Simplicity Principles

My earliest memories of a simple life exist with the Amish. I grew up on a dirt road in lower Michigan with three Amish families living within a ½ mile of me as well as having the entire community within a 5-mile radius.

The closest Amish neighbors frequented our house, usually to use the telephone, but sometimes to ask for rides to somewhere further than they wanted to take their horse and buggy. The Amish made their own clothes, grew and raised most of their own food, and attended church in one another’s houses. They read books and played games for fun, and they worked hard and kept clean houses and spectacularly neat gardens. Their lives were simple.

I never really viewed my own life growing up as being complicated, though looking back I now see the clear signs of growing complication that eventually created problems for me later in life. When I was 18 and someone very close to me went through a painful simplifying of her life, I began to realize that busyness and complication seem to happen by default. Simplicity, on the other hand, must be deliberate; otherwise, it won’t happen. In other words, we must intentionally Pursue Simplicity.

Our lives are constantly searching for homeostasis, both within and without. Homeostasis is defined as…

“the tendency of a system… to maintain internal stability.”

In psychology, homeostasis refers to…

“a state of psychological equilibrium obtained when tension or drive has been reduced or eliminated.”

My personal experience as well as observation of others has shown me that our minds and bodies will constantly fight for this state of balance, and if we wish for it to happen on our own terms, we must be an intentional member of that fight. Otherwise, painful choices and an out-of-control life will one day either force us into this state of balance, or being unbalanced will be the source of our demise.

In my life’s struggle for balance, several principles of simplicity have emerged that provide a roadmap for maintaining balance as well as for teaching others the value of and abilities needed in creating and maintaining balance in life. Those principles are detailed in the following posts:

DISCUSSION: What are some examples of simplicity that you have witnessed in the lives of others?

6 thoughts on “Simplicity Principles

  1. The Amish always fascinated me in a way. I remember working at a hotel and we had a bunch of Amish pass by. I guess they were some variant of Amish that used cars. They came up to me and asked me a question as if they had a bet riding on my answer. They asked me which way west was. I looked at the rising sun, pointed in the other direction, and they all laughed hardily. I've always wondered what was so funny.

    I've never really thought of homeostasis as it relates to simplicity, but that makes sense. Looking forward to this series! :)

    • The people you met at that hotel were probably Mennonite, which are close to Amish but not quite as conservative and are technically not Amish. Both were a part of my childhood but the Amish definitely more so.

  2. I must admit I don't live a simple life. At least it doesn't feel simple. Yet, when I look at those around me, and see that my focus is God, family and friends, suddenly I feel very simple. I don't go out partying, I'm committed to my husband, and I am a stay at home mom. Hard days at times, but a simple life.

    • Simple does not mean easy, that's for sure. Sometimes, perspective helps us see the simplicity that was there all along. Sometimes, that sense of life not feeling simple is an indication that we need to make adjustments. Maybe not though. Just some extra thoughts.

  3. Pingback: Simplicity Principles, Part 2 of 5 – Relatively Simple | Struggle to Victory

  4. Pingback: How to… Live an 80/20 Life, Part 1 | Struggle to Victory

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