Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Peace of Simplicity

One of my favorite writers, Henry David Thoreau, said, “Our life is frittered away by detail... Simplify, simplify.” He also said, “Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say let your affairs be as one, two, three and to a hundred or a thousand… We are happy in proportion to the things we can do without.”

I would suggest that there are several ways that we can simplify our lives. Feel free to suggest more.

Simple living. Sometimes we make our lives more complicated that we need to. We may take on too many projects or incorporate too many activities into our hectic schedules. Perhaps you can eliminate one or two activities from your week, or say “no” to an unnecessary request. It’s hard to enjoy everyday living when we are exhausted, stressed, and overwhelmed with too many demands and expectations. Slow down a bit and enjoy the journey.

Simple work. When we work too much, we may lose opportunities to build relationships with our loved ones and find the time to relax and enjoy life. Bartering, hiring out, or trading work can simplify our lives. This summer my husband and I hired our granddaughter to do our yard work. Our sweet Katie likes to work outdoors, appreciates the money, and we are so busy with our business we need the help. It’s been a win/win for all of us.

Simple pleasures. Some of the most enjoyable activities are free. When my grandchildren visit, we play board games, read library books, attend free performances, and take nature walks. One game we've invented is playing “What’s Your Favorite?" We ask one other what his or her favorite things are. The list is endless: colors, fruits, songs, stories, books, animals, school subjects, vacations, toys, desserts, memories, things about your dad or mom, things you like to do with grandma, etc. The children really enjoy telling me about all their favorite things, and I learn so much about them when we play this simple game.

It doesn’t take a lot of money to have a lot of fun. Most areas have some excellent bloggers who share lots of tips for free and inexpensive entertainment, food and shopping deals, and other great money-saving tips. Visiting a friend or neighbor, enjoying the beauties of nature, and watching a free movie from the library are fun to do and cost nothing.

Simple thinking. Each day tens of thousands of thoughts move through our minds. When we meditate and focus our thinking on simple, healing thoughts, we experience peace and serenity. “Be still and know that I am God,” we read in the Psalms. Sometimes we need to still our minds and focus on the blessings and wonders of life. Paul said, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Simple spending. Life is much happier when we live within our means and enjoy the simple beauties of life. After her mother died, Jean went through her mother’s possessions and discovered that among the treasures was a lot of stuff. Jean decided that she would accumulate less, enjoy what she has more, and put aside a little for a rainy day. Now she’s a lot happier and less stressed because of her decision to simplify her spending.

Simple eating. Nutritious foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads, homemade soups, and salads are easy to prepare, healthful, and delicious. We don’t need to spend a lot of money to eat well, and simple changes in our diet can reap huge benefits to our physical and psychological well-being.

Another of my favorite authors, Ann Morrow Lindberg, wrote, “I have learned by some experience, by many examples, and by the writings of countless others before me, also occupied in the search, that certain environments, certain modes of life, certain rules of conduct are more conducive to inner and outer harmony than others. There are, in fact, certain roads that one may follow. Simplification life is one of them.

© Carol Brown


  1. What a wonderful post!

    I love the verse that says, "Be still, and know that I am God."

  2. I love these ideas! I have a sign in my house that says "simplify" - and yet, how often do I really do it?

    Thanks for the thoughts!


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