Jul 4, 2011


It's the 4th of July today and I'm challenging myself to look at freedom in light of my journey of voluntary simplicity.

Simplicity is a funny thing. Sometimes it seems simple and sometimes it seems, well, not so simple at all. I've been doing a lot of work on the simplicity front lately - spending time on my front porch in the morning reading up on voluntary simplicity and journaling, reviving my virtual simplicity circle with a friend of mine who now lives in Arkansas, cleaning out my closet and donating 50% of my clothes to Goodwill (I'm at about 30% after my second pass), starting to track my spending again so I know where I stand, focusing on a vegan diet that is more whole-foods based than processed... and the list goes on.

I've found some of these steps to be surprisingly simple, and others to be much more difficult. But the common thread I'm finding in everything I'm doing is the intention behind living a simpler life. And it's that intention that I want to start to explore again in my writing. It's not the what, or even the how, that I'm interested in, but the why.

I'm interested in the voluntary simplicity movement because I believe that who we are is so intricately tied to what we do and how we live our lives. I think we have to work at "being the change," not only in our professional lives, but also in our personal ones.

I was driving to work the other day, for example, and I noticed that this big plot of forest had been cleared - hundreds of trees, gone. The best I can figure out is that the waste management treatment plant that lies directly adjacent to the newly-cleared plot of land is expanding. Yuck!

Once I got over my initial disgust, I began to reflect on both why I was upset and what my personal responsibility is to contributing to the trash that fills our landfills. So, along with everything else I've been working on, I'm also starting to work on reducing the amount of trash that leaves our home every week. As best I can guess, right now we are recycling about 80% of stuff, but I know we can do better.

I know we need to do better.

Because we need more trees, not more landfills.

And we need more consciousness, not more mindless consumption. For me, I know that valuing freedom also means valuing the ability to make conscious choices... not because anyone is forcing me to, but because I can.