One of Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s many lessons in her book Gift from the Sea is the value of simplicity. She describes a channeled whelk shell as simple, bare and beautiful and wishes for an equally simple life. Yet she recognizes that being a wife and mother of five doesn’t allow her to carry a simple shell like a hermit crab.
Spending time at her beach house does let Anne practice for a few weeks the simplification of life. Her first insight comes with regard to clothes. She notes that, “one does not need a closet-full, only a small suite-case full.”
Having moved everything from our entire house into storage for two months I can definitely relate to this! We are living out of suite-cases this summer while visiting family before moving into our new home. And we are perfectly happy without all of our stuff (although I will admit to panicking when they lost our luggage for a day). There are some things I wouldn’t want to part with permanently, like family pictures and the furniture we will need to live comfortably in our new home, but we really don’t need the rest!
Like Anne, I love the idea of a simplified life, but also realize it is an unrealistic goal at this point in my life. I can’t just blow off the orthodontist appointments, trips to the grocery store, after-school activities, laundry, meal preparations, or bills.
But I can try my best to minimize the amount of things we have. I used our move as an excuse to get rid of as much unnecessary stuff as possible. What a fantastic feeling! I’ve blogged before about getting rid of clutter, and I think it is one of the best ways for me to create more simplicity in my life. Material possessions don’t increase our happiness, they just separate us from the peace found in simplicity, making it harder to “remain whole in the midst of the distractions of life.”
What about you? I’m not suggesting we try to be like Dave Bruno and live with 100 things or less, but I bet we could all find ways to increase our happiness by living more simply.