let us not be troubled nor blinded by it. Let us not miss the magic.

William Butler Yeats says it wel:

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

Also, our imagination, a limitless force, we should use in our attainment to live a life of simplicity.

#3 Organics

Another tip I can give is to choose organic, a very clear and simple target.

When it comes to food go for as much fresh, pure and wholesome foods as you can.

Yes, organic products may be more expensive than the non organic or processed alternatives. But, if we look at it from a greater angle we gain a whole new perspective.

By choosing organic food we take in nutritious food which our body needs for the maintenance and the growth of our cells. To eat organic products is like making a huge investment for our health and longevity.

And by playing it smart in the long run we can reduce the amount of money that we spend on food.

What about growing our own vegetable garden, and planting and growing our own fruit trees?

#4 Now

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Now is the time in our life to live. Let us not procrastinate. Let us not wait until we get motivated. Let us do the work.

Our time is valuable. So let us manage our time well.

We could for example use the 80/20 rule.

80% of regular work and 20% of strategic work.

For this, you can use the Einstein Window. Ask yourself: when are you at your best?

Then devote that time to your 20%.

Don’t let time pressure stress you out.

Manage yourself and let all areas of your life be in harmony with each other.

#5 The Abundance Mentality

If you have unconsciously adopted a scarcity mentality, believing that there is not enough, or that you don’t deserve to have the means for your growth, then I suggest that you shift your mentality, so that you can enjoy more of what life has to offer. Just like any other creature on this planet, you are a rightful owner to life’s abundance.

“The earth is full, and there is enough and to spare” (D&C 104:17).

Logically, developing a mindset of abundance leads to more abundance. See Matt. 25:29

For unto every one that hath shall be ​​​given​, and he shall have ​​​abundance​: but from him that hath not shall be ​​​taken​ away even that which he hath.

#6 Reflecting

As we learn, we must reflect and immerse ourselves in deep thought. If we do not reflect our thinking remains cerebral and doesn’t sink into our hearts.

We need to ASK ourselves and ponder

“what is simple living?” “how can I live a life of intention?”

We need to use our minds and figure out for ourselves what a life of simplicity means.

#7 Design

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Design is the next step.

It implies creating a vision and putting it into definite plans.

To make place for things that we deem essential we have to let go of (a lot of) things.

#8 Letting Go

Letting go is something that comes natural to a minimalist.

Unnecessary possessions have to go.

We have to beware of covetousness.

To read more on this you can check out a post I wrote earlier about letting go of possessions in to do more with less.

Simplifying the life we live means choosing to live only with the essentials and getting rid of the unessentials.

#9 Spirituality

Choosing to live in simplicity is a spiritual choice. It is not only about the physical world and material things, but also about spiritual matters, such as making time for prayer, meditation and/or reflection, creating space for stillness and serenity. Is there something more spiritual as spending time with family, experiencing peace in our lives, and sharing this beautiful spirit with others?

Therefor, “ask for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal” Alma 7:23.

#10 Accountability

When we are accountable and follow through with things we are usually accompanied by a warm, fuzzy feeling of being on the right track. Call it the state of flow that is accompanied by synchronicity.

We will increase the range of our circle of influence when we are found to be accountable and reliable.

“Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things” (Matthew 25:21; see verses 14–30).

#11 Nature

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Living in simplicity is also about enjoying nature, and even more, about us coöperating with nature.

Consider questions like these: how do energy sources such as solar power and wind power to generate electricity fit into our lives? How do we make good use of the earth? And how do our choices affect our natural environment?

#12 Discipline

Discipline is the last point I am making. The commitment to change many of our bad habits into good ones demands self-mastery, self-control and the ability to delay self gratification. But, be gentle with yourself in the process. Be careful of rigidity. Let’s go for softness.

Each one of us should be able to say, “I am responsible for it all”, without taking blame or feeling guilty. We create our own reality!

Wwoof!

Ever heard of Wwoofing? Yes/No? Well … I am a wwoofer and you can be one too if you like. A woofer has the opportunity to live and learn on organic farms. It is volunteer exchange on sustainable and organic farms and properties. Wwoof is an acronym for willing working on organic farms.

At the end of August I volunteered for 9 days at the organic dairy farm of Cedric and Susan, which was thirty minutes away from Palmerston North. The agreement Susan, Cedric and I had made was very simple. I helped out at their organic dairy farm from 8 am to 1 pm from Monday to Friday (yep, I had the weekend off) and in return I received a first hand experience to learn about the principles they used. As always for woofers, accomodation and food was provided, which deepened my rural experience and made it really great.

For the first time in my life I milked a cow! And then I milked another one and another one. It was a daunting task at first, approaching these huge animals at short range while they eyed me, chewing their grass slowly. But I worked myself in gradually, started washing off the green behind my ears by washing their udders with a rag.

Soon I learned that every cow was given a name after a few months, when the farmers had found a name that suited the cow. Richard who was a young assistant farmer with a full grown beard knew all the fifty cows by name. He taught me many things.

Of all the cows I met at the farm there were nice ones and there were kickers. When it was milking time and the cows came to the milking spot the cows who kicked were mostly the younger cows who were not used to being milked. They resisted it and made the process difficult. Every time there was a kicker Richard took over.

I also learned that the calves are not taken and separated from their mothers at birth. At the time I volunteered at their farm it was calving season and many calves were recently born. It was heart warming to see the calves as part of the herd, closely under their mother’s protection. I have seen footage of slaughter cows and calves who became so stressed out because of their seperation at birth. Really terrible!

The second monday on the job I found out about two cows who gave birth, one mother cow whose calve was healthy and walking already and another cow whose calve was stillborn. The mother whose calve was stillborn became confused and tried to steal the calve of the other momma cow. The following morning the farmers had to seperate the mother and her calve from the rest of the herd, especially from the cow who had just lost her calve. They placed them in a paddock further away so that the new momma cow and her newborn calve could bond in peace. But o, the look on that sad, mourning cow who stood desperately alone by the gate without her baby. In one word: devastating!

Another thing that stood out for me, although I knew that they were organic, was that they used essential oils and homeopathic products to treat their animals, for example to calm them down. Being organic means no antibiotics and other chemical products are allowed. The organic label which they were granted by the farming association meant the world to them. They were of course very proud of it.

The organic sector (2.5%) in New Zealand is rapidly growing, but is frowned and looked down upon by many non organic sectors in the food and beverage industry. Susan and Cedric had to deal with many neighbour farmers who had that kind of distrusting attitude toward them. But, to S & C it was worth the blood, sweat and tears, and I commend them for it.

Now then, what have I learned about myself? Though I am not born and brought up as a farmer I stand valiantly behind their principles. I believe in coöperating with nature. I love animals and have respect for their lives.

Later, I would like to plant and grow fruit trees, adopt a dog, a cat, some chickens, perhaps also a swarm of honey bees.

So, what are your thoughts on organic farming?