Sunday, November 09, 2008

It's not simple to simplify...

At General Conference, Elder Perry, one of the general authorities of the LDS Church, gave a talk entitled, Let Him Do It with Simplicity. It was one of my favorite talks, something that really struck home about simplifying our lives. He discussed Thoreau's (the guy that lived in a secluded cabin next to a pond for a few years. High school English...) philosophy that as humans we only need four things: food, clothing, shelter and fuel (in this case spiritual fuel).

It got me thinking about the way we live as consumers and the state of the economy today--how much we think we NEED. It clutters our houses and makes us jealous of our neighbors. Wouldn't it be fabulous if we could all taper our lives down the basic things that we need for survival and be happy with them? I am afraid that at some point we will all be forced to live this way due to lack of money/jobs/prosperity in general, but wouldn't it be wonderful to practice now? Buy less, give away more, teach our children the difference between wants and needs.....

By no means am I the picture of perfection when it comes to this philosophy. I don't feel like I'm very materialistic or greedy-unless we're talking about fabric, then I am both- but I shop secondhand for almost everything and am trying to teach Jakson the value of earning things. But is it enough? What can we rid ourselves of? What can we donate or sell to unclutter our home and lives? It's something that has been a common conversation around our house lately and we're making goals to align ourselves more with a simple lifestyle.

One of my friends at church today mentioned this same talk and her efforts to simplify her life regarding TIME rather than THINGS. Her thought was that as women, we commit to lots and lots of things that aren't necessary. Her words have stuck with me all day-but I still haven't figured out what I can cut out of my life. I don't want to stop blogging because it's my journal and scrapbook for the kids. Don't want to cut out Etsy because it brings in extra income. I don't want to say no to service opportunities because that would be selfish. Don't want to cut out time with my family because isn't that the point of all of this? This question is a tough one for me. It is something that I will be thinking about this week.

Overall, I want to live with no regrets as to how I spent my time or money and be able to quote Thoreau when he was asked if he had made peace with God before he died. He answered “I was not aware we had ever quarreled.”

Read the whole talk here.

3 comments:

green girl said...

I was just reading this talk last night and really loved it. I totally love the idea of simplifying. Simplifying should be "simple", but in our society it is something you really have to think about and put effort into. Just my thoughts...

Adam and Melissa said...

This talk hit me too. I think my issue is always taking on too many task and that is what stresses me out. I need to simplify that part of my life and I am like you... what do I cut? I also loved Pres. Monson's talk on finding joy in the journey... very good and it felt as though I needed to hear that too. Well, when you figure out how to simplify...give a girl some tips!

Erin said...

so so so true...my Mom and I have talked about this same thing so many times lately. One thing I've noticed since moving to Montana is that people do a LOT less in the area of birthday parties here (as compared to Texas)...here, we went to a party where a boy got two toys, a spider man blanket and a new book for his seventh birthday and he was EXSTATIC...his friends just showed up to play and have cake, there weren't a million gifts and he was as happy as could be. I'm definitely going to adopt that line of thinking...I don't want my kids to grow up expecting tons and tons of gifts for every holiday. I don't know, I'm totally rambling...just thought I'd share :)

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