So let’s start simply.
There is an underground movement toward ‘simple living.’ In many ways I find this movement to be idealistic and not fully achievable given the current structure of the Western World. Although the movement stresses simplicity it also seems to be an all or nothing business with many of its followers.
I agree that we are too saturated with ‘stuff’ and most of us have a want.take.have. mentality and we want things we don’t even need. We want things we don’t fully understand and even worse, we want things we have no desire to understand. We simply want to possess.
Technology provides us with the ability to have immediately. This morning I was fiddling with my webOS app catalog, which I do every day and it occurred to me that I have more apps than I’ll ever use. A lot of them I downloaded and didn’t like. I never deleted them from my Palm Pre. They’re just hanging out like the box of unflattering lipsticks stashed somewhere in the home of every woman.
My friend Robert talks a lot about simple living and I think ‘lord, I just can’t do it. I don’t know where to begin.’ While meditating on this app situation I realized that I participate in simple living in small ways. They are accessible ways that we all can adopt to begin the move to freedom from material lust.
I do have a lot of stuff. But I use everything I have. If I don’t use it, it goes to Goodwill, ebay or the trash if appropriate. I actually don’t have that box of lipsticks shoved under my bathroom sink because every 6 months I purge my belongings. If I haven’t used it in a year, it goes.
This is a process I started when I was 21. It makes me feel free. Yes, it’s difficult at times to part with things that I may have an emotional attachment to but in the end it helps to remind me that stuff is just that – it’s stuff. It’s not the person, it’s not the relationship, it’s not the memory.
Of course, I do keep things that have meaning but I temper my attachments. You need to be honest about the true emotional value of a thing.
In fact, my bi-yearly act of purging helps me to move through any painful experiences that I’ve endured since my last purge. It’s like molting. I’m shedding skin that weighs me down.
I understand if the idea of physically letting go of something that holds a memory for you gives you a panic attack. You might need to time to move onto that level. So… start simply. Delete some of those apps on your phone.
Do need that Bieber soundboard? I bet you don’t. And I also bet you aren’t going to tell anyone you have that Bieber soundboard so really… delete it.
I’ve realized I don’t need 3 versions of Tetris, though I do play all of them, but really it’s extraneous to have 3 versions. I only need 1.
I do, however, need all 3 versions of Angry Birds. Really I do. Honestly. I swear.
Rio has MONKEYS.
Also, I need a pirate/ninja version. Do you hear me Rovio?? Pirate vs. Ninja with a secret ninja/pirate vs. cowboy level. Make.It.Happen.
Ditch some DVDs you haven’t watched in years. But of course by ditch I mean take them to a thrift store.
Dear lord if you still have VHS tapes you should be ashamed of yourself. Up until 2 years ago I still had a few because they were rare & not available on DVD. Some were bootleg videos of concerts I’d been to and that had been fantastic experiences for me but when was I ever going to play them?
So give the simple life a go. Go at it slowly if you need to. No one wants you to have a heart attack from a material purge but trust me and oodles of other people when we say i’s good for your soul.
Don’t mistake me, I am not free from material lust. I’m working on achieving that freedom in a way that I can manage. I hope eventually I’ll progress in my work and have fewer possessions.
I think the trick to living simply and perhaps the trick to living in general is to do what you can. Do what you honestly can, not what fear tells you can. Start with that and through you’ll find all of that work steadily brings you closer to fulfillment and contentment.