Voluntary simplicity is a means of taking control of your life. You can learn to reduce stress, eliminate debt, improve your health, fix the planet, and make life an ethical political statement.
Voluntary simplicity is all about awareness and choices. The first step toward living simply is an awareness of the need for change in the way you live. By stopping for a moment and looking honestly at the way you live and then, by making necessary changes, you can learn to live a happier and more meaningful life.
Through voluntary simplicity, you can find time for yourself and your family as well as time for recreation, reflection, and community. Simple living is at once a financial plan, a political act, environmental activism, and a way to find joy in everyday living. Simple living is as much a mindset and a learning process as it is an activity.
Among the warning signs that might prompt you to make a change in your old habits and motivate you toward voluntary simplicity are:
1. Personal mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual issues. Do you have problems with worry, anxiety, stress-related illness, or a sense of meaninglessness in your life?
2. Family problems can result from a lack of time, attention, and mindfulness. Do you devote enough time to your loved ones?
3. Financial problems and indebtedness created by pursuing the old American Dream. Do debt and expenses play a large role in your life?
4. Environmental damage is an increasing problem. Rampant consumerism is the primary cause, and simplification can be the primary solution. What changes would you make to help heal your planet?
By making some basic changes in your habits and your attitudes, you can improve the quality of your life and help heal the planet through practicing voluntary simplicity.
The Old American Dream, born in the optimism of post-WWII America, is a delusion of limitless growth and limitless consumption. The delusion of limitless living has given rise to a toxic cultural identity. Our sense of entitlement to perpetual growth is destroying our health, our families, our communities, and our planet. The factors involved in this self-destructive behavior include:
identification of “stuff” – a trophy house, status, a trophy spouse, and on and
on – with self-worth is a hole that can never be filled. It has replaced
spirituality as the core of our lives. As we search for meaning and purpose in
our lives through materialism, we are willing to sacrifice all we hold dear for
ego-gratification and status.
Consumerism – We are all consumers. Some of us are even responsible consumers. Until we are ALL responsible consumers, our lives and our planet are in real jeopardy. Becoming a responsible consumer demands a change in attitude and habit. It requires a new look at “want vs. need”. Learn more about becoming a responsible consumer…
Easy Credit – Immediate gratification through easy credit is a trap. The true cost of credit, as disclosed in tiny fonts in APR (average percentage rate) disclosures, is often written in language that only a lawyer can understand. The variety of ways in which credit can hurt us is astounding. Read more about the “true cost of credit” from the national to the personal level…
A New Purpose – If we choose to turn away from materialism as a way to find meaning in our lives, what do we do then? Share our steps to finding a more lasting and healthier purpose for living.… And they don’t involve a credit card.
Responsible Consumerism – We can’t escape our need to consume resources. Food, shelter, and clothing are just a few of those things that we need to live. But, by developing mindfulness, we can learn to become responsible consumers, a vital step toward improving our lives and saving our planet. Read more about becoming a responsible consumer…
True Cost of Credit – Going into debt is so easy; getting out can be hard. With awareness of some realities about credit and some realistic steps to getting out of debt, your financial house can be put in order. Read more about the realities of credit and some tips about getting out of debt…
In his book Happiness, Matthieu Ricard cites a study of people on their deathbeds. When asked to name their greatest regret, a strong majority shared a feeling of sadness that they had spent their lives living up to someone else’s expectations. Learning to find our own passions and follow them instead of following cultural, peer, or family expectations might well be one of the great discoveries in our lives.
The question is “Are you ready to be happy through voluntary simplicity?”
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