Whispers of Simplicity
The conversation is changing. Shifting. Whispers. Murmurs. Quiet admissions among friends.
Simplicity. We are craving it. And many of us don't even know why.
But I think I do. Sort of. I have a theory-- that's not truly my own, but built upon the wisdom and philosophies of others-- old and new.
We've allowed ourselves to become slaves to the narrative of the American Dream-- and we've discovered that it's actually a prison sentence, not a fairy-tale existence with rainbows and unicorns.
We willingly allowed ourselves to become slaves. And I'm no different. There are many aspects of the American narrative that I find both enduring and something to emulate. Until I find myself spending every waking moment (and a few sleeping ones as well) fueling the economic engine with my time, wisdom, sweat and love.
And I'm sorry, but there are better ways to spend my time. We all have better ways to spend our time than tossing coals on the flames of the consumption society we are willing slaves to.
Let's be clear, I'm not advocating a society where no one works. Quiet the opposite-- I'm asking us to evaluate the work we're doing and ask ourselves if it's putting good into the world or sucking the life out of us (and the world).
I'm asking us to take a long hard look at the reasons why we work and the impacts of that work on our lives, our relationships and our well being.
Are we maintaining jobs we loathe, or that add very little to our daily existence, in order to pay our bills and fund the shopping habits we engage in to tell ourselves that the work has a purpose?
Are we climbing cliched corporate ladders in order to live a life that someone else laid down for us? Is the narratives we're visualizing and sacrificing our waking moments for really ours?
If the answer is no-- do we have the strength to write a new story?
Do we long for a simpler time when our motivations weren't dictated to us by economic engines that need constant time and attention? Do we dream of dropping our computers and our dry-clean only silk blouses and picking up some overalls and a paint brush, a shovel or a hammer. I know I do.
We're living through a fascinating time. We're in an era where almost anything we desire can be delivered on demand-- and we're pissed when we have to wait.
We're attached to devices that dictate our lives-- driven by algorithms that spoon feed us what a handful of billionaires in silicon valley think we want to gorge ourselves on. We're in an age where information is abundant and almost everyone on this planet has the means to rise above their current situation and step into a dream.
My question for us in the developed world is-- what is your dream? And whose narrative is it really?
What do you long for? What would your day look like if bills and consumption weren't the driving factor behind your actions?
Would you build? Would you create? Would you give? Would you be of service? What would you do if you stepped out of the consumption circus and into your life?
I'm asking--- what would you do?
Now, what will it take to step into that new narrative? How can you begin to make a tiny sliver of that story a reality?
I'm not asking that you chuck everything, risk your family's safety and well-being for a pipe-dream or just fall off the grid. I'm asking you to take one tiny sliver of that new narrative and make it a reality.
Lose part of your debt.
Downsize your belongings.
Give more of your free time-- or make more free time to be of service.
Skip that trip to the mall and go to the park instead.
Call up a friend for coffee instead of a shopping spree.
Reconsider that dream-home with enough square footage to house a baseball team and embrace the home you already live in.
Or champion a movement towards simplicity. Plenty of movements are happening throughout the western world that are pushing people towards something more authentic and simple. Find one that resonates and become a part of it.
Take action towards a new narrative. And keep going.
The deeper you travel down the rabbit hole, the more your life will shift. You may wake up one day with the actual manifestation of that beautiful, authentic narrative and you won't have to travel through your day wishing you were someone else.
Take that one step. Today.