Simple living is not meant to deprive ourselves of things. It is easy to think of simple living more as acts of taking away, giving up, or saying no. And yes, in some cases, to lead a more simple life, we must first sacrifice certain things by distinguishing our needs from wants. But this is only the beginning. It is a starting point to help guide us on the route to freedom, because once we give up things that unnecessarily stress us out, be it a tight schedule or technology with more functions than we know what to do with, we will become closer to free. This freedom allows us to say yes, to receive, and as a result, give the best gift to others—ourselves. Saying no to taking on another commitment, extracurricular or day of work enables us to focus us on what already lies in front of us and produce them with love, care and quality. Giving up a few extra hours of watching TV a week opens us up to knowledge and wisdom in books, conversations and inward reflections.
Living a simple lifestyle can also help to shorten the gap between members of our communities of different socioeconomic statuses. Rich conversation about why some go with and others with-out is an invitation to look at consumerism, materialism and what our culture values. With the help of a community, we can begin to clear the clutter in our lives to help us delve deeper into social analysis, destructing the systems that perpetuate unnecessary injustices.
There is no one definition of simple living. However it is a definition that can and should be constantly redefined in conversations with friends, family and community members. If you would like to learn more about simple living and the different ways of engaging in a simple lifestyle check out “The Garden of Simplicity” at http://www.simpleliving.net/content/custom_garden_of_simplicity.asp