During these challenging economic times, there are opportunities. Now there are many more ways to appreciate what we have in life. There is something about being grateful for what we already have – quite a humbling sense – that actually fills us with peace. Losing jobs, income or savings impels us to take a closer look at our spending of money and time. We focus less on accumulation. We increase our gratitude for what we have, and we simplify. Clear, simple living also bring us peace and true contentedness. The result is often that we have less negative impact on our earth, and spend our time in more positive, enriching ways. Here are some ideas about how to live a more simpler, more appreciative life….It’s the Clothes, Kitchen and Car philosophy. Enjoy and increase the peace. 1. Clothes: A Close Collaboration This is a tough one, especially for the ladies. What if we walked into our closet and we only had our favorites? That you absolutely loved every piece. In the early 1990s, the average amount of ensembles women owned was 6. Six outfits! Here, we can pare down. If you wear something once per year, might it be better used by someone else who would wear it once per week? Be aggressive with yourself. If you do buy something, give away two pieces. When you are in store, really think about how much you love this new possibility. Because what the sales, marketing and stores don’t tell you is that these clothes can last a really long time! Some of my best pants and suits are from Banana Republic and I have had them 10 years. Buy classics. They stay in, and they can be mixed and matched with so much else. Which leads me to fashion. When you see a new trend, study it. Look at the models and how they wear it. Then enourage yourself to be creative. How could you recreate this from your warddrobe? Further, how can you push yourself to make up new ensembles with your existing wardrobe? Force your clothes to collaborate! I always thought about my brown boots being paired with two skirts I had. But then, I started wearing them with three different pants, cream, charcoal and brown. It made a fun difference and I felt I had a new pair of boots! 2. Kitchen: Don’t Kill Your Bags I haven’t bought Ziploc plastic bags in two years. Maybe three. Plastic bags can be washed out and used again and again. And again. They are so sturdy; it takes them months to rip. So reuse. Plastic bags also come to you in different forms. Think about the plastic bag your recent bread of loaf came in. Why can’t we use it to keep food fresh, or transport and apple in your purse? Reuse these bags from the food you’ve already purchased. The same goes for tinfoil. Wash it down with water and soap, fold it well, and it stays for months. If you are careful with it, it’s really hard to rip and will serve you again and again. And again. Not only are you saving the earth from having t reabsorb these items which are difficult to break down, but you are saving money and weighing yourself down less at the grocery store. So don’t kill your bags by throwing them away and building up more landfill. If you have to use them, keep them alive and reuse, reuse, reuse. 3. Car: Love Your Footprint More than Your Car Tread Love your footprint more than your car. Try not to drive. That’s what I try to do. Try not to use it. I think it’s been about a year since I drove in San Francisco. I try to walk everywhere. I don’t join a gym – and save money because I walk the hills of San Francisco to work; I walk and carry my groceries from the store. I don’t pay parking fees. I don’t get parking tickets. I pay very, very little for gas. I save the environment. And my favorite, I connect with and get to know the community by traveling in different ways and routes. Some of the routes I do stick with for awhile, connecting with and saying hello to people that I do see on a regular basis, such as hotel doormen. It’s a nice way to be a part of the community. So on cars… Try not to. If you can. The earth loves our foot print more than our car tread. What’s so wonderful about Clothes, Kitchen and a Car — is that it helps you and the community. It saves time (less time shopping for clothes and plastic bags/tinfoil, and more time being with people). It saves money (gym memberships, gas, parking fees). And it saves our environment. Less landfill, less recycling, less impact. All of which leads to a simpler life. We should be spending as much time as we can on what we love to do, and the people you love to be with, rather than accumulating more things. Or spending time accumulating more things. Increased clarity, peace and simplicity. Clothes, Kitchen and A Car allows us to focus more on what matters. Peace is at hand. Try it and let me know what you think, as well as your ideas. I look forward to hearing from you! Pamela
Stopped for a coke and as I leave a black man asks if I have any money, miss. And responding to his edged voice I say I will instead buy him food. And he would like a strawberry shake. I’ll get you something else too.
I probably spent about 40 minutes at this Burger King. Blacks and Hispanics work together and are cheerful. This is where everyman lives. I cannot escape going down here for this is where my heart enables my life to feel. One skinny young man putting the food together in a bag has uniformed pants hanging precariously on nothing; a young Hispanic girl putting the hamburgers together in the back smiles brilliantly, glowingly; I practice my horrible Spanish with the cute swarms of Hispanic children by my feet, and smile at their mother. How amazing these people are, first of all because they are bilingual, but mostly because they truly live a life of challenges but they live for family and with unpretention.
So outside I give the food to this black man. And he says thank you miss and I shrug it off because accolade is out of place. I drive off and honk and his long strong arm rises with a firm wave and the most beautifully freeing smile. I wish I knew his name.
I am the winner. I win, and I have not seen or given enough. I filled a human need of hunger and how innately simple that is, to feed another individual. It is not a responsibility it is below it. It should be necessary taking care that is inseparable from self. But it is not. We do separate. We know the givens and the given-not. And we are afraid of demands and want to give on our own time, when we want. It is then not a beautiful act.
So he gave more. Of himself he expressed first a sense of boldness, then trust, then friendliness. He gave me a connection to everyman; I filled a fleeting human need. He enlivened soul, dispelled the disparity for my dime. I became nourished everyman, he took away my misunderstanding hunger. Let me be everyman. Let me know alike.
“Greatness consists in doing great deeds with little means in the accomplishment of vast purposes.
It consists in the private ranks of life, in helping one’s fellows, in benefiting one’s neighborhood, in blessing one’s own city and state.”
- Russell Conwell
It’s that simple.
Give something today,
Russell Conwell (February 15, 1843 – December 6, 1925) was an American Baptist minister, orator, philanthropist, lawyer, and writer. He is best remembered as the founder and first president of Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and for his inspirational lecture Acres of Diamonds. The son of Massachusetts farmers, Conwell attended Yale University and after graduating enlisted in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He was ordained as a Baptist minister in 1880, and delivered his famous speech “Acres of Diamonds” over 6,000 times around the world. The central idea of the work is that one need not look elsewhere for opportunity, achievement, or fortune – the resources to achieve all good things are present in one’s own community. Conwell’s capacity to establish Temple University and his other civic projects largely derived from the income that he earned from the speech. The published version has been regarded as a classic of New Thought literature since the 1870s.
The days of “linear giving” are over — what I mean is, it’s not “I give you this, you give me that.” That’s Linear Giving and it doesn’t always happen.
First, you can’t truly give with the expectation that you are going to get something in return. It’s just not the right motivation. And it will upset the balance of giving, turning it into something it’s not…
We need to give because we sincerely want to. Because it’s the right thing to do. It’s helpful, kind, nourishing to the world. And ultimately it does help ourselves… we feel nourished and uplifted by the mere act of being generous.
And it won’t stop there. More good will continue to come to you, in ways you never expected. From different places, different sources, and in unique ways! It’s truly quite exciting…to see good unfold, when we let it go.
So let’s not give and expect back. It’s not A gives to B, and B to gives to A.
It’s A gives to B. And then A gives to C and D. Then X, M, Q and V give back to A at different times and ways in the future.
It’s circular, spherical, timeless, unbound, everconnected giving… which is taking place, and always has been.