on simplicity

Finding simplicity in our lives is quite a challenge in this era of electric tea makers and televisions that can send emails. I think the surfeit of artificial stimulants we’re surrounded by tears us ever so further away from our core and leaves us feeling puzzled, agitated and empty. Do you agree? Finding simplicity is going to be a major mission of mine this year. It’s my manifesto. I’ve come to a stage in life where all I want to do is peel back the grubby cluttered layers, right back until I can see myself again.

Interestingly, Green Lifestyle mag interviewed me and a few other bloggers a while back for a feature they were doing on how to live a good life (in the current issue – Feb/Mar). All five of us highlighted simplicity as the key. There’s no way ‘round it. A simple life - free from too much clutter, too many electronic gadgets, too much work, too many toxins and other such crud – is better for our health, better for the planet and better for our future. More and more folk are realising this.

In case you can’t get your hands on the current issue, here’s the gist of my musings on how I make life better:

  1. I aim for a simple life with big meaning. That is, I don’t chase happiness and fulfilment from material goods (I used to). Instead, I find things to do, with my hands or my mind, which mean something to me. I grow my own food, I inquire, I write, I meditate, I spend more time with family and friends.
  2. I regularly audit my home and life. How many gadgets do I own? What’s in the food I'm eating? I find the simpler the gadget, the food etc, the better it is for my body, my mind and the environment.
  3. I buy less stuff. I simply buy less stuff. I don’t buy things until I really need them. When something is irreparably broken, I try to make do without it, or I make a replacement or source it second hand. It’s the whole Reduce Reuse Recycle thing. Reduce is up there on top, above all else.
  4. I spend time outdoors. I walk down to the beach and stretch and meditate four mornings a week. Every day I spend a little time in the veggie patch, or just sit on the grass under the big coastal banksia in my back yard. Research shows spending time outdoors improves our mood, mental health and physical health. It also heightens our appreciation for the natural environment, which means we become more mindful of our impact on it.
  5. I practise being grateful. This simple 5-minute daily gratitude exercise I blogged about here has made a huge improvement to my life. I still practice this every morning, before getting out of bed. The more we exercise that muscle, the stronger it gets. 
And would you believe that a bunch of good simplicity-craving folk started an Institute? The Simplicity Institute! I particularly love their off-shoot how-to site The Simpler Way, and this wise quote:

"There is no wealth but life"

Over the year, as I attempt to simplify, I'll be sharing my trials and triumphs and tips and tricks here on this blog. I’m really interested to know if anyone else is at that stage of just wanting to peel back and simplify. If that’s you, care to share?


  1. I have been simplifying for years, including my social life, the number of movies I watch, parties I attend & the number of blogs I read. They all take time and often, life energy. The effect on life energy is my litmus test for whether I do something now: Will it drain energy, or replenish it? Lest it should sound like a spartan vigil, I need to say that it has happened organically out of all the desires that you have spoken of (to live a beautiful, slow life, rather than just accumulate), and I have felt no lack, only the restoration of ease, flow and joy to living. I haven't imposed any rules, & if I want to buy something I will, it's just that I rarely actually do want to.



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