I am reading the book Awakening Joy: 10 Steps That Will Put You on the Road to Real Happiness. This morning I began reading Step 6: “The Joy of Letting Go”. It is about simple living which is an old theme for me and one I have given much time and study to over the years. Early in our family years, living simply was born out of necessity. Expenses extended beyond our income. For a while this meant eating poorly and continually being behind in our rent. Later, when Bernie got a job with a modest but manageable income, I found that using the principles of simplicity brought joy into a situation that could have been frustrating. Some of the skills I practiced at that time:
– out of our own garden, I canned and froze foods
– I learned to stretch the foods I purchased such as mixing dried milk with butter, cutting the meat portion in hot dishes by half, preparing meals with the game Bernie hunted, including not so common ones such as squirrel and dove, saving all leftover vegetables, even a couple of tablespoons off a child’s plate, and letting them accumulate in bag in the freezer to be thrown into casseroles and soups later.
– I made clothes for the children with material from used adult clothes and old curtains or sheets.
– I found innumerable forms of free entertainment for the kids.
– Christmas and birthdays had a budget and I made many gifts and gave used toys to the children.
I became conscious during these years of environmental issues and was recycling forty years ago, long before it was fashionable or easy. Our town had a recycling center to which I regularly lugged our cans, glass, paper, and plastic. I could receive payment for aluminum and some other metals.
I found living simply not only creative but spiritual. It seemed to be what Jesus wanted of me and I was drawn to the spirituallity of St. Frances of Assissi, known for his connection with nature and life of joyful poverty.
Throughout our lives together, Bernie and I have had moments of financial comfort and times of financial stress. I found myself returning again and again to simple living eventually learning that a life of simplicity is where I find my happiness…as Awakening Joy suggests. Eventually, I found Peace Pilgrim, who has become a spiritual guide for me. She linked the idea of simplicity with being a peace maker. Her philosophy was, “Live simply that others may simply live.” This blog began with our journey to Costa Rica where I visited a memorial to her and renewed my commitment to peace and simplicity.
If you have never intentionally chosen simplicity as a way of life, consider searching out the innumerable books on the topic. I have read many and every time felt enriched.
Have good day enjoying the simple things.