I thought I had too much to live simply.
I thought my house was too big, and each room, too well furnished.
I thought living on a beautiful five acre parcel connoted an extravagant lifestyle that did not align with simple living.
Simply put, I felt too blessed to be able to live a simple lifestyle.
Have you ever felt like you had too many blessings???
But, I now realize, those thoughts were false.
I think perhaps I was confusing simplicity with asceticism.
Asceticism renounces material possessions and physical pleasure.
They seem so very similar.
Yet, they are not one in the same.
I have finally come to understand that,
simple living is not about how much, or how little you have.
It does not demand the renouncing of one's material possessions.
Nor does it require a lack of pleasure.
Simple living is characterized by being content with what you have.
It is about using the blessings you have been given, to fulfill your life's purpose.
"Simplicity does not mean getting rid of all your possessions,
but rather, integrating them into your life's purpose."
Mary Gregory - Plain Living, A Quaker Path To Simplicity
This beautifully explained quote by Mary Gregory, has really assisted me in wrapping my mind around what it means to live simply.
It has allowed me to understand that,
I do not have to fit into any particular box or category,
to live a life of simplicity.
You see, simple living for me, should look different than it looks for you.
While it is possible that we may have similar life purposes, we are each unique individuals, with unique aspects to those purposes, and should therefore not look exactly the same.
In other words,
You should look like you,
and I should look like me.
If my home looks exactly like yours, one of us has a problem!
Integrating my possessions into my life's purpose,
implies that, my home can reflect my living a simple lifestyle,
without my having to strip everything I love from it.
What is your life's purpose?
That is not to say that I have not been removing items from my home.
Quite the contrary.
I have removed many things.
And I have many more to remove.
It has not been an easy task for me.
Honestly, this has been the most difficult struggle,
thinking that I would have get rid of things I love.
But, it doesn't mean that I have get rid of everything.
I was gifted this beautiful little stool by a lady who was downsizing her home and her lifestyle. It belonged to her grandfather and was precious to her, but she simply did not have room for it in her new home. I loved it and humbly accepted the precious gift. I brought it home and placed it in a spot where I would enjoy seeing it every day.
Inwardly though, I struggled with allowing myself to keep it. I feel so strongly about living a life of simplicity, and I just wasn't sure if bringing yet another item into my home emulated that desire. But, upon reflecting on this quote from Mary Gregory, I realize this pretty little stool corresponds with my life's purpose.
You see, I like to entertain. It is important for me to have people in my home. I delight in connecting with friends over a good cup of coffee. This exquisite little stool offers a lovely nook to arrange my mugs easily and accessibly. It is simple, yet pretty, and has been integrated into my life's purpose. So I've kept it and loved it.
These blue vases, however,
I will be removing from my home.
While they are quite lovely, I don't feel they are in any way shape or form, contributing to my life's purpose. I have nowhere to put them. I mean, I have space on my dining table, but the thought of having to move them every time we eat dinner makes me crazy. And honestly, I just don't love them. I find them to be a hindrance to me rather than an asset, so they are going away.
“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
This, to me, is simplicity.
It is how I will choose to dwell.
Though I still have much to learn,
I believe I am well on my way to living a life of simplicity,
whilst still being able to count my blessings.
I hope you are counting your's, too!
Are you walking a similar journey?
Please share your wisdom, insights, or struggles in the comments below.
We are stronger when we work, and walk, together!