Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Bill Gerlach. Bill writes about the intersections of Life, Nature and Being at The New Pursuit. Normally, I don't run posts on Tuesday, but I wanted to share this article with you! Enjoy.
We all have our reasons. I have three: My family, my community and this little planet we all call Home.
Redefining the Family Experience
Each day I wake up and look at my wife and three young children and think: How will the way I live my life today help them live theirs to the fullest potential – today, tomorrow, and twenty years from now? How will my choices about what I consume and what I don’t, give them a better understanding of how to live their lives and help others? What should I embrace and what should I let go? What choices will allow the Earth to better sustain itself for my community's well-being and prosperity?
This is why my family and I have made choices, that while not for everyone, help us live deeply each day. For example, we choose to live without TV and instead we use our time to "noodle" our creative juices, learn by doing, and get outside to explore all kinds of new experiences. We spend a healthy chunk of our spring and summer nurturing our vegetable and flower gardens. We learn how to grow more things better. We slow down to bake bread and make handmade gifts. These things bring us closer together and create memories that will last long after the bright and shiny store-bought stuff loses its luster.
Reconnecting With Community
But why should the benefits of simpler living be kept at home? With each passing day, more and more people are reinvesting in the resilience of their communities, returning to the power and solace that is to be found with neighbors near and far. While some might think the flatter the world the better, there is a growing sense that we have lost that bond with what’s right outside our front door.
Not being pre-occupied with keeping up with The Joneses opens up all kinds of time and attention for playing an active role in this reinvestment. For instance, we volunteer our time with organizations and activities that breathe life into our neighborhoods and families. We stop to chat with the neighbors checking the mail. We take part in events that put the “unity” back into “community”. It’s a wonderful feeling when you can run into so many friends and genuinely know and care about them.
Sowing the Seeds of Stewardship
Much has been written about the benefits of pursuing the simple path: Happiness, contentment, freedom; time to pursue passions; rekindling relationships and the return to community.
But what’s the hidden gem in all this? Minimalism and simplicity are profound pathways to a sustainable existence – at home, at work, and everywhere in-between. Multiply that by the thousands (perhaps millions?) of people consuming less and you begin to see where I’m going. Learning simple ways to be mindful of our consumption allows us to connect the dots between our actions and impacts on this little planet we call Home.
These lessons foster a deeper connection with and appreciation for the natural world. They sow the seeds of stewardship as we think beyond our lifetime and want to protect this beautiful place for untold generations to come. We begin to see the interconnectedness of all things and want to embrace that feeling more.
What Motivates You?
The decision to live simply could be the best decision you ever make – for you, your family, your community and the world-at-large. But what makes the minimalist path so special is the uniqueness that each person brings to it.
We all have the ups and downs of teachable moments that allow us to grow. Embracing such transparency and sharing these experiences builds a different – but no less important – community (some might say family) of support, encouragement and know-how. Here, momentum gathers and tides begin to shift; friction with the status-quo builds as more and more go against the grain of the Throwaway Culture of Convenience.
Here in simple living, everyone wins in his or her own special way.