“In the proximity of death, there is always that grace hiding underneath the seemingly negative event. Death in our civilization is seen as entirely negative, as if it shouldn’t be happening. Because it’s denied, people are so shocked when somebody dies – as if it’s not possible. We don’t live with the familiarity of death, as some more ancient cultures still do. The familiarity of death isn’t there. Everything is hidden, the dead body is hidden. ”
“There are only three things we do in life: We stand, we sit, we lie horizontal. Once we’ve found success, we’ll still be sitting somewhere, until we stand, and we’ll stand until we lie down or sit again. Success is a concept, an illusion.”
Byron Katie, Loving What Is
“Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. You don’t have to like it… it’s just easier if you do.”
“Being present means living without control and always having your needs met.”
Byron Katie, On Work and Money
Control = illusion
true needs are few, wants are not
all I need, I have
By your own efforts waken yourself, watch yourself. And live joyfully.
There is great joy in reveling in the small and simple things.
The absence of “things” can bring great peace and actually buy you time and energy. As the author of Goodbye, Things says,
“To let go is not to lose but to gain. When you let go, something new will inevitably come and fill in the empty space you created.”
-Fumio Sasaki, Goodbye Things
Maybe it just is. It’s not good or bad, it just is.
My 13 year old daughter and I are leaving tonight for a week in D.C. I’m still practicing “simplistic living” (subtract, subtract, subtract (!)) and my goal is to pack as little as possible.
I’m not checking a bag and everything fits in two my carry on bags. A small, nagging voice is wondering if I have everything I need, but I know I do. With little to worry about, we’re ready for a great time!
Confession: Once in awhile, I fantasize about selling EVERYTHING I own and taking just the essentials in a backpack and trekking across country.
Reality: I’m a mom of two teenage girls and a 6 year old dog. I’m also a wife and a teacher. I have too many responsibilities. But I’ve always been a fan of simplicity and this year, as I approach 50, I’m more determined than ever to pare down every part of my life to the bare esssentials. Why? Because – and I’m speaking for just myself here – I believe living a minimalistic life is a path to true happiness.
Biggest Challenge: I have a family. I can’t – and won’t – get rid of their things.
Method: I’m a fan of slow. Slow and sure. Every weekend, I fill a bag or two of things to donate. I’m careful with grocery shopping. I freeze excess and rarely throw anything away. I’ve been purchasing books on Kindle and in thrift stores. My bookshelves contain only the books I am passionate about.
Whenever I download “stuff,” I feel so light and free!
When I was very young (maybe five years old), my mother made rings out of dandelions. She’d pluck the weed and create a knot with the stem and, smiling, put the ring on my finger. I felt special and lucky. Within hours, the dandelion wilted, the yellow flowers tinged with brown. It was my first lesson of impermanence.
We were poor and a part of me knew it, but mostly, I was blissfully ignorant. I reveled in the smell of burning wood in the Iowa autumn. I loved the dandelion rings my mother made and I loved watching “The Muppets” on TV. All of this was (relatively) free. I thought everyone had a father who came home exhausted and discouraged. I thought everyone shared one bathroom in their family. I thought everyone fought over money.
I’m a lot older now and I have learned this: wishing for “stuff” always leads to disappointment. Nothing you can buy will deliver anywhere near the satisfaction of smelling burning wood on a Midwest autumn evening, or watching the “Muppets” on a chilly Halloween night or wearing a dandelion ring your mother makes just for you.