Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Week of Voluntary Simplicity - isn't it over yet? Part D

A fragment of the Natchez Trace Trail, a wagon road for settlers into the interior of the US.
Is this killing you? If you are still reading this week, then maybe you are secretly trying to figure out for yourself how to go about living a life with some changes. You don't have to find God to make it work, or twist yourself into a pretzel yoga pose to find it either. Here are my suggestions.
The Ryman Auditorium, the home of the Grand Ole Oprey until the '70s
Lie there in bed one morning, before you get up to hit the bathroom and ask yourself, what is the first thing I do in the morning? Is it pee? Is it brush my teeth? Can I do anything different in those first few activities?

Let's pretend that you live in an apartment and there isn't a choice about what sort of toilet you  have, so buying a dual flush one won't happen. You have sensitive teeth or dentures. Changing toothpaste isn't really an option especially since all other options are just as non-green or too expensive or taste like hell.

Get up anyway, don't let a lack of ideas hold you back. Get breakfast. Look at what is on the table in front of you. Is there a single food option that you could alter? Can anything on that table be bought locally or through a CSA box or in a fair trade exchange? No? Well, don't worry, move on.

Ask the same questions as you put on your clean underpants, jeans and shoes. Get your coat on and hop onto your form of transportation. Any changes showing up as possible yet? No. Don't worry, keep going.

You're at work, or visiting or volunteering. Do you see anything that can be recycled, could you turn lights off, could newspapers be shared, did you notice anyone you could offer a ride to? I bet you're getting kind of pooped by now. It's almost over.

Lunch - look at it the same way as breakfast.

Your afternoon activities - you get the picture.

You are back at home and all this questioning has given you a headache. Get that glass of wine or beer, you deserve it. You have just accomplished the first major step in Voluntary Simplicity. You have examined your actions towards a deeper understanding of your patterns, your preferences, your community, and also, your tolerance for the whole project.

 I suspect that along the day, several glimmers of ideas came your way and they will pop back up. You don't need to chase them down. They will show up again
Bridge on the Natchez Trace Parkway, Nashville.
If you ask yourself these questions several times over a week. Start with something simple and direct. How about toilet paper? Can you buy toilet paper that uses recycled paper or is local or is unscented? Or maybe it isn't a substantially 'greener' choice, but it's cheaper. You just lived below your means for one purchase, saved.... let's pretend 0.15 cents and you can use it towards buying a food gift card for someone who is short of money.

Congratulations, you have made a change and I bet you feel positive about it. Do it again. Keep going but stop before you feel exhausted. Pretty good is good enough for now.
I ran out of poetic metaphors and images. See what you can make of this.
p.s. I'm off to meet with my stitching group tomorrow. The End of Looking at Voluntary Simplicity for now.

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