what is a simple life?

Our morning walk

Our morning walk

A simple life is a completely subjective concept. For some people it means having free ranging children and chickens, producing all of your own food, and going off-grid with water and power, or being somewhere along that path. For others, it means reading or sitting peacefully for a small part of each day. Or it could mean finding peace within yourself by just ‘being’ more, and doing less. Every person interested in a simpler life, has their own unique interpretation of what that actually means.

For me, simplicity means being as well as I can be. It’s a reciprocal arrangement. I live simply to stay happy and healthy, and I’m happier and healthier because I choose to live simply. Pretty much everything I do, has become a part of my life with wellness either directly or indirectly in mind.

A small window into my simple life, is not me saying that my life is great, and yours is crap. It’s me saying that my life before slowing down wasn’t working very well. Only certain aspects of my needs were being met. I was always very fit, but not always really well, and not always doing all of the things which ultimately I’ve discovered make me feel more me.

When I wake early to meditate, it’s a conscious decision I’ve made to be a calmer person. To step away from a life where stress and raised cortisol affected every part of me. Meditating every day has been the best decision of my slow living life. I’m not simply hoping for peace in my day, although sometimes it does just happen by chance…I’m doing something which literally calms my nervous system, and sets me up, generally, for a peaceful start to the day. My morning mantra for the entire family is ‘Start each day, in a happy way’. Hollie Hobbie. A corny flashback to my seventies childhood.

When I’m writing, I’m happy. I am expressing myself creatively in a way which has satisfied me deeply since I was a kid. I love words. I love playing with them to create meaning and truth. Writing is such a powerful art, and for me it feels as though I’m touching on my ultimate purpose every time I put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard. My Mum was the first to instill the thought that I should become a writer, and it has been dancing around in my head ever since. It’s a very happy place for me.

When I crochet a tiny granny square of a greater rug, there is joy not only in the making, but also in the visual art of the project, and in the connection to my creative past. To my mother who taught me, and to all of the women who preserve the gentle arts as a part of their daily existence and tradition.

The same joy drives me in food production. There is happiness and health at the bottom of every jar of sauerkraut. I love picking cabbages, and feeling that connection with the earth (especially when I have to hunt through the layers of leaves for slugs and snails!). The whole process allows me to become entwined in the mystical elements of fermentation. There’s an enormous sense of accomplishment which comes from producing complex food. A cupboard full of ferments, learning to make sourdough bread, waiting for a batch of Kombucha to finish brewing. It’s not necessarily easier or a more efficient way to live, not at all, but it brings such positive energy into my life. It’s useful, and I have the knowledge that my food is living, simple and as unprocessed as it can be.

When I grow my own food, I know exactly where it has come from. I’ve had the chest swelling pleasure of watching it grow, and the enjoyment of seeing it become part of a meal. I love to pick and collect vegetables and herbs to make juice. It’s deeply satisfying, and it feels very right to me.

These are some of the elements which make up my simple life. It’s nothing dramatic, it’s just me being, and enjoying the very basics of life. It’s not about money, or having or doing. It’s about peace and happiness and wellness. I enjoy every small part of the life I’ve created, rather than feeling stressed or overwhelmed by a life that’s just whizzing by.

That’s what a simple life means to me.

Shared with Essentially Jess for IBOT.

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14 thoughts on “what is a simple life?

  1. That all sounds like a good direction to move in. Whilst I’m definitely not at the same point as you, small steps in that direction definitely keep me feeling grateful.

  2. I love the idea of a slow living lifestyle. I need to adopt some of your habits because I COULD be slowing down but I’m not. (Well I am, but not in a good way….)

    • It’s interesting isn’t it? I think slowing down is either quite innate, or it’s something you have to actually put a lot of effort into doing. Now I’m well on the path, it’s feeling more innate, but it’s still easy to get distracted!

  3. I probably need to slow down…and I definitely need to step away from screens… but I also like to do everything and know what’s going on all over the country, so it’s a bit of an internal battle for me…

  4. Glad you have your simple sorted. I think it is collection of small things that calm you and allow you to create, rather than an accumulation of things that stress you and that must be done. Right now I have a mix of things – working towards a simpler version of that balance.

  5. A really beautiful post Michelle. I am aspiring to your way of living I am currently doing a 4 week meditation course and loving it and trying to get my granny squares on. You are right though a simple life is different for everyone. Its wanting less and loving more

    • I am growing a lot of things which have seeded themselves at the moment, like rocket and parsley, and my kale seems to naturally regenerate. I’m also regrowing cabbages from the stalks of cut-off ones. Quite nice to feel productive and thrifty. I am going to learn more about seed saving soon too.

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