Simple Living--The Good Life
The simple life is hard to achieve, but once you're there it's paradise. Stress free living is the only way to live and living simply is an ancient and universal ideal. It starts and ends with the basics: breathing, mindfulness, water, food, growth, enjoyment, passion, and love.
Too often our lives our determined by harmful external forces that can include institutions like religion; modes of being such as bureaucracy, social media, and consumerism; a person who controls your mind and body. We all have external forces pressing upon us, but the key is to cleanse their influence over you so you can find joy through what and who you love.
I admire the great poets who remind us that entire new worlds of feelings can be discovered in a perfectly placed word. And the power of this one word or idea can change you forever.
I was married for nearly 15 years and together we raised our children. What came with that responsibility included an entire range of social expectations. The right cars, the perfect house in a good neighborhood, the best schools, the coolest friends, the correct "play dates" with other children, fancy vacations, a "power" job, high-end clothes and strollers etc. The problem was that that entire package of expectation became stifling and suffocating. It wasn't so much the money it required to prop-up and sustain a perceived "happy family" life as much as what it does to your soul and how it removes you from things simple into an impossible web of contradictory impossibilities. For no matter how nice everything was there was always more things to consume, buy and maintain.
This is an example of how one external force (the perceived "happy family") compromised simply living. The important things in life were forgotten in order to maintain the image of a good life.
Now that my sons are in college pursuing their own way of life, I realized just how easy it is to fall into these social expectations that confuse and detract you from the important things like spending time cooking with a loved one, or singing funny songs. It's like being in a relationship with someone who is obsessed with your "image" (your social power, your money, etc) and not your true, simple inner-being.
And so, for me, I am trying to live a life true to myself as well as faithful to my responsibilities as a writer, professor, musician, father, lover. What does that look like? Well it's a life of searching and re-searching not just for knowledge, but for partners who cherish what I cherish-- justice for the oppressed, liberation, joy, balance, and finally inner-peace. I love my life because it's never settled and longs for fulfillment whether it's swimming in a Sub-Tropical Sea at 2 am in September, or sailing and listening to music on the quiet moon-shinning waters with a partner reading poetry or telling stories.
The simple life is a good life.