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 house. 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. In this journey, I have discovered that simplicity is relative, it is intertwined with personal joy, and it is constantly under attack. In addition, I’ve realized that simplicity does have its drawbacks, and these drawbacks can be the biggest deterrent for pursuing a simple life.
DISCUSSION: What are some examples of simplicity that you have witnessed in the lives of others?
Note: This is the first post in a 5-part series focusing on the Simplicity Principles necessary to Pursue Simplicity in life. Each part in this series along with additional resources will be available in Simplify, located in the Victory! section of Struggle to Victory.