Thursday, October 7, 2010

Living Simply.

Everyone is stressed… Too many bills to pay, not enough time to do all we need to do, too much clutter in our homes and offices… Life seems to be an ever-increasing circle of meaningless repetition, spinning faster and faster out of our control. When life gets this way, even the simplest of tasks can seem daunting and un-doable.

Often, while planning to address one issue, we are thinking ahead to the other things that need to be done and we become overwhelmed; simply moving a few magazines from the couch becomes a day-long task… In order to move the magazines, there needs to be a place to put them, but in order to find that, the bookshelf needs to be tidied up. In the process of tidying the bookshelf something else becomes urgent and we become sidetracked, usually with the end result of being less organized and tidy than when we started.

In my case things get out of hand in the summer. The summers where I live seem extremely short and warm sunny weather is appreciated like nothing else. On a sunny day, when I should be mowing the lawn, I am more tempted to get on my bike or take a hike in the forest or along the shore. The end result of course is that eventually the lawn becomes a pressing issue that takes the better part of two days to deal with. Then I have put myself in a position of spending two days doing something that should only take a few hours. Exhausted, I flop onto the couch and read, which leads to a nap and what I’ve been reading stays where it falls. Then I’m back outside trying to squeeze as much as I can out of our short summer.

My friends are all equally busy too. I have three level 2 Reiki students who have been trying for months to coordinate schedules with myself and each other to get together and share some time. Another friend, who I used to see many times a week, I now see perhaps three times a year.

There has been a movement afoot for some time in North America, to “lighten up” our lives and homes, to remove clutter and disorganization and free up some time for personal growth. In recent times, many “successful” people have given up their careers, assets, and belongings to seek out a simpler and possibly more meaningful life.

During my adolescence, there was a movement among the Hippies to move back to the land and give up the trappings of society. Many at that time were escaping the U.S to avoid being drafted into the war in Viet Nam. Today it is not a war in Asia that is being avoided, but enslavement to a life of consumerism and accumulation.

I think the problem is too much television. Not that television is inherently evil; on the contrary, it is a great source of education and entertainment, but we spend far too much time as a society watching it, and the commercials encourage us to buy products we don’t need, maybe even don’t want and will probably never use. This consumer mentality forces us to have too many cars, too many TV sets, too many computers, a swimming pool, a bigger house and so on and so on.... Then when our credit cards are maxed out, we need to work, work, work to pay off the massive debt load. Add children to the mix and the cost of raising them and saving for their University educations and ... well my friends can speak on that better than I can.

If you can get them to spare the time...

~Still Wandering...


  1. You nailed it, Lonnie. It seems like the two things you are talking about here are counterparts in a cyclicle problem. T.v encourages consumerism, consumerism demands long laborious hours to both pay for and produce the products, then finally, long labourious days produce exhausted people who just want to watch lots more t.v.. Oh wait, and then we no longer enjoy our own lives, resigning to a life of catching up on bills, so we live vicariously through more and more fictional characters on....T.V!!! I guess we have to take every opportunity we get to break this cycle and take our lives back, one hour of non-shopping at a time.

    I really enjoyed this, Lon.

  2. Well said and thought, Mr. Jones. Happy to track down your blog!

  3. Thanks guys! As I respond to these comments, I'm already swept up in the things I have to get done this weekend, and trying to figure out how to do it all and in what sequence. I think that's why I enjoy playing my drums so much. For the time period during which I'm playing, plus the time it takes to set up and break down, I know that's all I'm doing and there's no opportunity to "wander off."


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